Digital skills shortage sees cybercrime in Africa increase

The ongoing battle against cybersecurity threats in Africa is being severely affected by the shortage of digital skills available.

Experts have now raised concerns over the shortage of skills, and have said if this continues then a rise in cyberattacks and cybercrime is likely to take hold. This could likely have a catastrophic impact on businesses, the government, the economy and individuals.

A recent statement said this was part of the consensus reached by panelists at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa. The monthly meeting in Nigeria focused on the theme of ‘Addressing the cybersecurity skills quagmire’.

At this meeting, experts explained how African countries need to focus on developing digital skills at all levels, including smart technology support, collaboration with the diaspora and strategic supply of digital skills to Africa.

The meeting began with an address of welcome, which saw the President of ISSAN Dr. David Isiavwe detail how the ‘brain drain’ in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world is a call for concern.

He said, “The cyberthreat landscape is still evolving. Cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and that of highly reputable firms.

“Even individuals are not left out. Consequently, it becomes imperative that organisations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”

This is something echoed by many others in the digital sector. Mrs Doyin Odunfa, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Digital Jewels, said the shortage of general digital skills at all levels was expected to become more critical as economies grew. She observed that highly skilled African professionals had been emigrating to African countries to pursue more lucrative opportunities on other continents, leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.

Odunfa recommends intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.

She said: “These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.

“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.”

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