Africa is a rapidly changing digital market. A digital revolution is underway there. The continent is innovating and the use of new technologies is very widespread. The negative side of these advances, remarkable moreover, lies in the development of cybercrime, the spread of which is very rapid on the African continent as elsewhere. Still imperfectly understood, this represents a major challenge for African countries. This constitutes a risk but also an opportunity in terms of innovation.
While relatively few actions have yet been taken to effectively combat cybercrime and cyber-terrorism in Africa, some first steps have been taken to raise the level of computer security.
This is particularly the case in some countries which have adapted their legislative framework to better combat cybercrime, a phenomenon which is growing in magnitude from year to year. Senegal and Ivory Coast, for example, already have their own national version of the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to further protect personal data.
In addition, para-state structures, like the “Club of Information Systems Directors”, made up of government officials, private sector leaders, academics, etc., meet regularly to help. the referenced countries in their digital transition. This think tank contributes to the fight against cybersecurity by implementing more responsive and relevant solutions. In doing so, they focus on turning the continent’s young talents into IT security soldiers rather than future hackers!
A booming market … but full of challenges
Despite real needs, few companies have so far entered the cybersecurity market in French-speaking Africa. However, whether it is States, administrations, companies, large and medium-sized, or even individuals, all are exposed to cybercrime. Websites must be developed with maximum security requirements, training in this area must be reinforced, audits must be encouraged. Africa, like other continents, must prepare for what is one of the greatest risks of the 21st century.
It is true, however, that Africa, a very fragmented continent, is a difficult market to penetrate. Each country, each sub-region has its specific issues that must be understood, even if there are constants across the continent. Provided they can be removed, these obstacles represent so many opportunities. Do not hesitate either to know how to “play collectively”, for example by joining the French-speaking African coalition of the “Club des DSI”. In the long term, it is also essential to develop a close relationship to penetrate this fertile but still nascent market. This requires a local establishment which requires significant investments and a team that is both competent and reliable.
In just a few years, Africa, especially in its French-speaking part, has realized the need to fight cyber security. For her, it is also an opportunity to innovate as she was able to do in mobile telephony, digital money transfer, etc. To accelerate and make this process even more effective, it must rely on the most relevant know-how, wherever it comes from, while seeking to appropriate it so that it can one day surpass it. A number of companies, particularly French ones, are ready to help. There is urgency because the threat is indeed present.