The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the government of Togo said they were still committed to making cybercrime a top priority for African states, despite the postponement of an international summit on cybersecurity that was due to take place in Lomé on 25-26 October. 

The UN and the Togolese government – the organisers of the event – said in a statement that achieving this objective required the continued collaboration of all stakeholders.  “These include “Heads of state and government officials, and leaders of civil society leaders.” 

No new date has been set for the mega-event, and the reasons for the postponement were still sketchy by the time of going to press.

Several heads of state and governments alongside experts and companies and government representatives from all sectors of life from across the continent were due to attend the summit. 

The UNECA said cybercrime was one of the top risk factors likely to jeopardise Africa’s economy especially at this time when the continent was transitioning to e-commerce under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Cybersecurity has recently become a top priority for companies, governments and individuals across Africa, as cybercriminals step up efforts to illegally break into unknown computerised systems.

“The national protection of information systems and the data processed therein is a fundamental issue for all security actors,” Togo President Faure Gnassingbe said in a statement released prior to the postponed conference. 

The summit, according to Gnassingbe, is an opportunity to engage in a high-level dialogue with a view to formulating avenues of cooperation and coordination to respond to the pressing challenges facing all African actors in the area of cybersecurity.

According to the 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) released by The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ranks the following top 10 countries in Africa in terms of legal measures, technical measures, organisational measures, capacity building, and international cooperation: Mauritius (1), Tanzania (2), Ghana (3), Nigeria (4), Kenya (5), Benin (6), Rwanda (7), South Africa (8), Uganda (9) and Zambia (10).

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