Whilst we hear a great deal about cyber security in the UK, Israel and USA, we tend to hear less about how countries in the developing world are faring. Economies and resources might differ between the developed and developing world, but when it comes to the cyber threat, we are all equal, we are all vulnerable.
Recently I spoke with Kenya-based, Elias Okwara, public policy and regulatory compliance professional who gave me an insight into cyber security in Kenya.
There’s no doubt that Africa has the cyber talent with events like Kenya Hackathon which attracts the brightest tech enthusiasts across the region. Yet, according to Elias, this talent is not being developed or nurtured and the region is failing to produce enough cyber security specialists to secure its digital space.
“We haven't figured out a structured way of how to tap into this talent,” Elias states.
Furthermore, cyber security experts are underpaid in Kenya as the topic is viewed as another IT issue which can be addressed within IT departments. This doesn't necessarily give any particular incentive to compensate workers better.
The good news is there is the talent and enthusiasm among young people. “Now the question is how do we structure this capacity? How do we leverage it for the government and for the private sector? What are we doing at high school level?” Elias asks.
To help with improving Africa’s structure, Elias stresses that lessons can be learnt from economies who have been dealing with cyber issues for a long time. He’d like to see these countries work with African nations to help them nurture their cyber talent in a structured way. “There is no problem in working with the USA, Israel, and the UK. Why not borrow some of the lessons that they've encountered?” he suggests.
Elias remains optimistic about the future: “I do think there is the potential for innovation among these young people and the talent that they have.”
We’ll be looking at cyber security from other nations in the developing world over the next few months....watch this space!