Development and Implementation of Cybercrime Strategies in Africa with Specific Reference to South Africa


Cybercrime is increasing at a rate few individuals would have predicted. IBM estimated in 2016 that, in 2019, the cost of cybercrime would reach $2 trillion, a threefold increase from the 2015 estimate of $500 billion. The growth of the Internet and the rapid development of technology provide enormous economic and social benefits but at the same time provide platforms for cyber-criminals to exploit. Organised crime is using more sophisticated techniques, which require highly skilled and specialised law enforcement responses. One example is the use of cryptocurrencies, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to hide their proceeds. Regulatory measures often lag behind.

In this paper, the authors give an overview of the growing threat of cybercrime with a specific focus on high levels of cybercrime in Africa. The focus then turns to the development of national cybercrime strategies and implementation. Results from literature and the authors’ analyses of two cyber indices to measure the capabilities and capacities of countries are combined to present a framework for the development of a cybercrime strategy, and in particular, a strategy customised for African countries.


Photo of Professor Joey Jansen van Vuuren (PhD)

Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria,
South Africa

Prof. Joey Jansen van Vuuren heads the Computer Science Department at Tshwane University of Technology and is the Vice Chair of IFIP (Federation for Information Processing) Working Group 9.10. Her research focus on cybersecurity, education, government, and policy. She was the coordinator of the South African Cybersecurity Centre of Innovation for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that initiated several cybersecurity government initiatives in South Africa.

Photo of Dr. Louise Leenen

University of the Western Cape and Center for Artificial Intelligence Research Cape Town,
South Africa

Louise Leenen areas of specialization are Artificial Intelligence applications in Cyber Defence and mathematical modelling. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. She is the Chair of the International Federation for Information Processing’s Working Group 9.10 on ICT Uses in Peace and War. Louise holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Photo of Brigadier Piet Pieterse

Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation South African Police Service Pretoria,
South Africa

Brigadier Piet Pieterse is at present the Section Head of Cybercrime Investigation (CCI), Component: Priority Crime Specialised Investigation (PCSI), which is part of the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) (Hawks). He joined the South African Police Service in 1979 and has been a detective since 1981. He worked at the Murder and Robbery Unit and became the commissioned officer during 1987. He was a founding member of the Directorate for Special Operations (DSO) Scorpions, before joining the Commercial Crime Unit of the Police Service in 1992. He also commanded the former Serious Economic Offences Unit. Brigadier Pieterse holds a National Diploma in Police Administration.

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