“The project will have a strong focus on Capacity Building and R&D, to develop a large pool of local cybersecurity talents and facilitate the creation of qualified jobs and start-ups on the African continent”, Pascal Steichen, President of Cyber4Dev
The Cyber4Dev consortium is proud to launch the Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre (ACRC) for Financial Inclusion, with the aim to strengthen the cyber resilience of the financial system in Africa, secure the fast development of Digital Financial Systems, and ultimately increase Financial Inclusion on the continent, a key for economic and human development.
Digital transactions in Africa usually take place over insecure mobile phones, which, in 2017 and according to Quartz, cost African countries $3.5 billion.
The ACRC project will potentially benefit 250 million vulnerable customers and 2,000-3,000 financial institutions across Africa. Besides, the ACRC will specifically target improved cybersecurity for 20-25 million women in five years and aim to employ a workforce made up of at least 39 percent women.
Cyber4Dev is a not for profit consortium of public and private partners from Luxembourg and Africa. This consortium gathers experts from SECURITYMADEIN.LU, the Cybersecurity Agency for the Luxembourg Economy and Municipalities, the SnT, Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust of the University of Luxembourg, Excellium Services SA, cybersecurity leader in Luxembourg and part of one of the largest European players Maxive and Suricate Solutions in Senegal with several years of experience in cybersecurity for financial inclusion, following a first project started thanks to the Business Partnership Facility from the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs of the Luxembourg Government.
Franz Fayot, minister for Development cooperation and Humanitarian affairs confirms: “Luxembourg’s expertise in the field of cybersecurity will be put at the service of global development and more specifically the inclusive finance sector. Our development cooperation has been investing in this area for more than two decades and I particularly welcome this initiative that concretely illustrates our impact and strategic approach to Digital4Development through public- private-partnerships.”
Early March 2021, the board of directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced it has decided to allocate a $2 million grant to establish this Centre, which will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion (AFDI) Facility. The Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg has supported the ADFI trust fund administered by the African Development Bank to the tune of EUR 4 million since 2018. Building on this initial support, the ACRC will be progressively launched in Sub Saharan Countries with two resource centres based in West Africa (Senegal) and East Africa (host country to be determined). In 5 years, a unique 100+ African high-level cybersecurity experts taskforce will be supporting the continent’s Financial Sector.
Minister of Finance Pierre Gramegna comments: “Financial technology has been a game changer in making finance more inclusive and reaching underbanked and unbanked populations across the world. At the same time, new digital means of delivering financial services and products also implies increased exposure to cyber security threats. As a pioneer in inclusive finance, a hub for Fintech innovation and leader in cyber security, Luxembourg is proud to support the Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre for Financial Inclusion to help increase the resilience of the inclusive finance ecosystem across the region.”
“The ADFI team and our partners are excited about this project as a secure digital financial services ecosystem is crucial for sustainable financial inclusion, “ says Sheila Okiro, the ADFI Coordinator. “We are counting on the ACRC members and operational partners to help lay the foundation to systemically tackle rising cybersecurity concerns and help build a sustainable model for dissemination of these critical services across the continent.”
The Africa Cybersecurity Resource Centre for Financial Inclusion is the first regional and sectorial organization of its kind dedicated to improve cybersecurity and cyber resilience for the Financial Sector in Africa. It will closely support several thousands of Inclusive Finance institutions (including Microfinance Institutions, Micro-insurance companies, Digital Financial Service Providers, Fintechs) and tens of millions of their customers, all currently very vulnerable to cyber threats. It will also support Central Banks and Policy Makers.
“We are proud to see this project take off and the grant will be essential in delivering world class cybersecurity services and information sharing to protect Financial Service Providers and their customers. The project will have a strong focus on Capacity Building and R&D, to develop a large pool of local cybersecurity talents and facilitate the creation of qualified jobs and start-ups on the African continent”, Pascal Steichen, President of Cyber4Dev completes.
For more information: https://cyber4africa.org