In Aon South Africa’s latest whitepaper, Zamani Ngidi – cyber solutions client manager – unpacks the global trends pertaining to data privacy and cyber resilience that impact the African continent.   

The “Cyber Risks in Africa” whitepaper focuses on the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) that is ushering in a new economy and a new form of globalisation. This calls for updated forms of governance to safeguard the public and organisations alike, as these extraordinary technological advancements come with inherent risks.

“Innovation is key to any organisation’s survival,” says Ngidi. “And while tech is being rolled out at a staggering rate, infrastructure support and safeguards seem to be lagging on the continent, leaving African states particularly exposed to global cyber losses, which are estimated to cost US$6 trillion (more than R103 trillion) annually by 2021.”

African states need to equip themselves better when it comes to cyber resilience in order to actively participate in the global economy, by effectively managing and mitigating the effects of data breaches and cybercrime on their economy and citizens.

More than half of Africa’s 54 countries have no data protection or privacy laws, however, according to a London-based rights group Article 19. And of the countries that do, most have no regulators to enforce them.

“This partially explains why the data around breaches is minimal within the region,” Ngidi says. “Data protection laws should be introduced to emulate global standards such as the General Data Protection Regulation and United States cybersecurity strategies if African businesses want to leverage the globalisation potential that comes with the 4IR. Many African entrepreneurs are producing world-class technology that is being consumed not only by local communities, but in the US, Europe and other global markets – changing the tide of globalisation. There has also been growth of locally developed solutions specifically to address local market needs and unique challenges.”

Ngidi explains that part of the focus of the whitepaper is to highlight the commercial benefits of the 4IR, not only by changing how we interact and do business, but also to emphasise the importance of data protection and building cyber resilience.

“Achieving cyber resilience is absolutely crucial, using a circular strategy, which Aon terms the Cyber Loop: each organisation can extract data that will strengthen the organisation’s ability to rapidly detect, respond to and recover from a cyber attack,” he says.

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