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The AU took important action on cybersecurity at its 2024 summit – but more is needed

EXPERT COMMENT

Leading African Union member states continue to delay ratification of the Malabo convention, limiting harmonized African policymaking on cybersecurity.

Africa witnessed a spate of cyberattacks in 2023, against African Union Commission (AUC) systems, Kenyan government data systems, and Nigerian election infrastructure among others.

The attacks seem to have served as a wake-up call for the African Union (AU), driving its Peace and Security Council (PSC) to make cybersecurity a key agenda point at this year’s summit, held in Addis Ababa. 

Real achievements were made: African heads of state addressed a number of cybersecurity related matters – the first notable action on the issue since the AU created its Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (DTS) in February 2020.

At the summit the AUC was directed to expedite the development of a Continental Cybersecurity Strategy. A continental child online protection policy was also adopted, and a Common African Position agreed on the application of international law in cyberspace – a significant development. 

But the Malabo Convention, Africa’s ambitious continental cybersecurity agreement, remains unratified by most AU countries, limiting its credibility. Without wider ratification, and better cooperation on cyber diplomacy, member states may find it difficult to develop the coherent African cybersecurity agenda that is needed.

Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.

 

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Original article link: https://www.chathamhouse.org/2024/02/au-took-important-action-cybersecurity-its-2024-summit-more-needed

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