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Why digital transformation is no longer a luxury for your business

Digital transformation is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s critical to the survival of your business. When the economy and business landscape is in a period of growth and prosperity, organisations can be forgiven for thinking that digital transformation is a luxury, something they can experiment with that doesn’t need to affect the core of their […]

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How to trade Forex in South Africa

The growing population and economy of South Africa make forex trading in the country very attractive – not only for South Africans but also for foreign-based brokers.  If you are also interested in what Forex trading has to offer, then you are in the right place. In this article, we will show you how you […]

The post How to trade Forex in South Africa appeared first on IT News Africa - Up to date technology news, IT news, Digital news, Telecom news, Mobile news, Gadgets news, Analysis and Reports.

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Cyberspace Security in Africa – Where Do We Stand?

Very few African states today have developed a national cybersecurity strategy or have in place cybersecurity and data protection regulations and laws. Yet, the continent has made major headway in developing its digital ecosystem, and moreover, it is home to the largest free trade area in the world, which is predicted to create an entirely new development path harnessing the potential of its resources and people.

The world bank believes a digital economy in Africa can boost economic growth on the continent by up to two percentage points per year and reduce poverty by one percentage point per year in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. But not even such great predictions and clear solutions to poverty alleviation have convinced the continent's leadership to work towards ensuring that once the digital ecosystem (an ecosystem so critical to the continent's success and future) is developed, it should be protected and kept stable. Such laxity explains why according to a survey carried out by the African Union Commission (AUC), out of the 55 African states, only 8 countries have a national strategy on cybersecurity, only 13 with a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) or Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs), 14 with personal data protection laws, and only 11 with cybercrime laws. A similar report by Deloitte expresses similar concerns.

While the individual governments on the continent seem to be very slow to appreciate the importance of the concept of cyber safety, the regional political body, the African Union seems to be making some gains in raising awareness and advocating for better cyber safety, well, at least to the continent's ministers of Information and Communications Technology. On September 20, 2018, The African Union Commission (AUC) put out a call for experts to join its African Union Cyber Security Expert Group (AUCSEG), based on a resolution by its Executive Council earlier in January of the same year to create an Africa Cyber Security collaboration and coordination committee to advise the AUC and policymakers on Cyber strategies, with the following specific tasks:

  • Advising the AUC on cybersecurity issues and policies, such as capacity building initiatives;
  • Proposing solutions to facilitate the ratification and domestication of the Malabo Convention into national laws;
  • Sharing best practice on critical and Internet infrastructure security and how to mitigate current and new threats;
  • Identifying areas of research needed for the formulation of policies, guidelines, etc., which can be general or sector-specific, for instance, cybersecurity for smart grid technologies in the electric power industry, for financial systems, and for equipment monitoring tools;
  • Identifying ways to support Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs), in the area of capacity building and information sharing at the regional and African Union level;
  • Encouraging close collaboration among the AU Member States and stakeholders, including in responsible and coordinated disclosures;
  • Proposing ways to increase the skills of information systems and cybersecurity professionals in Africa (e.g., by fostering trusted certification programs);
  • Supporting AUC in formulating strategies for cybersecurity and capacity building programs;
  • Supporting AUC and Member States on international cooperation matters regarding cybersecurity, personal data protection and combating cybercrime.

The group was formed and held its inaugural meeting on December 10, 2019. They have, through its chair, been asking African experts to submit their personal assessments of the state of cybersecurity in the continent, especially as it pertains to what the continent has done right and what it can do better.

To answer that call, I would say I think the adoption of the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection in 2014 is amongst some of the things that Africa has done right in this area, even though most countries are yet to ratify the convention. Even with the challenge in ratification, it remains a major step forward towards increasing awareness amongst the ministers and administrators from member states. Then there was the piece of work that was done to develop and launch the Privacy and Personal Data Protection Guidelines by the African Union Commission in partnership with Internet Society (ISOC). That was also an important milestone towards secure cyberspace in Africa.

