Sub-Saharan Africa is a $100 Million Cybersecurity Diamond in the Rough

18 Aug 2014

​The small but burgeoning cybersecurity market in Sub-Saharan Africa is set for dynamic growth over the next 5 years. ABI Research expects regional revenues to hit $100 million in 2015. The region is experiencing soaring Internet penetration growth rates, boosted by tremendous mobile connectivity outpacing any models experienced in the past by developed economies. The particularity of the market means not only that thousands of people will connect to the Internet for the first time in their lives, but also that they are extremely vulnerable online. As fledgling digital economies take off in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria, local cybercriminals have emerged and are organizing themselves to take advantage of regional financial services including the nascent and highly popular mobile money industry.

Despite this surge, cybersecurity awareness in Sub-Saharan Africa is weak. National support is low and the market is primarily dependent on foreign security vendors to offer basic online protection. And yet the potential to provide cybersecurity services is significant. Both public and private organizations in the region are demanding training, servicing, and consulting services in cybersecurity, leading to the emergence of a few visionary domestic firms providing such tailored services, such as Kenyan-based Serianu and South African firm SYNAQ.

There is considerable untapped potential for ICT infrastructure vendors, defense contractors, and technology companies to fill this gap in the short-to-mid-term. “Sub-Saharan Africa is a cyber-diamond in the rough,” says Michela Menting, cybersecurity practice director. “The region has the opportunity to integrate cybersecurity into these early stages of its ICT build-out and the potential of aligning itself quickly with cyber-readiness levels in developed economies. These countries, however, need to act now if they want to overcome the current obstacles in the way of this opportunity.” This is where the private sector can play its cards; the region needs as much support as it can get in terms of developing national cybersecurity capabilities and its emerging digital economy is poised to embrace an accompanying cybersecurity ecosystem.

These findings are part of ABI Research’s Cybersecurity Strategies for Critical Infrastructure Market Research.

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