Cybersecurity in Africa: what place in the world arena and what strategic challenges for African companies? This is the theme of the second edition of the program ” CFC Talks that Casablanca Finance City posted online on Tuesday, March 29.
As a reminder, the CFC Talks, launched in 2021, aim to provide an African perspective and feedback from the field to local and international investors who wish to expand their activities on the continent.
At the opening of this edition, Mr. Saïd Ibrahimi, Managing Director of Casablanca Finance City, emphasized the changes brought about by digitalization, “ a real growth accelerator which nevertheless constitutes a risk factor because of cyberattacks, the cost of which for Africa is estimated at 4 billion dollars by Interpol in 2021. He also recalled that “ Africa, like the rest of the world, must arm itself and prepare to face the challenges of cybersecurity “by recalling that” the CFC community has a hard core of companies specializing in cyber in Morocco and on the continent “.
This talk show, hosted by Manal Bernoussi, Strategy, Partnerships & Communication Director of Casablanca Finance City, saw the participation of many members and partners of the CFC community who took part in the reflection. Mr. Imade Elbaraka, Managing Partner of cyber activity in France and French-speaking Africa at Deloitte, confirmed the high cost of cyberattacks and the benefits that many institutions could derive from tackling more cybersecurity issues. Studies conducted by Deloitte reveal that 49% of global organizations and only 12% of African companies discuss cybersecurity in board meetings.
A multifaceted and cross-border threat
In the first panel focused on feedback from the African continent, Mr. Ali El Azzouzi, CEO & Founder of Dataprotect, draws attention to the fact that cybercriminal activities do not require any advanced knowledge of ICT. He confirms the continent’s vulnerability to cybercrime, stresses that cybersecurity is a matter of good governance and deplores the lack of cooperation between African countries while the phenomenon is cross-border.
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Mr. Yaya Touré, Director of Information Systems at Banque Atlantique, a subsidiary of the BCP Group, noted that cybercriminals now tend to attack customers who benefit from digital services, privileged targets in due to the lack of digital culture.
Faced with the proliferation of risks in a context of lack of qualified human resources, training talent is a priority for UM6P. According to Mr. Hassan Baloui, COO and Director of Cybersecurity Development of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, this institution is aware of the need to adapt training to the needs of industrial partners, the needs of the Moroccan economy in particular and the African economy in general. Aware of the “brain drain” that affects all of Africa, he recalled the need to retain this youth, given that the formation of human capital takes longer than investments in infrastructure.
It is undeniable that human resources are the sinews of war when we know that criminals reinvent their operating methods and adapt very easily.
Sharing his experience, Mr. Yann Bonnet, Deputy Managing Director of Campus Cyber in France, an initiative recently launched by President Emmanuel Macron, gave as an example the case of Campus Cyber France, an ecosystem made up of 1,600 companies gathered in a common physical space. and working for the development of talents and innovation. More generally, the purpose is to develop collective intelligence to better face the threat.
Develop continental and international cooperation
In the second panel devoted to possible responses and perspectives in terms of cybersecurity, Ms. Salima Amira, General Manager of Microsoft Morocco, returned to the increased risks caused by working online in the context of the health crisis. And to specify that the coupling of home and professional networks has increased the access points of cybercriminals.
Concern shared by Mr. Yassir Kazar, CEO & Co-Founder of Yogosha, whose company has developed a means of securing through ethical “hacking”. The CEO & Co-Founder of Yogosha essentially underlines the need to invest in security because certain regulations may seek to establish the responsibility of the company in the event of an attack.
Hence the strong need for support highlighted by Mr. Emmanuel Cheriet, Maghreb and West Africa Director of Orange Cyberdefense, because cybersecurity is a complex field and the threats are multifaceted.
It emerges from these exchanges that Africa is not spared by cybercrime, but that it is still poorly prepared to deal with it. Insufficient investment as digitalization spreads, lack of skilled human capital and weak continental cooperation are the main causes. This results in the obligation to free up more financial resources for the security, training and retention of talent.
This requires precisely the construction of ecosystems of various actors involving all public and private stakeholders to bring out talents in cybersecurity. Ecosystems such as those created by CFC and UM6P and other similar initiatives will undoubtedly constitute favorable soil for the development of this sector.