However, and as I've written before, it is disappointing to see that continent-wide and regional initiatives like the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) do not embed cybersecurity considerations and concepts at their conception phases and when such projects are developed. In light of current technological trends and in line with progress being made in developing the African digital ecosystem, free intra-regional trade will not only be offline. Rather, we are sure to see a significant amount of the intra-regional trade taking place on the Internet. Digital trade generally requires a great deal of free movement and flow of personal data, as data is the lifeblood of the digital economy. A continent-wide digital trade involving consumers cannot occur without the collection and movement of personal data like names, email addresses, and billing information across borders. In order for such a market to be efficiently regulated, the region will need to look into unifying implementations of cybersecurity and data protection regulations across the continent. The best way to do that (in my opinion) would be for African states to adopt the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection or at least align their national cybersecurity legislation with it. Current disparate implementations of data protection regulation (where they exist) make it a very tedious task for multinational businesses or any company carrying out business with partners in multiple countries in the region to lawfully transfer data across borders as part of their operations. Non-compliance with the different data protection regulations may preclude companies from potential business exploits in the region.

We must also remember that in most advanced information societies, regulation tends to play catch up to innovation. Technology use led by the private sector should, in theory, be speeding ahead, while government and public policymakers struggle to catch up. But that is not even the picture we see across the continent. Admittedly, there is some technological progress, but not nearly fast enough to transform the continent into an information society. Therefore, we must start asking questions like what the implications are, if the private sector that is meant to lead innovation also suffers from lack of awareness in cybersecurity, just like their public sector and civil society counterparts.

It is often assumed that the key issue hindering progress in the maturity of cybersecurity posture in Africa is the public leaders. In fact, in the request by the chair of the AUCSEG in one of the African policy chat forums — the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) telegram channels, the chair asked for "suggestions on how to message cybersecurity/technology and digital trust ideas to analog African leadership." Yet, in an empirical study on National Cyber Security Awareness in Africa using focus groups, some African stakeholders responded that, "the government realizes that lack of awareness is crucial and recognizes the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach towards this goal." This raises many questions. Amongst them are questions like — are our assumptions of what seems to be the challenge of advancing the cybersecurity posture on the continent and even the general adoption of technological solutions wrong?

Another pertinent question that comes out of the above statement is, if African governments are aware, or at the very least have an idea of what needs to be done to improve their countries' cybersecurity posture but no progress is being made on that front, then what exactly is stopping them?

As the new year and decade begin, these are some of the important questions the AUCSEG should be finding answers to, and hopefully propel the continent to a better cybersecurity posture than we find ourselves today. With the right answers, the continent might move from a Start up stage (stage 1) to at least the Established stage (stage 3) of the University of Oxford Cyber Security Maturity Model for Nations (CMM) which assesses the cyber security capacity maturity capabilities of states over five dimensions (Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy; Cyber Culture and Society; Cybersecurity Education, Training and Skills; Legal and Regulatory Frameworks; and Standards, Organizations, and Technologies) with indicators that describes steps and actions that must be taken to achieve maturity in one of the following 5 stages of maturity: 1) Start up; 2) Formative; 3) Established; 4) Strategic; 5) Dynamic.

But if in answering these questions, the AUCSEG finds that it is indeed the 'analog-ness ' of our leaders that is hindering progress in cybersecurity on the continent, then I would recommend the following next steps:

  1. Investing in awareness of the 'analog' leaders on how cybercrime and poor or lack-of a national cybersecurity strategy and regulation affect the various state economies and their governments' legitimacy.
  2. The AUC should invest in trust-building mechanisms between governments and their private sectors and civil society, in order to create channels of communication and trust in local expert advice. It also makes it possible for successful government-private partnerships in national security.

Once these are in place, strategies like a Whole-of-Government (WoG) approach, which is necessary to achieve an efficient and cost-effective national cybersecurity should be recommended to African states. This approach lends to the process of better coordination and the use of existing resources.

And finally, if the AUCSEG is going to support the AUC and member states on international cooperation on matters of cybersecurity and cybercrime as listed on its list of tasks, then it should investigate and advise the AUC on how recognition (or the lack of) of cyberspace as the fifth domain in military warfare could possibly impact the national security of African states. Only one country in Africa, the Republic of South African, has researched and considered the concept of Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), which is a military concept that proposes that new military doctrines, strategies, tactics and technologies are required for future warfare. Especially in this digital era where more and more public civilian infrastructure is also being targeted both at peacetime and at wartime as legitimate military targets due to the dual-use nature of cyber infrastructure.

While it is understandable that there are financial limitations amongst other things, that limit developing countries from adopting such a concept, African leadership must be aware and well versed with the concept to substantially contribute to current global security and International law (as it relates to cyberspace) discussions and fora, like the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security and the UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) looking at cyberspace norms.

