Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Helios eyes Millicom towers

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African towerco Helios Towers Africa (HTA) is thought to be holding discussions to acquire Millicom’s towers portfolio in Chad, TMT Finance understands. Millicom’s Chad operations, which is Chad’s largest mobile operator, has a portfolio totalling 800 towers, which could be valued at up to US$80m, sources said.

Millicom has an existing relationship with HTA, having divested towers in other countries to HTA and its various regional subsidiaries, in Ghana, Tanzania and DRC. HTA is thought to have first right of refusal for other Millicom tower assets, sources commented.

Millicom is likely to be self-advising on the transaction. It’s not clear if HTA has mandated a financial adviser, although the towerco hired Standard Chartered for its prospective acquisition of towers belonging to Bharti Airtel across Africa, TMT Finance previously reported.
Source: TMT Finance

Tigo to give free Facebook access in East Africa

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TIGO Tanzania has announced a partnership with Facebook in which all its customers in the country will get free access to Facebook services in English and a new Kiswahili version through their mobile handsets. It is the first time that Facebook will be free on any mobile network in East Africa, according to Tigo General Manager Diego Gutierrez.

Speaking at the launch of the partnership in Dar es Salaam, Gutierrez said: “What this partnership means is that Tigo customers can, for the first time, access Facebook through their handsets without incurring any data charges and connect with the social media network’s two millions of users in Tanzania and its 1.2 billion users worldwide.

“It is the first time any major social media company has made a version in Kiswahili the national language spoken by Tanzanians and majority of the people in East, Central and Southern African region.

“Facebook has been a fantastic driver of data on mobile networks. With this unique partnership, we are making Tigo stand out from the crowd and giving many customers their first taste of the internet and social media, including in Kiswahili. That’s what creating the digital lifestyle is all about, and it reinforces our strategy to encourage more Tigo customers to use data as part of their daily communications activity,” Gutierrez said.

The strategic partnership is part of Facebook’s recent Internet.org initiative launched by the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

“The new service will open new frontiers to Tanzanians and to other Kiswahili speakers by offering them new business, educational and other socio-economic opportunities across the world,” Gutierrez said.

Apart from the five East African Community member states, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, Kiswahili is also spoken in parts of Malawi, Somali, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.

With this launch Tanzania, a country recognised for being the cradle of Kiswahili language, becomes the first in the region to showcase this language globally.

This is the second time that Facebook and Millicom have partnered following the joint launch of free mobile access to Facebook with Tigo Paraguay in December 2013 and the service’s launch in the historical native Guarani language there.

Nicola D’ Elia, Facebook Director for International Growth and Partnerships, commented: “We’re excited to be working with Tigo again to give more people in Tanzania the ability to share and connect free of data charges across Facebook apps and mobile website, and now in the traditional language of Kiswahili.”

Axell joins Aeroflex to form Cobham Wireless division

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Axell Wireless, the worldwide provider of indoor wireless cellular and public safety solutions, has today announced that its integration into Cobham will be fully completed by July 2015. This follows the acquisition of the company by Cobham in May 2013.

Axell Wireless, together with test and measurement company Aeroflex – acquired by Cobham in September last year- will form a new business unit, Cobham Wireless. The Cobham Wireless business unit, which will be led by Senior Vice President Ian Langley, will be a part of Cobham’s

Communications and Connectivity sector. The completion of the Axellintegration enables the former Axell business to take advantage of the combined capabilities in the Cobham portfolio.
Axell’s heritage is in designing and developing DAS coverage solutions for both cellular and public safety uses, in environments where providing communications infrastructure through traditional channels is challenging.

Since its acquisition by Cobham, Axell has launched its dynamic wireless capacity management solution *id*DAS and has continued to deploysystems around the world, including Mandela Square in South Africa, World Trade Center One in the US and the World Cup stadia in Brazil. Axell will now look to increase its reach further into global markets, including building on its commercial and public safety expertise across North America, EMEA and APAC.
Senior Vice President, Cobham Communications and Connectivity,Fred Cahillsaid: “In the months since the acquisition we have concentrated on integrating the portfolios and building on Axell’s existing credentials in the public safety and cellular industries. Going forward, we will use this expertise to enhance our offering to existing Cobham customers in vertical industries, and increase the range available to Axell’s current customers.”

