“5G to make the economy competitive, but risky”

the herald

Enacy Mapakame –business journalist

As Zimbabwe’s mobile network operators roll out 5G, which will make the economy more competitive, all stakeholders need to ensure their digital infrastructure is also secure amid growing cybersecurity threats in the country. , said the Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Postal and Courier Services. , said Dr. Jenfan Muswere.

Zimbabwe is one of the first African countries to launch 5G (fifth generation) mobile phone technology alongside South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana.

The 5G network has the potential to support millions of devices at ultra-fast speeds and transform global economies by improving accessibility and extending the reach of mobile broadband, while supporting critical sectors such as healthcare. , financial services, education services as well as manufacturing.

Dr Muswere said the country plans to tap into the $2.2 trillion in global technology revenue by 2034, with 5G becoming the engine of growth for Zimbabwe’s economy. It will encourage the deployment of state-of-the-art infrastructure and will have a positive impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, it has also resulted in an increase in cases of fraud as businesses, government departments, industry, health services and financial services become more connected online, which Dr Muswere says has called upon to protect against cyber threats.

“As we expand 5G adoption, we need to be aware of the potential for new cyber risks. 5G systems are fundamentally different from previous generations, which were primarily hardware-based. 5G is more technology-based. software, which opens up new potential vulnerabilities.

“The digital infrastructure must be secure. Consumers and businesses need to be confident that our 5G networks are resilient.

“With this in mind, telecom operators must commit to adopting a ‘zero trust’ posture. This means that telecom operators must first verify all activities before trusting them. There must also be constant monitoring and vigilance for suspicious activity,” he said at the ninth edition of the Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) Zimbabwe ICT Conference and Awards held recently in the capital city.

According to technology group Liquid Intelligent, citing a global cybersecurity report for 2021, the prevalence of cybersecurity risks in Zimbabwe is on the rise, with 82% of businesses saying they have experienced them as cybercriminals take advantage of increasing digitalization to attack digital infrastructure.

The document would also show the state of threats in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, where the most commonly cited cybersecurity dangers were malware, web application attacks, phishing and identity theft. via email, identity theft, data breaches and denial of service.

In the wake of the threats, 93% of information technology (IT) decision makers in Zimbabwe said their companies had focused more on cybersecurity.

According to the report, 71% of businesses cited phishing and spam as the biggest security threats.

Dr Muswere added that as the country experienced increasing digitalization, spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was imperative to establish close collaboration between universities, private and public sectors to build a safe and secure digital economy. sustainable.

“The success and sustainability of our digitization efforts critically depend on close collaboration between industry, community partners and government.

“These partnerships are critical to ensuring a secure and resilient 5G infrastructure and compelling use cases that will position us well to realize the full potential of the global 5G opportunity.

“It also calls for cross-border partnerships to build interoperable systems to ensure a prosperous, secure and inclusive digital future for all,” he said.

There are also fears that the deployment of advanced networks in African countries will widen the continent’s digital divide with only half of the people on the continent who have access to mobile phones still on 2G technology.

An estimated 9% of connections in Africa were 4G in 2019, almost a decade after its launch in other countries. However, the Global Mobile Industry Association (GSMA) says there is an opportunity for Africa, with 4G figures expected to increase to 27% by 2025, while 3% of connected phones will run on 5G.

Comments are closed.