Written by Tomslin Samme-Nlar, Researcher

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Global giants eye Africa for data centre expansion

The greatest commodity in the world today is information, as information leads to knowledge. Similarly, the ability to access, and distribute information have become crucial factors for the upliftment and development of any county. “Moving towards a knowledge-based economy by harnessing the power of ICTs, will greatly boost the competitiveness and financial health of our [&hellip (webremix.info)


Fintech startups left vulnerable as digital economy booms in Africa

In just two years, Africa’s fintech industry has boomed by 60% – this according to Toby Shapshak in an article for Forbes. The fintech ecosystem has grown to 491 from 301 in 2017, with $132.8 million raised in 2018 – proving the sector’s readiness given the high mobile phone penetration levels and the surge in [&hellip (webremix.info)


Blockchain marketplace believes women are the key to innovation in Crypto industry

Digital peer-to-peer crypto marketplace, Paxful believes that women play an extremely important role in the future of blockchain in Africa. In a press release issued on Friday, 30 August 2019, the Bitcoin platform expressed the desire to expand its female-powered reach throughout the continent. “Women are critical to the future of the crypto-economy and we [&hellip (webremix.info)


Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile economy valued at more than $150 Billion in 2018

According to a new study conducted by GSMA, more than 160 million new unique mobile subscribers will be added across the region by 2025, bringing the total to 623 million. This represents around half of the region’s population, up from 456 million (44 per cent) in 2018. Subscriber additions will be concentrated in high-growth markets [&hellip (webremix.info)


Investing in fibre is key to enable the growth of Africa’s digital economy

At the end of June 2019, the International Telecoms Week facilitated a panel discussion session where members spoke about the importance of investing in fibre infrastructure within Africa, in order to facilitate the development and growth of the continent’s digital economy.  Principal Analyst at TeleGeography, Patrick Christian, evaluated the African digital economy — he noted [&hellip (webremix.info)


The West Is Shooting Itself in Its IT Foot (webremix.info)


Cannes at the Halfway Point: How Did Elton John Become King of the Fest? (webremix.info)


Paxful offers bitcoin workshops to universities in Africa

On Tuesday, 14 May 2019, Statistics South Africa that the youth unemployment rate in the country remains at an all-time high of 55.2 per cent. In a bid to help create employment, global peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace, Paxful is driving education around the use of bitcoin-for-business with the youth. To increase access to the bitcoin economy [&hellip (webremix.info)


Skills and tech impacting South Africa’s digital marketing performance

A lack of digital skills, technology wherewithal and data-driven marketing is holding South Africa back from meaningful transformation into a globally competitive digital economy. Johan Walters, Managing Consultant at DQ&A, drew on the company’s global experience to see how local brands could fast track their digital performance. SA lagging on Google’s Digital Maturity Framework, despite [&hellip (webremix.info)


The road to 5G and challenges ahead

The introduction of 5G will have a considerable impact on the Middle East and Africa economy. Data traffic and mobile broadband subscriptions The Middle East and Africa region has a unique position globally: While it has countries on the cusp of 5G roll-out, there are other parts of the region where the deployment of 3G [&hellip (webremix.info)


South Africa’s content and applications continue to power mobile in 2019

As South Africa continues to suffer the fallout from unreliable electricity, aggressive politicking and ratings downgrades; the country’s mobile sector continues to deliver a much-needed monetary injection for Africa’s most advanced economy. South Africa’s impressive 90 million cellular connections and stellar mobile penetration rate of 157% boosts the local economy to the tune of hundreds [&hellip (webremix.info)


South Africa election: ANC faces tough test 25 years after apartheid

Corruption, the faltering economy and land reform are key issues as the ANC battles to stay dominant. (webremix.info)


Defy drives growth with new production centre in South Africa

In a move to stimulate the South African economy, create employment and spearhead its technological advancements in-country, DEFY, a subsidiary of Arcelik Global, has invested $68 671 885,00 (R1 billion) in upgrading three local production centres to serve as their strategic manufacturing hub. Arcelik is also extending its global Research and Development network by creating [&hellip (webremix.info)


South Africa to get first Digital Economy Summit in June

On Thursday, 11 April 2019, the Minister of Telecommunications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams officially launched the 4IRSA Partnership and unveiled its plans towards the country’s first Digital Economy Summit at a media briefing. The summit is scheduled to be held on 27-28 June 2019 at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Hub. The Fourth Industrial Partnership for South [&hellip (webremix.info)


