Cyber Security Commitment: Nigeria Ranks 4th in Africa, 46Th Globally

Mr Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary-General, ITU
Mr Houlin Zhao,  Secretary-General, ITU

ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT), has published the Global Cybersecurity Index 2017 (GCI-2017), which measures the commitment of ITU’s 193 Member States to cybersecurity and is the second in this index series.

According to the Report, Nigeria ranked 4th in the African Region and 46th globally with 0.569 marks. The first three positions in Africa, where occupied by Mauritius (0.830), Rwanda (0.602) and Kenya (0.574), respectively.

Member States were classified into three categories by their GCI score viz.

  • Initiating stage which refers to the 96 countries (i.e., GCI score less than the 50th percentile) that have started to make commitments in cybersecurity.
  • Maturing stage, which refers to the 77 countries (i.e., GCI score between the 50th and 89th percentile) that have developed complex commitments, and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives.
  • Leading stage, which refers to the 21 countries (i.e., GCI score in the 90th percentile) that demonstrate high commitment in all five pillars of the index.

Nigeria was classified under the maturing stage, that is, those countries that have developed complex commitments and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives.

The GCI-2017 measures countries’ commitment to cybersecurity and helps them to identify areas for improvement. Through the information collected, it aims to illustrate the practices in use so that ITU Member States can identify gaps and implement selected activities suitable to their national environment – with the added benefits of helping to harmonize practices and fostering a global culture of cybersecurity.

The 2017 publication of the GCI continues to show the commitment to cybersecurity of countries around the world. The overall picture shows improvement and strengthening of all five elements of the cybersecurity agenda in various countries in all regions. However, there is space for further improvement in cooperation at all levels, capacity building and organizational measures. As well, the gap in the level of cybersecurity engagement between different regions is still present and visible. The level of development of the different pillars varies from country to country in the regions, and while commitment in Europe remains very high in the legal and technical fields in particular, the challenging situation in the Africa and Americas regions shows the need for continued engagement and support.

“At ITU, we are committed to making the Internet more secure, safer and trustworthy, for the benefit of all,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General. “While the impact generated by cyber-attacks, such as those carried out as recently as 27 June 2017, may not be eliminated completely, prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the risks posed by cyber-related threats can and should always be put in place. The GCI reaffirms ITU’s commitment to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs.”

In addition to showing the overall cybersecurity commitment of ITU’s 193 Member States, the index also shows the improvement and strengthening of all GCI indicators, which are defined by the five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda as: legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and international cooperation.

All of the six ITU regions are represented in the top ten commitment level in the GCI. There are three from Asia and the Pacific, two each from Europe and the Americas, and one from Africa, the Arab States, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. This suggests that being highly committed is not strictly tied to geographic location.

The GCI-2017 also shows that there is space for further improvement in cooperation at all levels, capacity building and organizational measures.

“As the global community rapidly embraces ICTs as key enabler for social and economic development, it is vital that cybersecurity is made an integral and indivisible part of the digital transformation,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “We continue to encourage governments to consider national policies that take into account cybersecurity so that everyone can reap the benefits of the online world.”

The first edition of the Global Cybersecurity Index was launched in 2014.

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