The AU's cybercrime response: A positive start, but substantial challenges ahead

The AU recently adopted the Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, but African states have a long way to go to fight cybercrime.

African governments, the private sector and individuals increasingly rely on the Internet to conduct sensitive transactions and store important data. Most African states are lagging behind in strengthening cybersecurity and fighting cybercrime; cybercriminals have recognised this vulnerability and are targeting the continent.

After a lengthy process, the African Union (AU) recently responded to the surge in cybercrime by adopting the Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection. Stakeholders have raised several concerns about the convention, including that it is too broad in scope.

African states should focus on the convention’s cybersecurity and cybercrime provisions first, as it is unrealistic to expect states to implement the entire convention in a timely manner.

Additionally, African states must embrace capacity-building efforts and join international cybercrime agreements that reach beyond the African continent. These steps will have the most immediate effect in curbing the growth of cybercrime in Africa and worldwide.

About the author

Eric Tamarkin is an independent researcher. He previously served as a Senior Counsel to the United States Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he specialised in cybersecurity policy.

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