Mauritius is the most cyber-secure country in Africa according to the Global Cybersecurity Index 2020, published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which measures the cybersecurity commitments of 193 ITU member states and the State of Palestine.
The Index is designed to identify gaps, serve as a roadmap to guide national strategies, inform legal frameworks, build capacity, highlight good practices, strengthen international standards and foster a culture of cybersecurity. It maps 82 questions on member state cybersecurity commitments across five pillars:
- Legal measures;
- Technical measures;
- Organisational measures;
- Capacity development measures;
- Cooperation measures.
GCI 2020, the index’s fourth iteration, reported that countries had been working to improve their cyber safety despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the rapid shift of everyday activities into the digital sphere.
The US was ranked as the most cyber-secure country in the world with a 100% score, followed by a tie for second place tie between the UK and Saudi Arabia, with Estonia ranked third. South Korea, Singapore and Spain tied for fourth, while Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia shared fifth, with Lithuania, Japan, Canada, France and India making up the top 10.
Mauritius, which leads Africa, shared 17th position with Norway at 96.89%. Egypt was next on the list for Africa, ranking 23, followed by Tanzania at 37, Ghana at 43, Tunisia at 45 and Nigeria at 47.
The ITU identified only 29 African countries with data protection legislation; 23 with a national cybersecurity strategy and 19 with a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Only 31 African nations had legislation on network hacking, 17 on online harassment and only six had a cybersecurity skills development mechanism. While 29 African countries were engaged in international cybersecurity activities, only 19 had joined multilateral agreements and only 12 had bilateral cybersecurity agreements.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said: “In these challenging times, the unprecedented reliance on Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) to drive society, economy and industry, makes it more important than ever before to secure cyberspace and build confidence among users.
“Governments and industry need to work together to make ICTs consistently safe and trustworthy for all. The Global Cybersecurity Index is a key element, offering a snapshot of the opportunities and gaps that can be addressed to strengthen every country’s digital ecosystem,” he added.