Cobham Wireless SVP Ian Langley continued, “Operators are increasingly concerned with the reach of their networks, especially indoors, and are looking at ways to increase overall QoE and reduce churn. With the launch of *id*DAS last year, we have demonstrated its credentials and commitment to help operators achieve that aim. The continued investment in the business by Cobham will enable the team at Cobham Wireless to develop increasingly innovative solutions, putting us in an excellent position to continue to lead the DAS innovation market.”

Global Economy Desperately Needs Better Steering on Gender Balance

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On Girls in ICT Day 2015 Sophia Bekele tells girls to be ICT empowered as doing so is both nerdy and trendy, while advising employers to adopt gender-neutral hiring policies

Sophia Bekele, Founder and Executive Director at DotConnectAfrica

Sophia Bekele, Founder and Executive Director at DotConnectAfrica

I WANT to take this moment to thank the ITU and organisers of this empowering and important event for the future of the girls of Africa and the world.

I am very happy to be here and say few words on the subject I am passionate about, ICT and women or ICT for women either way. I nearly bring it up in every global forum I attend.

I am therefore very delighted to see ITU that has taken the lead as a global Inter-governmental organization to create a programme that encourages and celebrates women/girls involved in ICT. I have to say my organization DotConnectAfrica was inspired by these same efforts of ITU few years back when we launched a programme for women and youth in our organization. Thank you ITU for your leadership in this area amongst many others.

I want to take the opportunity to remind ITU also, that DCA is an active contributor/commentator to your global programs pertaining to ICT and Internet issues, and here we are, also to show support for your programme, women in ICT. Such enlightened and strong policy leadership is important at a time when the global economy desperately needs better steering on gender balance.

More women have added to the statistics now, more so than a decade ago. Myself, I started my professional career in a highly male dominated field called IT Audit- Auditing computer systems. Very nerdy I must say. Now I see many women being part of it. Even in private business, not many Women were/are engaged in ICT related activities.

Allow me to mention that the very pan African organisation that we are holding this meeting in – now the African Union – previously the Organisation of the African Unity, its very first and largest ICT infrastructure to connect six of its original buildings with an internet and intranet infrastructure, was built and commissioned by a woman, after winning an international competitive tender. Such contracts for women were unheard of at the time and one can imagine the challenge that women went through. Therefore, not to congratulate myself – that woman was me – and I will only say Halleluiah, we have added to the statistics and our footprints remain.

Now, young women in this room, you can see ladies like us have paved the way for you. Today, it is much easier than yesterday to get involved, you just take the mantel and run with it, and add to more of the statistics. There is vast opportunity out there and waiting for your involvement. From securing employment to being a pioneer in the next new thing, like our lady Ethiopian Champions here Bethelhem Tilahun of SoleRebels in ecommerce web or Dr. Eleni in an extraordinary work using automation to create the first commodities exchange in Ethiopia.

I understand women tend to see technology as that of a man’s domain, and so do men by the way, and therein lies the glass ceiling, where we are isolated. Not any longer! Particularly with the integration of the internet. The ICT tools used to create wealth and opportunities can no longer be successful without integration with the internet itself.

I recently read that internet is a “she.” The internet is being utilized more by women, where women are increasing their rights, representation, and participation. The social media we frequently use, today, they are more used by women than men. In this case, we have already added to the statistics. How many in this room are on Social Media?

Another point I want to make is that the internet has bridged the digital divide more than any other technology tool ever developed. Instead of you going to find knowledge, it has brought it right on your desktop. e.g. is online – universities, e-commerce, e-tourism, e-governance and other online enabled resources.

An entry point for girls also is the use of your own smart devices, like your mobile phones and applications built on it. Being an expert user is a starting point for Girls and women, less being a developer of apps. Second is the active use of social media tools and ways to use them to create value for yourself or the organisations you work for, for purposes of branding, marketing and global communications. The ICT sector clearly underpins this and many other developments in the future.

Two recent statistics on education and development you must know and that is also close to home for you living in Ethiopia and sub-Saharan Africa. Various credible international reports point out that Addis Ababa is one the fastest emerging cities now in the ranks of Sao Paulo, Kuala Lumpur, Rio de Janeiro with tech hubs like iceAddis and according to UNESCO’s Education Report, Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) ranks the highest globally in government expenditure on education, at 18.7 per cent.

Therefore, the message I leave to you, young women out there is that you need to educate yourself with the tools of the future – ICT and internet to contribute to this fast, evolving and competitive, global landscape. Getting educated in ICT is no longer nerdy, it is trendy.

The message I leave for those organisations that are building workforce is to please create a policy of diversity to hire, train, and develop girls and women in ICT, for not doing so, means half of the global population is ignored and organisations missing in the value of the creativity and talent this gender balance brings.

The message I leave for policy makers in this room is to follow what ITU has done. Mainstream gender involvement and advocacy in your policy development and implementation.

IHS secures $490 million in funding

Africa’s largest independent telecommunications infrastructure company IHS Holding has announced that they have managed to secure $490 million of equity and debt in its latest financing round.

“This is strong validation of the growing strength of the IHS platform throughout its 12-year track record in Africa. Solid support from existing investors was combined with strong participation from Goldman Sachs, the IFC Global Infrastructure Fund and African Infrastructure Investment Managers,” the company said in a statement.

At the conclusion of the funding round, the total amount of capital raised by IHS to more than $1.5 billion over the last 12 months.

“This important milestone confirms the broadening investor interest in the African telecommunications infrastructure space generally, and in IHS, in particular. We are excited to welcome our new investors to the IHS family and look forward to expanding support to our customers and partners throughout the continent.

This funding will allow us to continue investing in technology, coverage and capacity new build sites, and the growing human resource component that will help IHS continue providing a quality service and product to an expanding customer base in Africa,” said Issam Darwish, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IHS.

The company plans to use the funds for acquisitions, help its customers expand coverage and capacity by building new towers and continue investing in alternative energy and green solutions that have a positive impact on communities throughout Africa.

Source: BiztechAfrica

MVNOs and 3G to bolster Cameroon’s telco sector

CAMEROON’S telecom landscape is becoming more competitive thanks to the entry of a new MVNO and the awarding of the first 3G licence in the country, according to a new report from Pyramid Research. “The telecom market in Cameroon was a duopoly of mobile services for many years, but recent activities have changed this configuration,” said Ousmane Yatera, analyst at Pyramid Research.

In July 2012, Samuel Eto’o, the Cameroonian star footballer, launched a new MVNO called Set Mobile. Pyramid Research estimated that the company had 200,000 customers in 2012, although its tariffs were not particularly competitive compared with its competitors.

Another operator, Viettel, is due to launch this year, and is expected to disrupt the market due to its distinctive advantage of being the first to offer 3G in Cameroon. Moreover, the company plans to cover 81 per cent of its network prior to the launch. Pyramid Research predicts Viettel will reach 9.8 per cent share by 2018, Yatera said.

Revenue in the Cameroonian telecom market will grow over the forecast period to a total of $1.8bn by 2018, driven in part by increased mobile data consumption. The entry of the new MVNO in 2012 and the award of a third MNO licence to Viettel will shake up the landscape, although the deployment of undersea cables could help Orange and MTN reduce Viettel’s impact by improving the quality of their service and their mobile broadband offerings. On the fibre optic backbone side, there are still 4,000km to be built as part of the national broadband network plan.

“We expect mobile voice service to generate 71 per cent of total telecom revenue in Cameroon in 2018. The intensified competition from the new MVNO Set Mobile will contribute to mobile voice revenue, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of seven per cent over the forecast period,” said Yatera. However, with the recent 3G licence awarded to Viettel, data services will also be an increasingly important source of revenue.

