Stakeholders set cybersecurity agenda for Africa amidst digital transformation

Stakeholders in cybersecurity have gathered once more to deliberate on pathways to ensure the security of the cyberspace in Africa, amidst the digital transformation that has led to the integration of digital technology into all areas of business, fundamentally changing how businesses operate and deliver value to customers.
Organized by Comercio Limited, a leading Nigerian information technology solution provider, the International Cyber Security and Cloud Conference(ICSCC) is an annual event that brings together, participants from various sectors including Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance, PFAs etc.), Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, Public Sector, Logistics, Manufacturing, Consulting, Maritime, Aviation, Hospitals, Construction & Property, FMCG, Agro, Education, Media, and ICT, to set an agenda for improving cybersecurity in Africa.
Tagged, ‘Protecting Digital Africa,” the second edition of the event (ICSCC 2020), held virtually on November 24, 2020, featured an array of stakeholders, including experts, business leaders, and government representatives, who discussed old and emerging challenges to security and privacy in the cyberspace, and deliberated on pragmatic solutions to meet these challenges. They also addressed how Africa can secure her growing digital economy, bolster her cybersecurity posture and address the skill gap challenge.
Speakers at the event include the Executive Vice Chairman/ CEO, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, represented by Engr Haru Alhassan, Chair, Senate Committee on ICT & Cybercrimes, Senator Yakubu Oseni; Director General/ CEO, National Information, Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kachifu Inuwa;
President, African Union Cybersecurity Expert Group, Abdul Hakeem-Ajijola; Co-Founder/ COO, Digital Encode, Dr Peter Obadare; and Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government on Innovation & Technology.
Others include the Country Chief Information Security Officer, Standard Chartered Bank, Olawunmi Babalola; Founder/CTO, eFortresses CloudeAssurance & Founder, HISPI, Taiye Lambo; MD/ CEO Xpress Payment Solutions, Dr Markie Idowu; Managing Director, Afenoids; and Head IS & BC, RAKEZ, UAE, Rotimi Akinyele.
The event was compered by Willam Uzomba, a Media Consultant for The NetNG. In her welcome address, chief host and CEO of Comercio ltd, Aderonke Adeyegbe, challenged Africa to take advantage of the ongoing digital transformation to maximize opportunities for its growing population while canvassing for a uniform information security framework to tackle cyber threats.
“The pace of digitalization has quickened, and it has ignited innovation and boosted the growth of the digital economy. The fast spread of information and communication tech around the world has led to the development of new, innovative products and services that have changed the way we do business,” Adeyegbe said, stressing that it can no longer be business as usual.
She further stated that digital technologies offer huge prospects of disrupting the trajectory of our continent by unlocking new pathways for rapid socio-economic growth, create opportunities and bridge the gap between rich and poor. In five keynote speeches and four panels, the conference speakers analysed the current situation of cybersecurity in Africa and recommended strategies to evolve a more secure and efficient cyberspace that fast tracks the continent’s development.
The conference analysed global trends during the COVID-19 pandemic and the period before it, noting the lessons from the pandemic and the opportunities it has brought. It also stressed the need to build and maintain information systems security strategies while canvassing for the development of cyberspace security as an opportunity to create
jobs in Africa. Furthermore, the imperative of building an inclusive cybersecurity ecosystem in Africa was emphasized while the various types of protective strategies to guard against cyber threats in organisations were highlighted. Conference speakers also highlighted some regulatory principles for consumer protection in a digital Africa, including
redress and dispute solution mechanisms, fraud prevention, data protection and privacy, information disclosure and transparency, protection of financial assets, and effective competition.
Lastly, the process of tracking, identifying, and laying blame on the perpetrator of a cyberattack or other hacking exploit was analysed while strategies to help employers find, assess, and retain qualified cybersecurity talent were also recommended.
Participants commended the high quality of discourse at the conference, and the diversity and expertise of the speakers, who have done justice to the theme of the conference. With the success of the second edition, the International Cyber Security and Cloud Conference is emerging as a vital platform for developing a holistic cybersecurity framework for Africa.
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