The digital transformation unfolding across the globe is, in many ways, a blessing. It keeps people, businesses, and public services connected. And in low- and middle-income countries, it is creating opportunities to “leapfrog” developmental stages in all key sectors, including health, transport, and agribusiness.
But this progress comes with risks that cannot be ignored.
Cyberattacks can affect our clients in various ways. They disrupt essential government services, such as financial systems, healthcare, energy, water supply, and more. National security and personal data can be compromised and end up in the wrong hands. Worse, targeted attacks can lead to the loss of life.
Unfortunately, such attacks have become increasingly common across the globe, wreaking havoc on businesses of all sizes. According to Blackfog, a global cybersecurity firm, the costs to businesses from ransomware attacks are expected to reach $6 trillion in 2021—up from $3 trillion in 2015. These losses hit ill-prepared countries—in terms of policy, regulation, institutions, and skills—much harder.
Increased confidence and more secure cyberspace can lead to better adoption, more demand, and deeper transformation.
A partnership approach
Stakeholders need to share knowledge, build capacity and expertise, assess cybersecurity risks at the country level, and provide incentives for the private sector to invest in digital infrastructure and technology.
A new global fund launched on August 16 by the World Bank and its partners aims to do just that. The Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund was made possible with contributions from Estonia, Germany, Japan, and The Netherlands. Other donors have expressed interest and may also participate. The new Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund is part of the broader Digital Development Partnership (DDP) umbrella program.
The fund is much more than a source of financing for cybersecurity issues. It also serves as a collaborative platform that ensures that cybersecurity issues are integrated into World Bank programs in emerging markets and developing countries. It aims to facilitate knowledge sharing, build capacity and technical skills, and give momentum to the cybersecurity development agenda.
This collective approach will help low- and middle-income countries become more resilient in the face of cyberattacks that could threaten their economic development. By managing these risks, World Bank client countries will enjoy the benefits of digital transformation as they work to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The risks are real and threaten this vision. But these risks are manageable. , helping low- and middle-income countries take advantage of the benefits of digital transformation while mitigating risks.
Website: Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund