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MPs urged to legislate on cyber crimes

Members of the Committee on Trade in a meeting. (PML Daily Photo)

MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA– Africa must develop a comprehensive approach to protect its businesses and personal data in light of increasing cybercrimes worldwide.

In a joint workshop between NEPAD and Pan African Parliament committees on the African Union Commission Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection, legislators were urged to interest their nation states to develop an enabling environment to facilitate electronic commerce and transactions and enact cyber security and personal data protection laws.

“According to a worldwide study, cybercrime costs almost $500 billion with hundreds of millions of cyber-attacks taking place in Africa every year,” said Abdou Rahman Mboob, NEPAD’s ICT expert adding that “banks and institutions have been targeted by hackers with increasing frequency.”

Abdou Rahman was making a joint presentation to the PAP Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration, and the Committee on Transport on Wednesday, 8 August 2018 in Midrand, South Africa.

The expert cited the Africa cyber security report of 2017 whose findings indicated that more than 90 percent of African businesses were operating below the cyber security poverty line, the point below which a business cannot effectively protect itself. He elaborated that cybercrime takes the form of fake news, ransomware, insider threat, cyber pyramids, mobile money and internet related crimes, cyber bullying among others.

He said that it was in this regard that the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (AUCC/Malabo Convention) was adopted at the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government meeting on 27 June 2014.

The convention, which is touted as a positive step for the continent in standardizing the approach to regulation of electronic transactions, personal data protection and cyber security is yet to meet the 15 ratifications required for its entry into force. With signatories from Benin, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome and Principe, and Zambia; there have been only two ratifications from Senegal and Mauritania

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