A report from the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) reveals that 31 percent of civil society organizations (CSOs) in West Africa encountered a digital security breach within the last year, with 25 percent of those incidents happening multiple times. Nigeria had the highest proportion of these attacks at 10.75 percent, with Ghana following closely behind.
The report comes as the Institute launched a recent groundbreaking research report “Landscape Mapping of Civil Society Digital Security in West Africa.”wherein the Statistics that 31% of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in West Africa experienced a digital security attack lately was revealed.
The study which was commissioned by WACSI with support from Mott Foundation further revealed that, while 45% of CSOs were unaware of national laws and regulations on digital security, CSOs in the region faced a multitude of digital security challenges that threatened their efforts in pursuing their mandates.
While uncovering the inadequate preparedness of CSOs towards responding to digital security threats and attacks, the study also found that only a small portion of CSOs (23.6%) had computer and information security policies in place. Even that, just a handful understood its contents not to talk of applying these policies.
The Executive Director of WACSI, Nana Afadzinu, says the Institute, in its 2023 to 2027 strategy, has a priority of ensuring that CSOs in the region were adequately supported to leverage technology to promote their developmental initiatives. She adds that while it is critical in informing and shaping the Institute’s work going forward, it constitutes a rich body of knowledge that can inspire a diverse pool of stakeholders to contribute, together with WACSI, to improve the digital landscape to enable the work of CSOs.
The report boldly sets the records straight on the yawning gaps in digital security among CSOs in West Africa. It comes as a wake-up call to civic actors and development players to become well informed and proactive in the face of fast-growing digitalisation especially in ensuring that technology does not become “a helper but an enemy” asset in the work they do.