Cybersecurity: American Business Council, Stakeholders Unveil Cyber Hub
The American Business Council (ABC) and some stakeholders have a launched a cyber hub to build the capacity of young technology enthusiasts and engender a comprehensive cybersecurity ecosystem.
Mrs Magaret Olele, Chief Executive Officer, ABC, made this known on Tuesday in Lagos via a virtual media parley with the theme: “Cybersecurity Accessibility in Africa-Creating an Inclusive Cyberspace.”
Olele stated that the cyber hub was in partnership with Comercio Ltd., Nithub, and Cisco and the University of Lagos.
She quoted that the African continent currently faced a growing 100,000 person gap in certified cybersecurity professionals, according to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
Olele said building and enhancing the human capacity for cybersecurity, through education, training, innovation, research, and policy development were some long-term strategies that could be adopted to secure the African digital space.
According to her, this also includes fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and resilience among the public and private sectors through national campaigns and multilateral engagements.
She urged government and private sector players to enhance investments in cybersecurity to safeguard businesses for cyber attacks and preserve the investment ecosystem.
“With the launch of the cybersecurity hub, the ABC will attract cyber enthusiasts in the educational sector, who will look to capitalise on the cybersecurity training opportunities and competitions to get jobs in Nigeria’s digital sector and struggling cyber ecosystem.
“What we are developing with this cyber hub is starting from Nigeria but not for Nigeria alone as we would expand from here and potentially export these talents even under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“We are committed to working with government, private sector and other stakeholders to see how best we can move this forward,” she said.
Ms Julie Leblanc, the Senior Commercial Officer, United States Commercial Service, Lagos, stated that technology played an important role in commerce, hence her positivity about the potential of the sector.
Leblanc, however, stressed that not much could be done in terms of trade and commerce if the technology sector was unsafe for businesses to transact.
She stated the commitment of the U.S commercial service to fostering a thriving commercial relationships for economic growth and stability of both Nigeria and US.
Dr Bala Fakandu, Manager, Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team, said the country boasts of over four million tech start ups with funding running into billions for them.
Fakandu added that there existed millions of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); the engine room of any economy, who were exploited by cyber criminals in their bid to grow.
Noting the exorbitant cost of cyber defence for these businesses, Fakandu emphasised the need to invest in affordable cyber tools to address the cyber defence expenditure for MSMEs.
“Reports of loss of revenues by banks due to cyber criminality has been very scary and it is important that these issues are reported to know how to help prevent these cyber attacks.
“We need to find a way to prepare our infrastructure, platform and networks against these attacks.
“Setting up effective cyber security measures are not cheap, but a cyber hub may just be the beginning of the solution we need to defend or protect businesses and individuals from cyber criminals.
“Businesses are advised to establish a community as a means of merging together, pooling resources to share infrastructure to protect these cybersecurity investments to prevent small businesses from falling prey to cyber criminals,” he said.
Mrs Aderonke Adeyegbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Comercio Ltd., noted that COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital infrastructure and enhanced the need for Africa to create policies around cybersecurity.
She noted that Africa had a vibrant youthful population that must be onboarded as a talent factory to address the shortage of cybersecurity experts across the world.
“It is important that cybersecurity is given the front burner attention which is why we created the cyber hub to create a talent factory that meets international standards.
“The exposure and trainings participants would be getting would feed the shortage not only in Nigeria but across the world,” she said.
Dr Victor Odunmuyiwa, the Director, National Information Technology Development Agency Hub, University of Lagos, said the shortage of talents in the cybersecurity domain was a cause of concern as the world keeps getting digitalised.
Odunmuyiwa said to address this, the first thing was to raise talents with the right competencies and capacities via the new entry point for cyber security learning and Innovation.
“We plan to churn out diverse talents that meet the need of industries and promote entrepreneurship in the cybersecurity field.
“We also need to develop a home grown cybersecurity solution to stop dependence on the technology of other nations, hence the virtual hub for learning. Naira Devaluation Deepens Economic Crisis in Nigeria
“While we are starting with University of Lagos students, it would soon be opened to students from other universities and anyone that’s interested in learning,” he said.