Many Cameroonians, who have been waiting for 3G services for a long time, will likely embrace mobile data. With demand for data on the rise, we anticipate that mobile data revenue will grow at a CAGR of 26 per cent through the end of the forecast period, faster than voice, to reach $253 million by 2018. Mobile broadband adoption will be the primary driver. Revenue in the fixed segment is projected to reach $282 million by 2018.

Growth will be mainly due to the expansion of existing WiMAX networks and the deployment of a 10,000km fibre optic backbone cable to be completed by 2015. Moreover, the landings and technical launches of the WACS in May 2012 and the expected ACE and Main One undersea cables should reduce overall telecom tariffs, benefiting the population given that the nominal GDP per capita in 2012 was estimated to be just $1,267.

Piggyback operators named for brands or even celebrities, such as Eto’o, could be big business in Africa. MVNOs are mobile brands that piggyback off existing networks, buying wholesale from one or more mobile operators.

In SET Mobile’s case, it is buying its services from Orange Cameroon and is not, as it seemed to advertise at its launch, Cameroon’s third mobile operator.

Eto’o’s brand targets his younger fans. “Our company will provide a unique quality of service and will make the difference by low prices and a range of handsets affordable to everyone,” said Charles Gueret, who heads the new operator, via Twitter.

Orange says it could lose customers to the new brand. “There will be competition and there will be a risk of cannibalisation,” said Claire Paponneau, senior vice president for the EMEA zone for Orange.

Eto’o’s brand is Africa’s fifth MVNO network, according to analyst Informa Telecoms.

Others include Kirène drinks, which launched a mobile brand in Senegal in 2009 using the Orange network, and Virgin Mobile in South Africa, operating as an MVNO since 2006 in partnership with Cell C.

Internet Freedom in Africa under threat

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The Internet has been described as an undisputed force for economic growth and social change – more so in developing countries, with the World Bank reporting that a 10 per cent increase in broadband correlates to a 1.38 per cent increase in GDP growth. If this were the case, why do the authorities in Africa look upon the Internet with suspicion? Is it as subversive as the authorities make it out to be with attempts being made in some countries for the Internet to be fettered? Olubayo Abiodun, Clifford Agugoesi and Chimezie Ndubisi look at this rather disturbing trend.

FROM every indication, the Internet is clearly under siege globally. No continent is spared. High-tech censorship is on the rise in East Africa. Internet freedom in South Africa is under attack amid growing Internet censorship throughout the continent.

Two advocacy groups, the International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), have taken up the challenge of highlighting the problems on the continent, planning to co-host online discussions on online safety matters in Africa.

Both organisations noted: “Africa’s Internet usage continues to grow steadily, with an estimated 16 per cent of the population on the continent using the Internet for business and entertainment. The increased availability of affordable marine fibre optic bandwidth, a rise in private sector investments, the popularity of social media and innovative applications, and increased use of the mobile phone to access the Internet, are all enabling more people in Africa to get online. In turn, there are numerous purposes to which users in Africa are putting the Internet‐from mobile banking, to connecting with fellow citizens and with leaders, tracking corruption and poor service delivery, innovating for social good, and just about everything else.”

CIPESA and PIN added: “The increasing usage of the Internet, however, has in some countries attracted the attention of authorities, who are eager to provide caveats on the openness of the Internet and the range of freedoms which citizens and citizens’ organisations enjoy online. The popularity of social media marketing, the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables saga and the Arab Spring uprisings have led many governments including those in Africa to recognise the power of online media. In a number of African countries, there are increasing legal and extra-legal curbs on Internet rights, in what portends tougher times ahead for cyber security.”

The outcomes of the online discussions will feed into a report that will be presented at the first African Internet Freedom Forum to be held in 2014. Furthermore, it will inform the work of CIPESA, PIN and their partners that are working in the area of online freedoms.

