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HomeAfricaThe Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity in Africa: A Nine-Year Journey of Ratifications

The Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity in Africa: A Nine-Year Journey of Ratifications

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Cybersecurity stands as a paramount concern in the digital age, with the African continent experiencing both the benefits and challenges brought about by rapid technological advancements. In a bid to address these challenges and create a unified defense against cyber threats, the African Union introduced the Malabo Convention in 2014. The convention aims to establish a comprehensive legal framework covering e-commerce, data protection, cybercrime, and overall cybersecurity.

The Malabo Convention: An Overview

The Malabo Convention, adopted by the African Union Assembly, has set the ambitious goal of creating a standardized legal foundation for cybersecurity practices across the continent. Member states, totaling 55, commit to formulating national laws in alignment with the principles and standards laid out in the convention texts.

Mauritania’s Pivotal Role

Recent developments mark an important milestone in the journey of the Malabo Convention. Mauritania, along with 14 other nations including Togo, Zambia, Senegal, Rwanda, Namibia, Niger, Mauritius, Mozambique, Guinea, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cape Verde, Angola, and Ivory Coast, ratified the convention. Mauritania’s ratification, effective from June 8, 2023, underscores its commitment to strengthening cybersecurity and data protection within its borders.

The Ratification Process

According to Article 36 of the Malabo Convention, its entry into force occurs 30 days after the President of the African Union Commission receives the 15th instrument of ratification. This procedural step signifies a collective effort by the African nations to fortify their digital landscapes against emerging cyber threats.

Gaps in Ratification: Notable Absences

Despite the convention’s evident advantages, a concerning statistic emerges—only 15 out of the 55 African countries have ratified the Malabo Convention to date. Notably absent from the list are some of the continent’s leaders in cybersecurity, including Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, and Ethiopia. The reasons behind this selective ratification, especially by countries with robust cybersecurity capabilities, remain unclear, prompting questions about the factors influencing this decision.

Challenges and Opportunities

The slow pace of ratification raises important questions about the challenges hindering a unified commitment to the Malabo Convention. Understanding the precise reasons behind this delay is complex, but it emphasizes the ongoing need for awareness and engagement in cybersecurity throughout Africa. The convention, with its emphasis on protecting personal data and combating cybercrime, presents an opportunity for collaborative efforts in securing businesses and governments across the continent.

Conclusion

The Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity in Africa reflects a collective effort to address the evolving challenges posed by the digital landscape. While progress is evident with the recent ratification by Mauritania, the journey ahead involves fostering awareness, engaging nations, and understanding the nuanced factors influencing the decision-making process. As Africa navigates the complexities of the digital age, the Malabo Convention stands as a symbol of unity in safeguarding the digital future of the continent.

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.

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