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Minister Kunkuyu calls upon African nations to address cyber security threats

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Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu has called upon African nations to take candid steps in addressing security threats in the cyberspace if the continent is to progress digitally.

Kunkuyu made the remarks on Monday during the official opening of the 11th International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Cyber Drill for Africa underway in Lilongwe.

He said Malawi, just as any other country in the region, has successfully been developing lots of documents guiding several matters in the digital space.

“We believe that implementation is what matters most and as such this forum should concentrate much on how to devise practical steps to implement all the beautiful plans and roadmaps we have developed and that providing a safe and secure digital space becomes reality for our people,” he said.

Kunkuyu urged the nations to move beyond the talk and write-ups and work together towards implementing the good plans.

Kunkuyu added that Malawi is finalizing formulation of the Digital Economy Strategy, which principally intends to promote deployment and adoption of ICTs in all sectors including health, education, agriculture, trade and commerce.

He further said that the promotion of massive adoption of ICTs in Malawi and Africa as a whole should be preceded by an assurance to ICT users of the safety and overall security of these technologies.

Currently, Kunkuyu said, Malawi also intends to review the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act and the Communications Act, but also to develop other digital laws that are in line with international best practices.

Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu

Some of the legal instruments that Malawi Government intends to formulate include E-Transactions and E-Commerce Act; Cybersecurity Act; Data Protection Act; Cyber Crimes Act, and E-Evidence Act.

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Board Chairperson Dr Stanley Khaila said despite the positive impact the digital revolution has had on people’s lives especially as a driver of digital economy, the reality is that the systems are prone to attacks.

“Consumers of ICT services and network owners tend to fall victim to cyber-attacks such as hacking, phishing, ransomware, and scams,” he said.

Khaila said the digital world has no boundaries and the perpetrators of these cybercrimes and the cyber-crimes themselves are not unique and localized to any geographical location. 

 This, he said, means that without collaboration, the advantage in cyber security can and will belong to the attackers.

As a region, Africa needs to shift away from the national boundary mindset and take the modern approach of collaboration and coordination on issues pertaining to Cybersecurity, he said.

The Digital Economy Initiative for Africa aims to ensure that every individual, business and government in Africa be digitally enabled by 2030 in support of the African Union Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa.

“If Africa, as a continent, is to achieve the goal of digital transformation and build a resilient regional digital economy, we need to assure ICT users of a safe and secure cyber space,” he said. 

Khaila therefore said regional cyber drill meetings provides a platform where policy makers, key stakeholders and cyber security experts can discuss issues that are pertinent to the growth of our region.

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