For Africa to compete favourably with other continents in the 21st century, it requires large data sets as core asset in the continents economy to foster new industries, processes and products and creating significant competitive advantages.
At the ongoing Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, the big question has come-up and it is tingling into everyone’s mind.
“Where is the African Data?” Nic Rudnick the Liquid Telecom Chief Executive officer asked fellow delegates. “It’s being exported and stored outside Africa. We need to keep the Data generated in Africa within Africa.”
A panel discussing the role of digital economy in fast tracking Pan African integration pointed out that a key component of development is for Africa’s Data to be brought back.
This panel moderated by Lerato Mbele a journalist includes; Elsie Kanza, Chairman, Nic Rudnick CEO Liquidtelecom, Fatouma Ba, CEO Janngo.africa, Lacina Kone, DG Smart Africa, Pierre Guislain, Vice President AfDB Group.
Panelists are also looking into continental integration, the rise of borderless digital markets in Africa required to nurture digital markets.
In her submission, CEO of Janngo wonders why Africa has population and mobile penetration similar to that of India, yet India gets 17 times the VC investment that Africa does.
The pannelists also discussed the interesting bit of Data protection and Information Security.
As Africa is pushing for wider internet connectivity, it should be noted that this opens up the continent to all kinds of threats, many of which businesses and private individuals are ill-equipped to deal with.
An insight by UN economic commission for Africa on tackling challenges of cyber security on the continent shows that cyber security experts estimate that 80% of personal computers on the African continent are infected with viruses and other malicious software.
According to Global Fraud Report an annual publication that ranks regions according to the number of incidents of cybercrime, data needs high levels of protection especially data breaches to prevent any negative implications in economies.
For example the report says sub-Saharan Africa has the third highest exposure to incidents of cyber fraud of any region in the world.
It is suggested that African countries need to urgently scale up efforts to combat cybercrimes through a multi-stakeholder approach involving government, industry and civil society organizations.