By Emeka Aginam
FOR the participants at the just concluded 5th edition of the Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance, AfICTA, summit held in Abuja, unless Nigeria and the rest of the Africa’s governments promote and use technology in the judiciary to empower law enforcement officers, the fight against cybercrime may not yield the expected results.
The capacity development summit, with the theme One Africa, One Future: Leveraging ICT for Sustainable Development, noted that to effectively fight cybercrime in the continent, tackling cybercrime and securing critical information infrastructure must be among government’s key agenda.
Although cybercrime is not only limited to Nigeria or Africa, the summit noted that all relevant stakeholders in the ICT industry should, as a matter of necessity, engage the government on the promotion and use of technology in the judiciary so that law enforcement officers can effectively address cybercrime issues in the continent.
According to AfICTA, the summit is one of the key indicators of progress towards the fulfilment of AfICTA’s vision of a digital Africa within the larger framework of the global vision of an information society with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
In his welcome address, Opeyemi Onifade, Chairman of the Summit’s 2017 Committee noted the need to unplug the low hanging technology fruits. While the Chairman of AfICTA, Dr Jimson Olufuye in his opening speech, commended the Director-General of NITDA, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and his team for sustaining the existing Memorandum of Understanding MoU with AfICTA and enabling the hosting of AfICTA Summit in conjunction with NITDA’s eNigeria under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications.
Also speaking, Marilyn Cade of the ICANN Business Constituency, ICANN-BC, who gave a goodwill message via live video platform, encouraged Africa to improve on the development of ICT in Africa by participating in policies and advocacies for a healthy internet ecosystem.
Delegates at the event noted that the West African Telecom Regulators, two weeks before the Summit, declared a framework for one network across ECOWAS with the aim of eliminating roaming charges. There is expectation that by 2020, there could be a tariff free, one network regime for Africa.
To foster SDGs through the use of ICTs, the summit, in a communique signed by Onifade, recommended;
- AfICTA would continue to push for best practices, foster business networks and enhance intra-African trade aimed at supporting governments to transform from low point of 12 to more than 50 percent by 2025.
- Stakeholders in the ICT industry should engage the government on the promotion and use of technology in the judiciary so that law enforcement officers can effectively address cybercrime issues in continent.
- Africa should embrace the use of emerging Blockchain technology in law, banking, healthcare, insurance, education, financial services etc.
- Africa ISPs/IXP operators should work together to create awareness to stimulate the adoption and implementation of IPv6, as IPv4 is gradually nearing depletion in Africa.
- AfICTA is optimistic that with the current momentum of Nigeria’s government on ease of doing business and the use ICT to drive governance, a cascading effect on other sectors and other countries may be realized; and African countries may surpass the SDGs by 2030.
- African governments should support the recommendation in the UN CSTD Working Group on Enhanced Cooperation on the use of existing UN CSTD mechanism to enable governments on equal, footing to perform their role on International Public Policy issues pertaining to the internet with full participation of all stakeholders in the private sector, civil society, technical and academic communities.
- At the Cybersecurity Workshop, stakeholders are enjoined to invest in cybersecurity by increasing personnel awareness and on boarding effective cybersecurity governance framework.
- Women and youth should join in ICT policy making and advocacy as important decisions made would have an effect on them directly or indirectly if they fail to express their view when it matters most.
- Government and the private sector should collaborate towards the realization of the SDGs by 2030.
Hosted by the ADD Consortium composed of Afenoid Enterprise Limited, DigiSphere Limited and Dotengee Nig Ent in conjunction with eNigeria, powered by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, under the auspices of the Ministry of Communications Nigeria, the summit had the objective of Creating jobs and youth empowerment, building partnerships for 2030 sustainable development agenda, Tackling cybercrime and securing critical information infrastructure, among others.
AfICTA is a 30-nation private sector led alliance of ICT Associations, Multi-national Corporations, Companies, Organisations and individuals in the ICT sector in Africa.