India's eCommerce Policy: NOT a 'Bollywood Drama' but an Adaptation of Script of Acts from Elsewhere (webremix.info)


ICT remains one of the biggest industries in South Africa

The ICT sector has one of South Africa’s biggest job markets and is also one of the biggest contributors to the economy. This is according to the State of ICT report published by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). The report represents the development and performance of the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services. [&hellip (webremix.info)


Rating working conditions in the digital economy with Fairwork

University of Oxford academics have published the world’s first ever rating system for working conditions in the digital economy with a focus on South Africa and India. The rankings look at how platforms like Uber, Taxify, and Ola perform against five standards – fair work, fair conditions, fair contracts, fair management, and fair representation. These [&hellip (webremix.info)


Mastercard partners DPO Group to boost Pan-African merchant payments

Mastercard and Africa’s payment service provider, DPO Group have announced a collaboration to enable over 40,000 African merchants to accept Mastercard payments, connecting more people and businesses to the global economy. The collaboration will enable DPO to act as a Pan-African switch by using the Mastercard Payments Gateway Services (MPGS). DPO will now be able [&hellip (webremix.info)


Cisco commits to training 1 million Africans

At the Global Citizen Festival South Africa 2018, Cisco announced its commitment to training 10 million people worldwide for jobs in the digital economy, including 1 million in Africa over the next five years. The Chairman and CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins gathered with government officials as well as businesses in Johannesburg to share commitment [&hellip (webremix.info)


Power cuts hit South Africa, hurting economy

South Africa's troubled power utility on Tuesday implemented power cuts nationwide, intensifying concern about growth in one of Africa's biggest economies. (webremix.info)


What 2019 has in store for South Africa’s ICT space

South Africa’s 2018 Q2 and Q3 negative economic growth means that the country’s economy is in a technical recession. And while Business Services is one sphere showing growth (of 1.9%, along with Finance and Real Estate), this does not mean that the ICT sector – a major partner and supporter of business in the digital [&hellip (webremix.info)


The opportunity cost of doing business for SMEs in Africa

The African economy has gathered momentum over the years, with an estimated increase of 3.8% of the real output growth in 2017. As the largest economies gradually strengthen, the 2018/2019 performance should reach 4.1% according to the African Development Bank. This economic growth and sustainable development has largely been contributed by Small and Medium Enterprises [&hellip (webremix.info)


Local Content Craze Fuels Box Office Boom in Nigeria

Powered by growing demand for local content and a rapidly expanding theatrical sector, Nigeria is expected to hit box-office highs in 2018, with the industry on track to shatter the record it set last year. As Africa’s largest economy continues to rebound from recession, bizzers are bullish that steady gains in recent years will continue […] (webremix.info)


Youth employment critical for Africa’s economic growth

Despite Africa’s impressive growth in past 25 years and its entry into the digital economy, the job market continues to be in a depressed state as youth unemployment continues to rise. Africa has the largest population of young people in the world, some 200 million aged between 15 and 24, accounting for 60% of all [&hellip (webremix.info)


IT and the Green economy identified as future-orientated businesses in South Africa

South African SMEs are estimated to represent 90% of formal businesses, provide employment to about 60% of the labour force and contribute approximately 34% of the country’s GDP. In an effort to further grow this sector and boost a struggling economy, J.P. Morgan has been supporting a number of companies to conduct in-depth research into [&hellip (webremix.info)


South African Finance Minister Resigns

South Africa’s finance minister resigned after admitting links to a family at the heart of a corruption scandal, dealing a blow to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to stamp out graft and rejuvenate Africa’s most-developed economy. (webremix.info)


The need for apparel manufacturers in Kenya and South Africa to become super vendors

After marking its presence in 15 countries, ThreadSol is all set to explore the African apparel industry to transform manufacturers to super vendors. This move comes at a time where the president of Kenya has decided to dedicate his energy in achieving the big four agenda as a way to improve the economy of Kenya and [&hellip (webremix.info)


South Africa needs a grounded approach for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

South Africa needs to whittle the discussion down to an understanding on the one hand of what is happening in technological changes and relate that to the structure of the South African economy The Industrial Development Advisor at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Dr Nimrod Zalk says a grounded approach is needed [&hellip (webremix.info)