Africa lost $3.5 billion to cyber security attacks – World Bank

By Iddi
Yire/Josephine Acheampong, GNA

Accra, Oct 22, GNA – Africa, which has yet to
develop a robust digital economy, has lost an estimated $3.5 billion dollars to
cyber security attacks over the past few years, Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank
Country Director in Ghana, has said.

He said whilst countries were focused on
building their digital economies, cyber attackers continue to enhance their
skills to match these digital advancements and thereby take advantage of the
opportunities provided by the Internet and other disruptive technologies.

“Within a short period of time, cyber
attackers have advanced to a sophisticated level, whilst most countries still
have only rudimentary protection levels,” Mr Kerali stated on Monday at
the climax of the National Cyber security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in Accra.

The event, which was formally opened by
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was held under the theme: “A Safer
Digital Ghana”.

In attendance were senior ministers of state
such as Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Communications Minister and Mr Albert
Kan-Dapaah, National Security Minister.

Mr Kerali said the past decade has been
characterised by digital transformations across the globe as governments seek
to develop the digital economy.

“Transition from traditional to digital
economies remains particularly critical for developing economies as it enables
faster growth, offers innovative products and services, creates jobs and boosts
economic competitiveness, thereby reducing poverty and boosting
prosperity,” he said.

“Despite its infancy, the positive impact
of disruptive technologies in accelerating economic growth, but this has been
undermined by the increase of cyber threats and risks at national and global
levels,” he added.

Mr Kerali said these risks had always been
present and cyber security experts have warned about these risks for several
years.

However, it was not until devastating cyber
attacks occurred globally over the past few years that cyber security has
become a mainstream priority in all countries. 

Mr Kerali said corporations and governments
must invest in raising cyber security awareness and building cyber security
expertise and capacity, otherwise they remain vulnerable to attacks with the
ensuing financial losses and reputational risks.  

He said the World Bank Group has identified
cyber security as a critical element to foster digital development and
implement the digital economy agenda in developing countries.

He said individual developing countries have
limited financial and technical resources to invest in sophisticated cyber
security protection; “hence, it is important that countries collaborate to
improve cyber security and decrease the level of exposure to cyber-attacks
through regional integration and harmonisation”.

Mr Kerali added that this was now even more
urgent as advanced countries put up strong defenses, cyber attacks would shift
to countries with weaker defences.

“To this end, the Word Bank Group has
established partnerships with other development partners to support the global
advancement of cyber security capacity in developing countries,” he said.

“This week, we have a Cyber security
Clinic for the ECOWAS, with the support of the Governments of Japan, the UK and
Israel.”

He said the objective was to raise awareness
and build capacity in cyber security based on knowledge and expertise from
cyber security experts.

He said through this, ECOWAS countries would
be able to identify their own individual challenges, priorities and solutions.

Air Vice Marshall Griffith S. Evans,
Commandant of the Kofi Annan Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), said the
programme was in line with government’s effort to address the cyber insecurity
situation in the country.

GNA 

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