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Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre (ACRC) for Financial Inclusion

Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre
Context

Digital transactions frequently take place over mobile phones in Africa, many of which are insecure and vulnerable to cybercrime which, according to Quartz Africa, in 2017, cost African countries USD 3.5 billion. In addition, the financial service providers’ infrastructure suffers from cyber-attacks, with additional financial losses, stolen data or interruption of operations. This project aims to improve the cyber resilience of the financial sector in Africa to protect customers’ assets and data, increase trust in digital financial services across the continent and contribute to greater financial inclusion.

This project adopts a three-pronged approach: creation of an affordable shared platform to monitor cyber-attacks against financial service providers, sharing of information and best practices and response to incidents; rollout of individualised advisory services to enable organisations to bolster their cybersecurity; and enhancement of cybersecurity talent development to help meet African’s demand for expertise.

ACRC will be headquartered in Dakar, Senegal with sub-regional resource centres in West and East Africa.

Objectives

For regulators and supervisory organisations such as governments, ministries and national consumer protection authorities

  • Develop a higher level of awareness and skills around cybersecurity.
  • Ensure financial stability and resilience at the ecosystem level.
  • Develop policy and regulation frameworks which are based on understanding and anticipation of current trends and threats and propose relevant measures to protect customers, as well as the whole ecosystem, against cyber risks.

For financial service providers

  • Improve effectiveness and efficiency in managing cyber risks.
  • Improve awareness of cyber risks and information sharing.
  • Prevent losses and data breaches.
  • Protect brand reputation, increase employee awareness and improve compliance to cyber regulations.
  • Extend access to a larger number of qualified skills, reduce operational costs and increase customer base by secure development of digital financial services (DFS).

For partner universities and online training platforms

  • Develop top-level cybersecurity courses and research laboratories to fill the skills gap.

For financial services end-users

  • Improve their awareness of cyber risks.
  • Avoid fraud and financial losses and improve personal data protection.
Outcomes

This project aims to empower financial service providers and make them more resilient against cybercrime, developing a pool of skilled specialists for the future who will use their expertise in the fight against cybercrime. The regional and sub regional infrastructure contributes to regional and local capacity building and enables strategies to improve consumer protection at a wider scale and a reduced cost.

Impact
  • Financial inclusion is increased due to financial stability and resilience to cyber risks for the total addressable market of 250 million vulnerable customers across Africa and about 3000 financial institutions.
  • Gender intentional strategy with aim of improved cybersecurity for approximately 25 million women in 5 years.
  • DFS customers usage increased due to a stronger and more trusting relationship with FSPs with improved customer experience.
  • In addition, it will contribute to establishing universities and online training platforms and content, drawing new students, creating new revenue workstreams and fundraising opportunities for research and scholarships, and ultimately the creation of cybersecurity start-ups and employment opportunities.

ADFI Focus Areas

Digital Products and Innovation

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