• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Why the Internet blackout is a suspicious occurrence

Why the Internet blackout is a suspicious occurrence

There is every reason to be concerned about last week’s internet outage, which mainly affected some of Africa’s major trading blocs: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire.

The internet blackout is suspicious; it’s an attack on democracy, trade, and the continent’s independence.

The important question we should be asking is: Why should major trading blocs in Africa be hit by this cyber storm, especially at a time when some of these countries are seriously preparing for general elections?

The excuse for an undersea cable disruption should not be taken lightly. There is more to it from a geo-cyberpolitical perspective. This needs to be explored to its logical conclusion.

Read also: Here are 13 countries affected by internet outage and its severity 

Africa may experience a more complex internet and cyber warfare if the techno-revolutionary narrative remains the same. What is more worrying is the level of vulnerability it brings to a continent with over half a billion people online. We need to wake up to the fact that the era of ICT and digital transformation has ushered in a new community with its own complexities and that we need to manage this paradigm shift with the utmost care to stay afloat in global affairs.

How do you expect to run businesses and manage the affairs of the continent under such a controlled system?

It is intriguing to note that at this stage of global competitive complexities, any continent or country that does not have absolute control over its cyber and internet architecture is exposed to serious security threats with devastating consequences. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Internet of the United States of America or that of Russia and China had been under the control of such cyberspace architecture? No way! They will not make such an infantry mistake.

The technology war between China and the US should serve as a way for us as a continent to reorient our investment policies towards home-grown innovations in information and communication technologies.

Elion Must’s internet revolution has an antidote to some of these internet blackouts, and serious measures must be taken as a matter of business and political risk management to procure and deploy some of these gadgets as a short-term strategic imperative to protect the integrity of the continent’s upcoming challenging elections. We need to take deliberate steps to refocus our efforts for the future.

The security threat is unprecedented. Every sector of our society, from the private to the public sector, has been immeasurably affected. Corporate risk managers, civil society organisations, and policymakers must step up their game to avert the devastating impact this disaster has had on business and social life.

In the governance arena, decision-making that relies on the transfer and processing of data has also been affected. National security is at risk. And if we are to put risk management at the heart of our country, and indeed Africa as a whole, then robust internet and enterprise security and infrastructure must be built, whatever the cost. Our independence will be meaningless if our cybersecurity is controlled by others. This affects not only public and private business but also our dignity and privacy as a people.

The State of Cybersecurity Resilience (2023) report highlights the growing need to protect and secure digital assets and critical information. In light of this, robust measures must be put in place to safeguard our future in the fog of ever-increasing cyberterrorism.

As Ghana prepares for a historic election in less than a year, this issue must be given top priority. Prioritising watertight cybersecurity resilience is a must to protect the sovereign will of the people and deepen our democratic arms.

Innovation must be prioritised along with transparency to track free and fair elections, especially at a time when widespread unstable power supply (electricity) is imminent.

As part of risk assessment and mitigation measures, I will urge state institutions as well as private bodies, especially in the financial and security sectors, to critically audit corporate and private accounts to speed up or cure possible hacking into financial security, data security, and information security across the board.

Let’s also not forget that the success of all continental projects and programmes, including the African Continental Free Trade Area, can only be achieved and sustained if proactive cyber security measures, policies, and strategic investments are made at the governmental, regional, and continental levels to remain competitive and resilient on the global front.

The African Development Bank, with such transformational leadership at the forefront of Africa’s sustainable development, should champion and reverse this leadership failure on the continent.