#CitiBusinessFestival: Investment in cyber security critical for a formidable digital economy

The Chief Enablement and Information Officer at Absa Bank, Ebo Richardson, has called for investment in cyber security and a collaboration between sector players to develop a formidable digital economy.

Mr. Richardson made these statements during  the 2021 Citi Business Festival’s first virtual forum on Citi TV, on the theme, ‘Digital Economy – Building a cashless society; the opportunities for businesses and job creation.’

He explained that the digital economy is “like a chain, you are only as strong as the weakest link. Even if Absa is strong but some other players in the ecosystem are weak, that may be where your consumers will fall foul. So we need to work to cross the piece.”

Even though Absa “is a certified ISO certified as ISO 27001, we [Absa] can put ourselves as one of the leading banks in the security perspective. We are doing PSIDSS, I believe a number of banks if they haven’t done so will do so.”

He advised stakeholders to holistically develop the three core sectors which are “infrastructure, regulation and cultural practice”.

“The infrastructure has come a long way, but there’s an opportunity to improve. There are things to do that will ensure reliability in the near future. On regulation, we initially had nothing to speak of, and it was kind of a green field, but now it is catching up. With cultural practice, we need to look at education and awareness. How do we get people to realize where these things are going? What are the benefits? How can we improve their lives and experiences?”

“How do we address their fears? Because a lot of people still have the fears of technology, telling themselves they would rather deal with a human being” he explained.

He called for an increase in investment into these systems to protect the digital space and warned that “if we allow some of these pitfalls to get ahead and control the space, then the experience will be mild and we will start to retrogress rather than going forward.”

“It is important that all the players look at what it takes not only to mitigate and minimize fraud but also to deal with the cancer of cyber threats and all those things that are often rearing their ugly heads. It is just the reality of life, when you start to move more in the technology direction, once you start to realize more digital realm behavior, you also become more exposed to the risks that come with them,” he added.

Also, “everyone needs to play their part so that it will become a critical national infrastructure.  With the education and awareness stage, I think that in a lot of things of infrastructure and people coming together, the people are most likely to be the weakest. If we don’t  address that, we will allow a lot of people to be ensnared by dubious persons and criminals which we really want to avoid. So I think that is what is needs to be done just as Absa has done.”

The Citi Business Festival is an extensive program of business events and on-air activities providing inspiration, business ideas, and information to persons who are starting, building, or growing their businesses.

This year’s edition is hinged on five thematic areas, namely:

Week 1: Digital Economy – Building a cashless society and the opportunities for business and job creation.

Week 2: Doing business in Ghana.

Week 3: AgriBusiness – Feeding Ghana with a sound import substitution strategy.

Week 4: Trade –  AfCFTA: Opportunities for investment & Job creation in Ghana.

Week 5: Oil and Gas  – The opportunities for indigenous businesses.

There will be virtual business fora live on Citi TV every Tuesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for the entire month.

The radio on-air series from Monday to Thursday on the Citi Breakfast Show, is themed to correspond with the virtual fora.

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