Cyber-legislation in Africa: Case of OA countries

May 28, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

In Africa, the rapid development of new technologies has led to the development of new uses. Internet multiplies the access to the outside but also possible deviations.

The number of Internet users has increased considerably without them being supported and made aware of online risks, consequently, Cybercrimes have grown considerably in recent years.

Côte d'Ivoire has a very large number of cybercriminals. However, it seems that the practices of Ivorian cybercriminals remain on the margins compared to the scale of Nigerian methods. The majority of Ivorian grazers are believed to be between 12 and 25 years old and come from Nigeria, having fled the crackdown on cybercrime activities. They mainly operate from public internet cafes.

In a report published by the company Trend Micro in 2012, "Cybercrimes originating in Africa are ranked among the top ten threats that will weigh on businesses and the general public in the years to come, because cyberspace and cyber-scams have no borders. The United States, worried about attacks from Africa, has drawn up a ranking of the top ten global sources of cyber scams: Nigeria comes in 3rd position, Ghana in 7th, and Cameroon is 9th in the ranking ".

Nigeria, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire are the most vulnerable countries with more than 10,000 cyber threats identified in 2015. The most exposed countries are also those with the highest internet and mobile phone penetration rates.

Faced with these attacks, governments are gradually becoming aware of the issue of cybercrime and the need to face it.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) supports the development of legislative frameworks and operational structures to fight cybercrime, notably through the development of CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team). Today, more than 15 African countries out of the continent's 54 have an operational CERT, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria. In addition, the majority of West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal) now have cybercrime legislation.

While upgrading or adopting legislation is already an important first step, it is not, on its own, sufficient to counter threats linked to cybercrime. These laws, which are very often modeled on European regulations, may appear for the time being like empty shells insofar as they are not accompanied by ad hoc structures, both judicial and police.

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