University of Cape Town: C3SA to launch the first SADC study on cybersecurity maturity

The Cybersecurity Capacity Centre for Southern Africa (C3SA) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) will launch a regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) study on cybersecurity maturity. The study will be launched virtually with C3SA’s constellation partners including the Global Cybersecurity Capacity Centre from the University of Oxford, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and institutional partner, the International Telecommunications Union.

More about the cybersecurity maturity study in SADC

The regional study assesses the level of preparedness of SADC countries to respond to emerging cyber threats, and their level of resilience to a growing number of digitally mediated risks.

The study reveals that in terms of cybersecurity policy and strategy, the gap between SADC and the rest of the globe remains wide. The region has few comprehensive and overarching national cybersecurity strategies, incident response processes, and critical infrastructure protection frameworks. In addition, risk awareness among people in the region remains low, and initiatives to enhance awareness are disjointed.

“Developing comprehensive national cybersecurity strategies should become a priority for all SADC countries.”

Dr Enrico Calandro from Research ICT Africa and the co-director of C3SA, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in early 2020, demonstrated not only how vital digital infrastructures are, but also how vulnerable our societies are to new and developing cyber threats. Considering the high vulnerability of SADC countries for cyber threats, developing comprehensive national cybersecurity strategies should become a priority for all SADC countries.”

Having national strategies won’t be enough to strengthen cyber resilience, Dr Calandro said. Countries will need to work hard towards implementation. In support of that, this study can guide the region to build the necessary capacity, skills and competence across all dimensions of cyber maturity.

Professor Wallace Chigona, the co-director at C3SA, added: “As our economies and societies become more reliant on digital connectivity, protecting the essential infrastructures and information infrastructures that underpin our business, educational, and social activities should become a top issue for policymakers in our region. Therefore, cybersecurity should be featured to the top of all governments’ political priorities, particularly in a vulnerable region such as SADC.”

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