Experts have raised concerns over the growing shortage of general digital skills occasioned by the brain drain in Africa.
They said such development would lead to a rise in cyber-attacks and crimes, with catastrophic consequences for businesses, governments and citizens.
A statement said this was part of the consensus reached by panelists at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa, Nigeria’s monthly meeting, with the theme ‘Addressing the cybersecurity skills quagmire’.
The experts said African countries must, as a matter of urgency, begin intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the diaspora and strategic supply of digital skills to Africa.
Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, said the shortage of general digital skills at all levels was expected to become more critical as economies grew.
Supply of digitally skilled labour, she added, must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.
She observed that highly skilled African professionals had been emigrating to African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents, leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.
While proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.
She said, “These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.
“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.”
In his address of welcome, President, ISSAN, Dr. David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world called for concern.
He said, “The cyberthreat landscape is still evolving. Cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and that of highly reputable firms.
“Even individuals are not left out. Consequently, it becomes imperative that organisations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”