President, CIPESA, Luis Moreno Cardenas

President, CIPESA, Luis Moreno Cardenas

Conscious of these setbacks on freedom on the net, the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology floated a campaign to stop the ratification of the African Union Convention on cyber security by opening a petition. Justifying his organisation’s standpoint in an article titled Africans online freedom under threat, Washington Odipo wrote: “There are some people who are very much interested in curtailing online freedom for Africans to access information. Not only that, these guys are interested to make sure that you and I will no longer freely air our views on issues affecting us. To achieve their motive of controlling the type of information available for Africans online, they have drafted a convention for the establishment of a credible legal framework for cyber security in Africa.

“The summary of the draft reads, ‘The Draft Convention…seeks to harmonise African cyber legislations on electronic commerce organisation, personal data protection, cyber security promotion and cyber crime control.’ Additionally the convention wants to define ‘the security rules essential to establishing a credible digital space in response to the major security related obstacles to the development of digital transactions in Africa.’

Further, the convention seeks to lay ‘the foundation for an African Union-wide cyber ethics and enunciates fundamental principles in the key areas of cyber security.’ It also defines the basis for electronic commerce, puts in place a mechanism for combating intrusions into private life likely to be generated by the gathering, processing, transmission, storage and use of personal data and sets broad guidelines for incrimination and repression of cybercrime.

“On the surface the draft convention looks very well-intended, but wait until you read some articles in the convention. As espoused by Dennis Mbuvi on his blog post, ‘African countries propose stringent rules governing ecommerce and data’, we can say that what the convention really wants to achieve is to:

“Violate the right to privacy – The convention uses contentious concepts such as state security versus public interest. We all know state security can take many interpretations in African context case in point would be the state considering bloggers as a threat to state security – this is but a one case in point. Look at Article II 8-9 of the AUCC.

Violate some aspects of the right to freedom of expression – Article III – 55 reads, “gather & register real time data in respect to content of specific communication”

Cause an additional unjustified burden to the (1) individual & (2) corporations – This is in terms of compliance which would be done at the consumer & corporations expenses.
Give absolute powers to Judges on basis of unjust civil liberties curtailment – If you look at Article 55 the phrasing itself looks at an investigating judge which could be applicable to Franco-phone countries where the judge is active in the investigative phase of a case.

From the blog post by Dennis you will also learn that the convention may criminalise the ‘use of nicknames, pen names and anonymous blogging, especially when exposing sensitive matters’.

“Other than slowing down the growth of ecommerce web agency, the convention can also have negative effects on advertisements as any advertiser must be properly identified, restrictions on apps development as app developers must be aware of restrictions on personal data collection, and the penetration of services such Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other international platforms will be greatly slowed as owners of these services may not want to comply with stringent control measures recommended in the convention.”

The report, Impact of the Internet in Africa, Establishing conditions for success and catalysing inclusive growth in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, of April this year by Dalberg noted that the story of the Internet in developing countries was very much a work in progress.

Internet Freedom in Africa under threat

According to the report, the Internet’s potential is still largely untapped in sub-Saharan Africa. Broadband penetration on the continent is low compared to regions of similar income, and although 15 per cent of the world’s population lives in sub- Saharan Africa, only six per cent of the world’s Internet users do. Despite widespread agreement on the web’s potential to transform lives and reduce poverty, there is a paucity of information that details how policymakers and investors should capitalize on this potential.

Moving away from Dalberg, of greater concern is the stark reality that continent-wide attempts are being made by the authorities to moderate Internet use and users alike, overtly or otherwise.

In a 2011 article, the Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, Jillian York wrote: “Despite much attention paid to Egypt and Libya’s Internet shutdowns, Tunisia’s pervasive Internet filtering, and Morocco’s arrests of bloggers, little attention has been given to Internet censorship issues throughout the rest of the African continent. Events in recent weeks, however, have brought the region’s online troubles into sharp focus.

“In Ethiopia, government filtering of websites has long been common practice. Despite an Internet penetration rate of only 0.5 per cent, the Ethiopian government blocks a range of political opposition websites, web hosting as well as independent news sites reporting on the country and the sites of a few human rights organizations. Ethiopia’s Internet infrastructure is state-owned, leaving control of it entirely at the hands of the government.

