07 Dec 2021

Cybercrime / Constructing crime: risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities in Africa’s communications infrastructure

As the development of communications infrastructure accelerates, good governance and security are often sacrificed in the interest of a speedy rollout.

While Africa’s growing communications infrastructure and increasing internet penetration offer significant developmental benefits, they offer parallel opportunities to organised crime, which exploit the continent’s enhanced connectivity. These opportunities are set to grow with nascent research already indicating that the continent is an increasingly important source of both cyber-dependent and cyber-enabled crime. It is a crucial and already tardy moment to take stock of how these vulnerabilities manifest, and how they can best be addressed. If they remain ignored and unmitigated, organised crime will increasingly undermine progress and development, compromising the achievement of the very goals that enhanced infrastructure seeks to achieve. 

About the authors

Edward Wanyonyi is a trainer, speaker and researcher specialising in strategic communications of Africa’s security and development architecture. He has led communications, media engagement and knowledge management assignments at Tetra Tech International Development, Oxfam Africa Union Liaison Office, BBC World Service East Africa Bureau and BBC Media Action Kenya office. He is currently a managing consultant for Camerafrica Consultants Limited, a strategic communications agency in Kenya.

Lucia Bird is a senior analyst at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, and a practising lawyer. Previously she worked as legal and policy adviser to the Planning and Development Department of the Punjab Government, Pakistan, and the Ministry of Finance, Ghana working on governance, institutional reform and strengthening policy processes, contracting and legislative practices.

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