The Rise of Cybercrime in Zambia

Updated: May 20, 2020

Zambian information and technology regulator (ZICTA) stated that its Cyber Matrix Database used to profile the perpetrators and victims of cybercrime indicates a rising number of cybercrimes recorded last year. In particular, the database shows that 791 complaints regarding social media abuse were recorded since January 2019. According to ZICTA, the increase in cybercrime may be attributed to the rapid adoption of mobile and internet services in Zambia, coupled with globalisation which has created opportunities for both users and criminals. Pornography-related cases were the most reported followed by cyber bullying, with women accounting for the largest number of complainants.

The increase in cybercrime in Africa has led to the growing sentiment that the growth in cybercrime in Africa is directly associated with the increase in connectivity and access to social networks. As seen in Zambia, statistics indicate women and children as the most vulnerable..

At the WEF discussions in 2019, cybersecurity in Africa received considerable attention. African countries were urged to refrain from long bureaucratic processes to allow quick and adequate responses to incidents. Governments were encouraged to be at the forefront of the regulatory framework and promote public-private collaboration. One recommendation was for regulatory frameworks in Africa (at the national level) to include imperative reporting.

Of significance is the African Union’s adoption of the 2014 Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection which mandates the establishment of legal, and policy frameworks to promote cybersecurity and deter cybercrime. In 2019, 5 years after its adoption, only 14 of 55 AU member states have signed it and seven have ratified it. The convention will only come into force once it is signed and ratified by a minimum of 15 states.

A researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs called on the the AU to intensify efforts to persuade member states to ratify the AU Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection.