Timeframe: March 2021 – February 2023
Budget: GBP 2.9 million
Donor: United Kingdom - Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK FCDO)
Countries involved: 49
Why the project is needed
Cybercrimes affect all countries, but in Africa, weak networks and security make countries especially vulnerable.
Studies conducted by INTERPOL, partners and member countries in West Africa between 2015 and 2017 showed the region had a growing underground market and high levels of social engineering/financially motivated threats against vulnerable people. A high level of Internet fraud targeted businesses, while only one-third of cybercrimes reported to law enforcement agencies each year resulted in arrests.
Subsequently, and reflecting the global trend, member countries have anecdotally reported an elevated volume in incidents. This project will take another pulse check on the region and enable us to gather research and intelligence to underpin the operation activities.
Key impediments to conducting cross-jurisdictional cybercrime investigations across Africa include inconsistency in how different countries manage and prioritze cybercrime investigations, and/or a lack of capacity among law enforcement agencies to deal with these types of crime.
The project aims to drive intelligence-led, coordinated actions against cybercrime and their perpetrators in African member countries, by creating a harmonized regional coordination framework that will produce joint action plans and conduct law enforcement activities.
At the core will be the Africa Cybercrime Operation Desk based in INTERPOL’s Cybercrime Directorate. The desk will initiate and implement the framework and drive joint operations, thereby strengthening Africa states’ capacity and capability to combat cybercrime.
Activities will focus on both pursuing the perpetrators of the cybercrimes in Africa, and also on prevention activities. While the prevention activities will aim to have a wide regional participation, the operational activities will be centred around countries which have already actively engaged with our Cybercrime Directorate to set a baseline for these activities.
The major deliverables of the project will be:
- Framework: The desk will collaborate with the member countries to form a framework for a coordinated response to cybercrimes that will establish work processes that law enforcement agencies in Africa can continue to adopt beyond the life of the project.
- Intelligence: An Africa Cybercrime Threat Assessment will be published annually that will inform stakeholders of the key threats and consolidate regional knowledge.
- Operations: Specific operations will be run on a regional and intra-regional level to collectively address the cyber threats based on actionable intelligence.
- Campaigns: Information awareness campaigns will address the threats at the public level.