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Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has called on African governments to ensure the safety and security of the continent’s cyberspace through actionable policies, strategies and initiatives that support and drive cybersecurity.

According to Uwa Suleiman (Mrs)
Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,
23rd March 2022, said, Professor Pantami made the call today, 23rd March 2022 while delivering the opening address at the Global Africa Forum of the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), holding at the World Trade Centre Dubai. In his detailed presentation, the Minister who quoted copiously from his book; Cybersecurity Initiatives For Securing A Country, emphasised the need for a deliberate and inclusive plan centred around developing a National Digital Economy Policy to serve as the overarching policy for issues relating to cybersecurity, conducting a baseline study to identify the main cyber threats and the key elements of the cybersecurity ecosystem and developing a National cybersecurity policy or law. He also talked about enhancing and protecting critical ICT national infrastructure, capacity building, establishing a national cybersecurity centre to include a shield to scan and provide a safety score for government and critical websites, and the enhancement of data protection and privacy, among others.

The Minister who further harped on the importance of digital identity as an enabler for cybersecurity as acknowledged globally said “the international community through the agreement of target 16.9 of the Sustainable Development Goals, calls for all UN member states to provide legal identity for all including birth registration by the year 2030. This is in recognition of the role of digital identity systems in supporting multiple development goals”.

The Minister, who oversees the largest digital economy in Africa, illustrated the strategies to a secure continental cyberspace using Nigeria as an example as most of the strategies outlined have already been adopted or are in full effect in the country. As a Professor of cybersecurity with the Federal University of Technology Owerri, (FUTO), the Minister also discussed the importance of the government-industry-academia triple helix model for promoting cybersecurity in Africa.

In attendance were Osai Bonsu Dickson, Chief Legal Adviser, Ministry of National Security Ghana, Ishaaq Jacobs Chief Cybersecurity Officer, South Africa, Kashif Inuwa Abdullahi, Director General of Nigeria’s Information Technology and Development Agency, Engr Abdulaziz Aliyu, Director General of the nation’s Identity Management Commission and cybersecurity experts from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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