“Recently, on World Press Freedom Day, Ethiopian officials hijacked an event sponsored by UNESCO, removing independent journalists from the line-up and installing government-approved reporters in their place, as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported. At the same time, the government lifted the ban on a variety of sites normally blocked under the country’s filtering regime. Ostensibly, the lift occurred in the face of the UNESCO event’s theme: New Media and the Internet.

Despite the unblocking – likely temporary, if history is any indicator – Ethiopia continues to be one of sub-Saharan Africa’s worst offenders when it comes to Internet freedom.

In the case of Uganda it is just-in-time blocking. While protests were raging like wildfire across the Middle East and North Africa during the Arab Spring uprisings, ”just-in-time” blocking of websites (a phenomenon wherein sites are blocked temporarily around a protest or other event) was used to halt the protests. This phenomenon is become increasingly common. In April, Uganda’s Communications Commission (UCC) quietly ordered ISPs to block Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours in light of a Walk to Work protest against spiralling food and fuel prices in the country. When pressed, the office stated that the order was unnecessary and that no ban would take place. However, some Ugandans reported the sites temporarily inaccessible on Uganda Telecom.

Though the sites remain accessible, Ugandan Commissioner of Police Andrew Kaweesi has called cyber activism a Western phenomenon, stating that ”governments need to come up with an enabling law that guards against misuse of communication networks to protect social values and national identity,” and called for regulation of online publications.

Though most of the continent has been free from Internet filtering, with increased access comes increased control. Burundi, which is not known to block websites, arrested the editor of an online news site in 2010, and in April 2011 the prosecutor in the case sought a life sentence. Such methods aren’t uncommon. Egypt’s Internet is largely free as well, yet dozens of bloggers have been arrested over the years.

Practices vary by country. For example, some nations, such as Cote d’Ivoire, have moved to enact filtering. In March, a directive from the Ivorian Telecommunications Agency called for the ban of anti-Gbagbo websites. There is no word on whether that initiative has since fallen through.

Sudan has left the Internet largely unfettered, preferring instead to use social networking sites to track down protesters. According to a blog post by researcher Patrick Meier, the Sudanese government reportedly set up a group calling for protest, drawing thousands of activists to join. Many of those who attended the street protests were met by police and arrested for their participation.

Despite strides in recent years, the African continent continues to struggle with Internet access, lagging behind the rest of the world with only 5.6 per cent of the total global online population. Nevertheless, recent initiatives, including one from Google, promise to develop greater access to the Internet.

But as access to the Internet increases across the African continent, there will undoubtedly be a cost, as there has been in so many other parts of the world: online freedom.

Kipochi launches Africa’s first bitcoin wallet with MPESA integration

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Kenyan company, Kipochi Limited has launched Africa’s first Bitcoin wallet with MPESA integration. Through kenya mobile moneyKipochi, Kenyans will be able to send and receive BitCoin and convert it to and from an M-Pesa balance. As a result, for instance, Kenyans will be able to receive money transfers from the Diaspora in an easier, faster and cheaper way, compared to using banks and money transferring services such as Western Union and MoneyGram.

Here is how the founders describe the technology:

Kipochi is a light weight easy to use BitCoin Wallet that allows users to receive and send BitCoin all over the world, this will help Big Giant that are coming to Africa. Even for people using simple low cost feature phones.

Now with Kipochi, the remittances into Kenya has a faster and cheaper way to reach even the most remote areas in Kenya, villages with no banks or Western Union services – in an instant.

Imagine a world where your dear grandmother in northern Kenya suddenly does not have to travel 1 day to reach a bank, only to find out transfer has not yet arrived. Kipochi, M-Pesa and BitCoin can together assist the developing countries in creating faster remittances and growth on GDP, M-Pesa currently accounts for 31% of Kenya’s GDP

Industry comment: DDoS attack knocks out Liberia’s internet infrastructure

“The recent DDoS attack on Liberia, cutting out the country’s entire network infrastructure, proves the catastrophic damage that can be caused by cyber hackers that target connected devices. In such attacks, it is not only public web services that can be affected, but also the online business systems used in hospitals and other public services that people rely on.

