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Cyber Security in Africa

As reported in this Newsletter, SA’s Cybercrimes Act has started to be implemented. SAPS has been put in charge of drafting the regulations which will fully implement the law. EFSA remains concerned that certain elements if strictly applied could damage business. An example is the rules on the collection of evidence: the law implies that any business which is a victim of cybercrime will need to provide evidence to SAPS. That evidence in a PC could then be stored away until a court case is brought. In other words, an SME might have to hand over its only PC to SAPS for an indeterminable time. The drafting of the regulations, therefore, becomes vital, to ensure that victims of cybercrimes are not prevented from continuing their business after reporting a crime.

Readers may have seen a recent report by Surfshark on SA’s cybercrime record. Surfshark paints an optimistic picture, pointing out that far fewer South Africans fall victim to cybercrime than the British or Americans. The report looks at the top 10 attacked countries around the world and how these fared in the 2nd year of COVID. SA does well against the rapid increase in cybercrimes experienced in some of the other 10 most attacked countries. That is good news. The sad news is that SA remains in the top 10 countries worldwide for cybercrime.

Elsewhere, African countries are increasingly cooperating to prevent cybercrime. Recently, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Mozambique have called on the Cyber Security Authority for collaboration and support for the development of cybersecurity in their countries. They made the appeals during meetings by national officials of the cybersecurity institutions on the side-lines of the Africa Union’s debate on cyber security.

This also reflects the steady increase in internet connectivity around the continent. Recently the government of Ghana unveiled plans to ensure that 3.5 million Ghanaians will be connected by the end of 2023, while in Egypt, the body which measures internet access has reported that internet access increased by 68% in 2022 over the previous year during the period of Ramadan. In Namibia, a recent conference heard that 86% of the population was now covered by broadband and the government aims to provide a broadband speed of at least 2Mbps to 95% of the population by 2024. Meanwhile, in SA, the publication reports that although ICASA has provided more capacity for internet providers, it is not expected that the cost of data will fall. Given that SA has by far the most expensive data of the top 10 economies in Africa, this news is a blow to the digital economy in that country.

If you want to hear more about telecoms in Africa, there will be an event in Cape Town Connected Africa on 26 July More details are here:


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