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AU, China unite to tackle cybercrime

AU, China unite to tackle cybercrime.

The African Union (AU) has announced its intention work with China to define a collaboration framework on cyberspace.

AU Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha disclosed the plan when he met a Chinese delegation led by the Deputy Minister of China Cyberspace Administration, Wang Xiujun.

Mwencha said the increase in cybercrime in Africa, as the continent migrates to broadband internet, urgently requires preventive measures.

"H.E. Ms. Wang Xiujun, and I discussed how we can build confidence, security and safety in Cyberspace," his tweet says. "ICT is a powerful tool in Africa's transformation in fields of health, education, inclusive growth & gender equality. ICT is a determinant factor for knowledge to be properly distributed to a keen society with a quest to learn more."

Xiujun said her government will encourage Chinese internet investors to launch multi-dimensional cooperation with African countries in internet development, management and utilisation.

Cyber security has been a recurring topic of discussion in Africa for several years.

A 2014 UNECA paper 'Tackling the challenges of cybersecurity in Africa' says cybercriminals consider Africa to be "very prone to cyber-related threats due to the high number of domains coupled with very weak network and information security."

UNECA highlights main cyber security challenges before Africa, including a lack of technical know-how, inability to develop the necessary legal frameworks to fight cybercrime, the broadness of cyber security, and limited levels of awareness of ICT-related security issues.

Similar issues are likely to be discussed at next month's Africa Expert Convention on Cyber Security in Kenya .

The African Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection - the continent's supposed guidebook on the menace - was eventually adopted in July 2014 by the AU community since its draft in 2011. However, not much has been felt of its impact.

According to a consultant with the Institute for Security Studies and former Senior Counsel to the US Senate on cybersecurity policy, Eric Tamarkin, no African country has yet ratified it as at last year.

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