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Nigeria To Benefit From UK’s £22m Cyber Capacity Building Fund

TECH DIGEST – The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has announced £22 million of new investment to build cyber security resilience in developing countries and globally, particularly in Africa and the Indo-Pacific.

In a speech delivered at the National Cyber Security Centre’s CyberUk conference recently, Raab announced that the UK would spend about £3 million of the £22 million funding to help Interpol set up a new team that will fight cybercrime in Africa. Nigeria was listed as part of the African countries to benefit from the fund.

The new Interpol desk would work across Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, creating a regional strategy to support joint operations against cybercrime, and strengthen African states’ capability to combat the crime and those behind it.

Since 2018 the UK has been actively partnering Nigeria to support the development of cyber security policies and strategies. Both countries share an ambition to create a safe and secure digital community that provides opportunities for Nigerian citizens and promotes peaceful engagement in cyberspace that enhances national prosperity.

The launch in February this year by President Muhammadu Buhari of the new Nigerian National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021, followed well-targeted UK-funded technical assistance through the UK’s Digital Access Programme.

That programme has also funded a project to up-skill Small Medium and Enterprises (SMEs) across Nigeria on cyber basics, which was delivered through the NGO CyberSafe Foundation.

The UK Department of International Trade (UK DIT) recently also hosted a virtual event for Nigerian stakeholders interested in cyber security for the financial services sector.

According to a statement released by UK’s Embassy in Nigeria, “The current development is a part of the UKs ambition to build global cyber resilience. We see Nigeria and Africa as a whole as an important partner in this.

“With some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Africa has become a target for opportune cybercriminals. By creating a central coordination desk within Interpol that law enforcement across Africa can use, the UK hopes to improve collaboration across borders to advance intelligence sharing, and ultimately stop the perpetrators of cybercrime in Nigeria and across Africa.”

Speaking at the conference of security experts, the Foreign Secretary outlined that the UK wanted to act as a responsible cyber power, as well as working with other countries to shape cyberspace in line with UK’s values.

Raab said the UK was also making around £22 million of new investment available to support capacity building in cyber security for developing countries and globally.

Delivering the speech, Raab said: “We are working with like-minded partners to make sure that the international order that governs cyber activity is fit for purpose.

“Our aim should be to create a cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure, which benefits all countries and all people.

“We want to see international law respected in cyberspace, just like anywhere else. And we need to show how the rules apply to these changes in technology, the changes in threats, and the systemic attempts to render the internet a lawless space.”

Also, Interpol’s Secretary General, Jürgen Stock said: “With more than 4.5 billion people online, more than half of humanity is at risk of falling victim to cybercrime at any time, requiring a unified and strong response.

“The UK support for Interpol’s cyber initiative in Africa underlines its commitment to this fight and will be an important piece of the global security architecture to combat cybercrime.”

Cybercrime is one of the most prolific forms of international crime, with damages set to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, according to recent report.