After the serious crisis ragged by the country during nine years, it is not easy to lose the reflex of the rebellion for this reconstructed army. In addition to mutinies, admittedly sporadic but not reassuring the investors, cybercrime makes the country a red zone. «Defense and Security» therefore, the two major themes of ShieldAfrica, held in Abidjan January 23 – 26.
Once CFA 5 million paid to each of the 8400 soldiers of the Forces Nouvelles’ former rebellion, the Ivory Coast wants to reassure economic operators for, as mentioned by Hamed Bakayoko, Minister of the Interior and Security, « Defense and Security are essential links in a country’s strategic response; You have seen that in one day or in a few days, instability can annihilate all the efforts of several years in terms of confidence, growth and economic performance. »
ShieldAfrica, a meeting platform
Dedicated to defense and security, ShieldAfrica welcomed 130 international companies at the instigation of Stéphane Konan, the Commissioner General, and Patrick Colas des Francs, President of Coges Africa. The invited companies include the Drone Volt company, of which drones « treat coffee and cocoa plantation » – which is far from the theme of security. Yet its director, Bernard Berthier, explains his presence: « the more you have security in the country, the more investment follows. » Alain Donwahi, Minister of Defense, confirms: « it is important to present the achievements and concrete practices which lead to the development of our Africa. »
Mutinies, a prerequisite
« No country has developed in the world without challenges. The history of all major nations teaches us that serious crises have had immediate medium and long-term consequences. We are managing the impact of the ten-year crisis with, as an outcome, an armed conflict backed by countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, which themselves had just experienced unrest. We need the support of all and you are kindly requested to trust us, » said Hamed Bakayoko. But as mutinies mean instability, the Minister of the Interior does not forget to reassure the players on cybercrime: « the work is undoubtedly difficult, but we are determined and committed. »
To meet the challenge of economic and financial insecurity arising from the young cybercriminals’ activities, the Directorate of Computer and Trace Technology (DITT) – which includes the Cybercrime Police (PLCC) – was then created in 2012. Flavie Akissi, the communication Manager, explained that « PLCC has been fighting efficiently against cybercrime, with 2000 complaints, in 2016, including 90% from the Ivoirians, for financial losses of nearly CFA 3 billion » (against CFA 5 billion in 2015, or a decrease of almost half). « And today, thanks to PLCC, we can make online purchases in the Ivory Coast, » says the one whose police unit won three awards – including one during the Exhibition.
Secure the prospects
« When I want to invest $ 100 billion or $ 200 billion in a country, will this country be stable enough for ten years to ensure growth allowing me to have a return on investment? » This is how the Minister of the Interior summarizes the issue of confidence, without whom the prospects are compromised. To secure them, the Ivory Coast intends to promote «a development army.» In addition to mutinies and crime, it will focus especially on the terrorist issue: « We will ensure that every individual on our soil has a number, an address, a photo and a footprint, allowing to isolate those who are out of the system, and who are generally terrorists. This is one of the major challenges to be met in 2017. And I assure you that we are seriously committed to this issue. »
Author: Issiaka N’Guessan // Photo: Exhibitors at ShieldAfrica – © Issiaka N’Guessan