An international summit on cybersecurity will be held on 25-26 October 2021 in the Togolese capital Lomé, reports from the West African nation said this week.

The summit, which is expected to be attended by delegates from all over the continent, is being hosted by the government of Togo, in association with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the organisers said.

As numerous countries around the world celebrate the international Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM) in October, delegates are expected to discuss, among others, the dangers of cybercrime on organisations and individuals, and reinforce cybersecurity to stop hackers from wreaking havoc on computerised systems.

Cyber-attackers range from lone-wolf hackers to nation-states, who have varying capabilities and intentions, the African Center for Strategic Studies said, adding that the continent needed to watch out for the following four major categories of security: espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, organised crime, and the shifting contours of the African battlefield.

The African business community in 2017 lost an estimated $3.5 billion to cyber fraud and theft, according to independent sources.

Lately, hackers have turned their attention to Africa’s mobile money, which seems to have become their soft target, according to several industry watchers. In 2020, Africans exchanged $490 billion using mobile money providers, while the number of registered accounts stood at 548 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. These figures are expected to send a chill down the spine of many hackers.

Nevertheless, a recent cybersecurity report published in June 2021 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) suggests that Africa's levels of commitment to cybersecurity – as well as the capacity for response to threats – remain low compared to other continents.

Many observers believe the Lomé summit constitutes a viable platform to inform the continent’s business and political community that the threats are real, and that they should start sharpening their spears to fight the cybercriminals to their last breath.

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