University of Cape Town: UCT co-hosting international cybersecurity competition

The Strategy Challenge will take place on 12 and 13 October and will be fully virtual. The Atlantic Council is a non-partisan American think tank in the field of international affairs. ISACA, the international IT governance professional association, will serve as the anchor sponsor for this inaugural event.

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, founded in the United States in 2012, aims to identify and foster the next generation of leaders to face the cybersecurity challenges of the future. It provides university students from varied academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of cyber strategy and policy challenges.

Since 2012, the competition has expanded to eight different sites around the globe with South Africa as its most recent location.



“The aim of the challenge – to identify and foster the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity – aligns well with our goals for ICT-enabled development in Africa.”

“The aim of the challenge – to identify and foster the next generation of leaders in cybersecurity – aligns well with our goals for ICT-enabled development in Africa,” noted Professor Irwin Brown, the head of the Department of Information Systems at UCT.

“The Atlantic Council is delighted to expand the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge to the African continent,” said council president and CEO, Frederick Kempe.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the Cyber 9/12 competition programme, the Cyber Statecraft Initiative, and the Atlantic Council as a whole. We’re honoured to partner with the University of Cape Town and C3SA to support cyber capacity building efforts and the development of next generation cyber talent in South Africa.”

Next generation expertise

To train and develop the next generation of cybersecurity leaders, Cyber 9/12 competitors will assume the role of advisors to the South African government navigating a significant cyber incident impacting the region.

Student competitors will gain an invaluable and realistic learning experience on the technical, policy and strategy aspects of cybersecurity and connect with senior cybersecurity leaders. Africa is slated to be the home of a quarter of the global workforce by 2040, highlighting the need for the development of local and multidisciplinary cyber talent.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition has been fully virtual, reaching more students than ever before and facilitating more connections between students and prospective employers across states, countries and continents.

“We are delighted to join forces with the Atlantic Council to support the next generation of cyber policy experts in South Africa. It’s an exciting opportunity for students enrolled in South African universities to engage with cybersecurity experts,” said Dr Enrico Calandro, the co-director of C3SA and a research associate at Research ICT Africa.

“As a capacity building programme at C3SA, we are working across several fronts to build specialised skills and knowledge on cybersecurity from both a technical and policy perspective,” said Professor Wallace Chigona, the co-director at C3SA and a professor of Information Systems at the UCT.

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