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Cybersecurity lacking in Africa, official says

By Brenda Zulu, IDG News Service
August 25, 2008 03:05 PM ET

IDG News Service - Africa will not realize the benefits of IT without improvements in cybersecurity, the secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) said today.

Speaking at the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU's) regional Cybersecurity Forum being held here this week, Amos Marawa said that IT infrastructure must be properly secured before any e-government programs are put into place, and he called for better training for members of the judiciary and law enforcement in computer forensics. He also called for regional cooperation on both legal and technical matters relating to cybersecurity.

The aim of the forum is to identify the main challenges faced by countries in the region in developing frameworks for cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection and to share information on best practices, according to Marcelino Tayob, head of the ITU area office for Southern Africa.

"The more we move into the information era, the more we depend on computers and communications networks that are more and more interconnected to each other, creating risk that due to its global nature has to be managed both at the national and international level," Tayob said.

In Zambia, the Computer Misuse Bill, with its 25-year jail term for offenders, is strongly supported by companies in the financial sector as a tool to fight rampant electronic fraud, said Garry Mukelabai, IS manager of the Communications Authority of Zambia.

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