“The Mirai botnet used by the hackers targets poorly secured connected devices which are ever more ubiquitous in the growing IoT landscape, and many internet service providers (ISPs) are woefully underprepared. But rather than looking at the problem at the device level, they must act now to address the threat at the network level, to ensure that consumers and businesses are not cut off from the world.

“ISPs must continuously stress test their networks against the variety of attacks that could befall them, employing technology that provides a comprehensive recourse for proactively protecting and hardening their systems. The threat today is global and requires continuous, automated testing of ever changing policies that are verified with systems that have the latest cybersecurity and malware signatures. This maximises the chances of identifying any potential security holes across their entire business.

“What happened in Liberia could just as easily occur anywhere in the world, and operators need to plan for the inevitable: it’s not a case of if another DDoS hack will take place, but when,” Senior Product Line Director, Cobham Wireless, Ultan Kelly said.

Commonwealth proposes Cyber Governance model

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Supporting the global efforts in strengthening the safety, security and resilience of Cyberspace, the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum 2013, organised by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), was declared open today at the Palais de Congress, Yaoundé, Cameroon by Hon Jean-Pierre Biyiti Bi Essam, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Republic of Cameroon, representing Hon Philemon Yang, the Prime Minister of Cameroon. Delivering his address, Hon Biyiti Bi Essam referred to the central role Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) play in economic development.

He referred to the evidence which suggests that a 10% growth in broadband penetration contributes to the growth of Gross Domestic Product by 1.38%, but also noted that this growth can only be realised if the ICT channels remain safe, secure and resilient. Inviting the delegates to take advantage of the impressive line up of speakers whose expertise covers almost every aspect of Cybersecurity; Hon Biyiti Bi Essam encouraged the CTO to continue to help the Commonwealth build robust Cybersecurity frameworks and help facilitate inter-Commonwealth coordination.

The Plenary that followed the ceremonial opening examined how Cyberspace could be governed and utilised in a manner to foster freedom and entrepreneurship, while protecting individuals, property and the state, leading to socio-economic development. Speakers of this session, Mr Mario Maniewicz, Chief, Department of Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications, ITU; Mr David Pollington, Director, International Security Relations, Microsoft; Mr Alexander Seger, Secretary, Cyber-crime Convention Committee, Council of Europe; Mr Nigel Hickson, Vice President, Europe, ICANN and Mr Pierre Dandjinou, Vice President, Africa, ICANN, added their perspectives on various approaches to Cyber-governance, with general agreement on the role Cyberspace could play to facilitate development equitably and fairly across the world.

While taking the delegates through the range of activities CTO has undertaken to help its members secure their ICT channels, Prof Tim Unwin, Secretary General, CTO, informed delegates of the organisation’s plans to develop a unique Commonwealth model for Cyber-governance. Voicing the commitment of the UK for the CTO’s endeavors to develop such a model, Mr Jamie Saunders, Director, Cyber Policy, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK, confirmed the UK’s funding support to the project.

The event will continue to consider many other aspects of Cybersecurity and Cyber-governance, including legal frameworks, international cooperation and technical measures until 26th April. A series of workshops on Child Online Protection, a project jointly implemented by the ITU and CTO in Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius and Sierra Leone, on 22nd to 24th April, a special briefing session for Commonwealth Parliamentarians on Electronic Commerce and Cyber laws on 24th April co-organized with UNCTAD and the Commonwealth Parliamentarians Association, and a Practitioners’ Workshop on Critical Information Infrastructure Protection on 25th April facilitated by Microsoft and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), supplement the line up of activities, held during the week.

Hosted by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cameroon together with the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon and backed by partners and industry supporters including ICANN, Council of Europe, Microsoft, MTN Cameroon, AFRINIC and Internet Watch Foundation, the Commonwealth Cybersecurity Forum 2013 seeks to broaden stakeholder dialogue to facilitate practical action in Cyber-governance and Cybersecurity, some of which will be reflected in the CTO’s own work programmes under its Cybersecurity agenda.