Pantami Stresses Value Of Cybersecurity To Nigeria’s Digital Economy
TECHDIGEST – Cybersecurity has become imperative to building and sustaining growth of digital economy, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said this week in Abuja while delivering the keynote Address at the 2021 Cybersecurity Conference organised by the American Business Council (ABC).
He said the depth of cybersecurity awareness significantly impacts on growth in the digital economy even as cyber losses from malware attacks are projected to hover around $10.5 trillion by 2025.
Pantami who shared his expert experience on cybersecurity as he spoke on the topic “The Importance of Cybersecurity in Promoting the Growth of Nigeria’s Digital Economy” said the importance of cybersecurity in developing a sustainable digital economy and the role of all stakeholders in promoting cybersecurity are mutually dependent.
He noted the growing impact of cybercrime across the globe, especially with a large percentage of engagements that have been moved to online platforms as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Cyber-attacks are growing at a rapid rate with more malware being launched than ever before.
According to the Chief Technologist – Security and Privacy for Personal Systems for HP, “A new piece of malware is released every day within 4.2 seconds. One of the problems that Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) face is how to combat the sheer volume of malware bombarding us.”
Pantami stated that the resulting damages of cyber-attacks are not only increasing, but are unfortunately projected to cost the loss of approximately $5.2 trillion across the globe by 2023, according to Accenture. This is over 35% of the GDP of China, 137% the GDP of Germany or over 173% to GDP of the entire African continent. In fact, the loss is expected to reach $10.5 trillion in 2025 and will make such a “cyber losses” economy to be the third largest economy, after the United States and China.
The minister also outlined the efforts of the federal government towards improving cybersecurity in Nigeria. Some of these include the implementation of relevant policies, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria and the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy. He also emphasized the importance of capacity building and how the government has embarked on efforts to build the capacity of Nigerians in the area of cybersecurity. This is in addition to the promotion of sectoral Computer Emergency Readiness & Response Teams (CERRTs) and the focus on Data and Privacy Protection.
The minister also presented the awards to the top three winners that participated in a Cybersecurity Hackaton that preceded the conference. The 5-day hackaton focussed on identifying innovative Nigerians with solutions to our indigenous cybersecurity challenges. It attracted about 150 applications and covered important areas like cryptography, steganography, reverse engineering, programming and exploitable, among others.
The event was graced by Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.
Also in attendance were Mr. Dipo Faulkner, the President of ABC and Chief Executive Officer of IBM West Africa, Margaret Olele, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Secretary of ABC, Merritt Baer of the Chief Information Security Office of Amazon Web Services, as well as other dignitaries.
Pantami thanked the organisers for organising the conference and reiterated the federal government’s commitment to strengthening cybersecurity in the country through policy implementation, capacity building and forging relevant partnerships.