2023 Conference on International Cyber Security | 7-8 November 2023
Register now

< Return to program overview

Panel 5


Regional Perspectives on Cyber Conflict and Digital Dependencies

Uchenna Jerome Orji

Dr Uchenna Jerome Orji is an Attorney admitted to the Nigerian Bar. He holds an LL.M from the University of Ibadan, with specialization in cybersecurity law and a PhD in Law from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria, with specialization in telecommunications law. He is the author of Cybersecurity Law and Regulation (The Netherlands, 2012), International Telecommunications Law and Policy (United Kingdom, 2018), and Telecommunications Law and Regulation in Nigeria (United Kingdom, 2018), in addition to peer reviewed papers on several aspects of law. Uchenna is a Fellow of the African Center for Cyber Law and Cybercrime Prevention (ACCP) at the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime in Kampala, Uganda and has worked as an expert for the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth, the Dutch Government, the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence and the Government of Nigeria’s Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Business Law at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria.




Examining the Applicability of African Regional Non-Aggression Treaties to State Aggression in Cyberspace

In June 2020, following a bilateral dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam being built on the Nile River, it was reported that Egyptian hackers had launched cyber-attacks on a number of Ethiopian websites. While this appears to be the first reported incident of cyber conflict in Africa, there is a growing likelihood that cyber weapons will be used to advance political objectives in the continent. Already, the African continent has been challenged by incidents of inter-state conflicts leading the African Union to declare that “the scourge of conflicts in Africa constitutes a major impediment to the socio-economic development of the continent”. Accordingly, several African regional intergovernmental organizations have established legal frameworks to minimize conflicts amongst African States. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted a Protocol on Non-Aggression in 1978. In 1996, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) adopted a Protocol on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation. In 2005, the African Union established the Non-Aggression and Common Defense Pact to put an end to “conflicts of any kind within and among States in Africa”. Also in 2006, African States in the Great Lakes Region adopted a Protocol on Non –Aggression and Mutual Defence in the Great Lakes Region. While the above regional Protocols clearly address issues relating to State aggression, there is no regional African regime that addresses State aggression in cyberspace. However, is it possible to apply the above frameworks to State aggression in cyberspace? Accordingly, this paper seeks to consider the application of the above African regional non-aggression treaties to State aggression in cyberspace and the related challenges thereto.