President Emmerson Mnangagwa

‘Africa must guard against cybercrime’

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday exhorted governments and regulatory authorities in Africa to guard against cybercrime, warning breath-taking technological developments pause risks.

Officially opening the 10th ordinary session of the Pan African Postal Union (Papu) plenipotentiary conference in Victoria Falls, Mnangagwa said technology must be used to transform people’s lives.

This comes as Zimbabwe, among several countries, is in the process of promulgating laws to penalise cybercrimes amid concerns that some citizens were abusing social media for nefarious activities, including spreading falsehoods.

“The Papu is challenged to support governments on the continent to bridge the digital divide. This must translate to citizens having access to basic communication in line with Africa’s quest to create knowledge economies and innovation driven development. Adoption of new technologies, however, comes attached with some risk,” Mnangagwa said. 

“Hence, the Pan African Postal Union, other stakeholders and regulatory authorities have an obligation to ensure that the technological space remains safe from cyber criminals, is user friendly, affordable and efficient for all.”
The president challenged Papu to play a developmental role in uplifting the standard of living of people in line with the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

“Members of the Papu are exhorted to pursue the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals through the effective utilisation of their diverse presence and networks for the upliftment of human kind,” Mnangagwa said. He said postal services were now more critical than ever under the current devastating Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Covid-19 provided Papu an opportunity to reflect and pursue hitherto uncharted terrains on how best the postal sector could embrace the new normal. “This includes the use of new technologies such as drones for deliveries, block chain technology for secure transactions, digital financial services and track and trace applications, among others.

“ICT developments must, thus, be leveraged to enable citizens on the continent to receive services without being physically inclined to visit service centres,” Mnangagwa said. Earlier, Information Communication Technology minister Jenfan Muswere had told the conference that ICTs have opened “real opportunities for growth and sustainability of postal services”.

“The presence of ICTs and technological initiatives in post offices have introduced modern transactions that have revamped the traditional postal services. These initiatives have been instrumental in reviving the use of the postal networks,” Muswere said.

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