Cybercrime, increasingly sophisticated, leaves the black continent no choice but to arm itself in order to counter the threat.
Africa needs to maintain its growth momentum in security. To do this, it must prioritize the training of young talent, especially women, in cybersecurity. Experts in the field are unanimous: cybersecurity must be considered one of the major challenges of the 21st century.
Today, cyber-attacks are more numerous and complex. For a company, an organization or a State, investing in prevention is to ensure that its activities are carried out with complete peace of mind.
PWC, in its study entitled “Global Digital Trust Insights 2021,” estimated that 3.5 million jobs in the cybersecurity sector would be available worldwide during the year under review. While the opportunities are obvious, the problem of training human resources in top schools must be posed.
The reality is that cybersecurity professionals are rare in the job market. The reason is that there are not enough trained people to meet the growing needs in IT security. However, in Africa, many young graduates can go into cybersecurity. It is still necessary to know how to attract them.
The contribution of states in the training of experts in cybercrime and their visibility are important, said Edith Brou Bleu, digital specialist and member of the Advisory Board of Ciberobs. This organization launched the Cyber Africa Forum, the reference event on cyber security in Africa.
“It is essential for our states to strengthen and maximize investment in this sector because it will have a direct impact on the quality of our human capital,” Edith Brou Bleu said.
She noted that there are training institutes in the black continent in data protection, but we hear little about it. This is also one of the causes of the shortage of local expertise on IT security issues.
“Until we know that training is available and accessible, we will lack skilled manpower,” she said, indicating that in terms of training around the digital, we are still interested only in computer, telecom and web while cybersecurity already contains, in practice, these three sectors of activity.
The training of cybersecurity specialists should also be oriented towards women, whose representation is low. According to a study conducted in 2017 by Deloitte, they represent only 11 percent of IT security professionals. For Edith Brou Bleu, the imbalance must be corrected.
“I’ve always advocated for young women to have enough confidence in themselves to enter careers in new technologies and cybersecurity. It is a factor of potential and empowerment for women,” she added.
More and more initiatives are taken throughout Africa by public and private actors to fill this gap. This objective will be pursued during the Cyber Africa Forum scheduled for May 9 to 10, 2022 in Abidjan. This event will showcase the talents of African cybersecurity through the Cyber Africa Women, which aims to promote and support women.
The 2nd edition of the Cyber Africa Forum will also be the occasion to award a new prize to the start-up of the year. Objective: to create emulation in the sector. In Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and many other African countries, specialized schools exist. The National School of Administration (ENA) in Dakar, for example, houses a training institution for cybersecurity experts.
The entity, which opened in 2018, is the result of cooperation between the Senegalese and French foreign ministries. It is designed to strengthen the capacity of African states to combat cyberattacks, the spread of extremist messages and terrorist groups. Ciberobs advisory board member Linda Nanan Vallee said, “Cybersecurity training is crucial. Many security breaches are due to ignorance or negligence.”
Moreover, she pointed out, “in cybersecurity, we must have a holistic approach and technical security solutions (firewall, IDS/IPS, antimalware ...) are only parts of the picture. Awareness and training are fundamental pillars.”
In Côte d’Ivoire, the African School of Information and Communication Technologies (Esatic), headed by Professor Adama Konate, offers a Master’s degree in Security, IT and Web Technologies (SITW).