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New USAID Cybersecurity Primer for Digital Development Programs

By Guest Writer on November 18, 2021

usaid cybersecurity primer

The USAID Cybersecurity Primer introduces the concept of cybersecurity as a development challenge, presents opportunities to integrate cybersecurity in programming, and highlights cyber threat trends by sector.

The Primer is intended to increase awareness and provide a basic understanding of cyber threats, cybersecurity, and cyber resilience as they relate to USAID development programming. It is a resource for the broader development community and spotlights how USAID’s approach to cybersecurity in development programming is evolving.

Th Primer builds on the USAID Digital Strategy, which identifies cybersecurity as a new focus area for the Agency’s technical programming. USAID partner countries are adopting digital tools and services but have minimal resources to combat cyber vulnerabilities that come with increased digitalization.

In this rapidly changing digital landscape, USAID recognizes that each of its activities and programs must consider cybersecurity as a strategic and operational issue. This is a natural evolution of USAID’s commitment to minimize harm in its programming, which is why cybersecurity is a cross-cutting topic in USAID’s Digital Ecosystem Framework.

Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, USAID is rethinking its program design and implementation and prioritizing cybersecurity capacity-building efforts.

In July, the Technology Division of the Bureau for Development, Democracy, and Innovation established a new Cybersecurity Team with a mandate to strengthen cybersecurity programming and coordination. Because cybersecurity is a core thread that runs through all aspects of USAID’s program cycle, this team’s efforts enable USAID to build partner countries’ cyber resilience and ultimately further USAID’s mission.

The Cybersecurity Primer demonstrates that cybersecurity is an urgent development challenge that needs to be addressed throughout the program cycle. It is a first step to ensuring that USAID programs are sustainable and resilient, but ultimately USAID will need to partner with implementing partners, the private sector, donors, and other USG agencies to implement creative solutions to emerging cyber threats.

By Hank Nelson, Cyber-Development Specialist with Digital Frontiers

Filed Under: Solutions
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