Morocco emphasized Thursday in Addis Ababa, before the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) the need for African countries to take adequate measures to ensure the security of their infrastructure and systems and the integrity of their data in the face of cyber threats in the continent.
Morocco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Mohamed Arrouchi, intervening at a meeting under the theme “Cyber security, impact on Peace and Security in Africa”, emphasized that African countries must draft appropriate national legislation and regulations to ensure that trust is preserved in the digital world, and to ensure that these regulations support effective and efficient continental cooperation.
Arrouchi reaffirmed in this regard that Morocco is “convinced that common commitment will contribute to facing these challenges and ensuring a safer and more prosperous future for Africa,” emphasizing the importance of raising awareness among civilians, businesses, and governments of cyberspace security risks and better security practices.
The Moroccan ambassador noted that governments must develop protection plans for their critical infrastructure and invest in appropriate security technologies, stressing the importance of strengthening cybercrime laws to include a range of cybercrimes, notably online identity theft, denial-of-service attacks, phishing, data theft, and malware.
Arrouchi, who is leading the Moroccan delegation to this session, highlighted the importance of strengthening regional collaboration through the exchange of expertise and capacity building in cybersecurity, investing in capacity building in cybersecurity, raising awareness of citizens and businesses on cybersecurity risks so as to protect themselves from cyberattacks, and putting in place appropriate regulations to regulate the use of cyberspace.
Referring to the situation in Africa, Arrouchi noted that the African continent is facing growing cyber threats that could jeopardize peace, security, and development, such as espionage, sabotage, and cybercrime, as well as disinformation and manipulation of public opinion via social networks.
The Moroccan ambassador noted in this regard that these cyberattacks can result in significant financial and security damage to critical infrastructure, government institutions, and businesses, cause significant economic disruption and fuel social and ethnic tensions, adding that these threats were aggravated by the insufficient budgets allocated to cybersecurity in Africa, lack of qualified cybersecurity skills and absence of resilience in African organizations, in addition to the lack of regulation and control in some African countries.
The Moroccan delegation reiterated, during this session, Morocco’s willingness to share its expertise with other countries on the continent, particularly in terms of national strategies, awareness, specialized training, cooperation, and incident management.
The Moroccan delegation further stressed that since 2003, Morocco has developed a legislative and regulatory framework to regulate IT activities and ensure the security of citizens and critical infrastructure against cyber threats, by adopting a number of laws that were enhanced by decrees and orders, the most recent of which deals mainly with the protection of information systems of critical infrastructure.
The delegation also added that the Kingdom has adopted, over a decade ago (in 2012), a National Strategy for Cybersecurity consisting of a permanent search for an information system that can provide stronger resistance to attacks from cyberspace.