February 26, 2024

Representatives From Nigeria's and Ghana's Financial Sector Learn About U.S. Cybersecurity Solutions

Sponsored by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), which helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies, I attended the "Nigeria and Ghana Financial Sector Cybersecurity Solutions Networking Lunch" in San Francisco, Calif. on February 13th, 2024. This event, which was part of USTDA's Nigeria and Ghana Financial Sector Cybersecurity RTM (reverse trade mission), provided an opportunity for U.S. companies to hear firsthand from the delegation of Nigerian and Ghanaian business leaders about upcoming business opportunities and to meet one-on-one with delegates to present their cybersecurity services and solutions.

The delegation was interested in procuring products, technologies, and services from American businesses in the following areas: cyber resilience and risk management systems, electronic payments and digital processing, threat intelligence and fraud prevention, and network monitoring and data protection. I had engaging discussions with the delegates about the state of financial services sector in west Africa, the growing threat of cybersecurity, and efforts being made to train the local population to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunity to digitalize Africa's economy.

As an observer of the digitalization of the African continent, this event carried significant importance in light of the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiative, which President Joe Biden launched to expand digital access in Africa and increase commercial engagement between U.S. and African companies, support increased digital literacy, and strengthen digital enabling environments across Africa. The DTA channels the collective efforts of U.S. and allied government and private sector partners to advance these aims across three pillars including digital economy and infrastructure, human capital development, and digital enabling environment.

The DTA is part of USTDA's Access Africa initiative which supports quality information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure across Africa. By working with the public and private sectors across the continent, Access Africa brings together critical stakeholders and designs targeted programming to advance inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity. In addition, Access Africa partners individually contribute to the identification and implementation of USTDA activities that support Africa's ICT sector, including technical, regulatory, institutional and procurement assistance. Lastly, Access Africa provides lasting framework for Africa's public and private sector to partner with trusted U.S. providers and establish ICT relationships that are built to last.

According to the USTDA, as a leading developer and deployer of cybersecurity and data protection solutions, the U.S. private sector is well-positioned to become an essential partner in fortifying network infrastructure in emerging economies' financial sectors. U.S. firms are at the forefront of network monitoring, data analytics, vulnerability detection, artificial intelligence, and blockchain applications. Across Africa, the banking sector has been heavily targeted by cybercrime, with losses of $248 million to malicious cyber activity in 2021.

I appreciate how USTDA's Nigeria and Ghana Financial Sector Cybersecurity RTM allowed public and private sector decision-makers the opportunity to meet with U.S. entities engaged in developing and deploying cybersecurity solutions in the financial sector; establishing policies and regulations; and implementing best practices. The delegates learned about innovative U.S. technologies, financing mechanisms, and best practices to combat cybercrime in the banking sector.

Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.

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