Rwanda Hosts 4th Africa Cyber Defense Forum.

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On November 15, the Africa Cyber Defense Forum (ACDF) 2023 got underway in Kigali, bringing together top security professionals, first responders, political figures, and business executives to discuss the issues facing the current cyber threat scenario.

The annual conference, which is being held at the Kigali Marriott Hotel until November 17, also intends to provide a content program that connects the data protection, cyber, and ICT professions worldwide.

The Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, spoke at the conference’s official opening, highlighting the growing threat of cyberattacks on a worldwide scale and the necessity of coordinated response.

“Unprecedented problems are presented by the cyber threat landscape’s rapid evolution. We must collaborate to guarantee that we are prepared to respond to and effectively mitigate some of the global cyber threats because of the depth and complexity of these difficulties,” the speaker stated.

Global research company Cybersecurity Ventures forecasts that during the next five years, the cost of cybercrime will increase by 15% yearly, from $3 trillion in 2015 to $10.5 trillion by 2025. The speed at which emergent technologies are developing will have a significant impact on this.

Ingabire claims that hackers are using technology advancements to craft increasingly complex cyber threats and are creating novel strategies in a variety of ways.

She emphasized the significance of resolving the gender gap, salary inequities, and shortage of cyber security expertise.

“As we deal with the complexity and the growing nature of cyber threats, we also need to be able, not just to increase our skills to deal with this, but to increase the workforce that is able to deal with this in a permanent way,” she said.

“Not only do we have to address the gap of having more female representation or women representation in the cyber security industry, but we also need to ensure that the pay gap is also addressed in very meaningful ways.”

Ingabire emphasized the need for uniform laws and digital trust, pointing to proactive initiatives taken by Rwanda, such as the creation of the Data Protection Office and the Personal Data and Privacy Law, as excellent models.

In order to improve cyber security, she also urged cooperation between the public and private sectors, academia, and international cooperation.

An Interpol research states that over 90% of enterprises on the continent do not follow basic cyber security procedures. This disparity makes African companies more susceptible to cyberattacks, which might cost them over $4 billion a year in severe financial losses.

The ACDF’s chief executive officer, Gilbert Nyandeje, underlined the historical difficulty Africa has encountered in taking a backseat in a number of areas, such as technology and innovation, and stressed the value of networking and having faith in Africa’s ability to overcome it.

In addition, he emphasized the necessity of cyber security and digital trust given how quickly Africa’s digital world is changing.

“Africa’s digital space and landscape is evolving rapidly. Driven by a tech-savvy youth population, our population is very young,” he said. “While this transformation holds great promise, it also presents challenges. With cyber security emerging as an imperative, it is no longer a choice, but a necessity in the face of increasing digital risks.”

Nyandeje further urged regional and international cooperation to successfully combat cybercrime.

The National Cyber Security Authority’s (NCSA) Chief Cyber Security Standards Officer, Ghislaine Kayigi, also underlined the significance of elevating cyber security to a top priority in Africa and recognized the ACDF’s contribution to that endeavor.

Panel talks on important subjects like data protection, the relationship between AI and cyber security, public-private cooperation in cyber security, and the worldwide threat posed by cyberattacks were also included in the Africa Cyber Defense Forum 2023.

 

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