Israel enters World Bank partnership to boost cybersecurity in developing world

Israel enters World Bank partnership to boost cybersecurity in developing world

Startup Nation joins Japan, UK, Scandinavians and others in providing funds and mentors to assist Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia to avert threats

(Illustrative image of a hacker; supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)
(Illustrative image of a hacker; supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)

Israel on Monday said it has joined the Digital Development Partnership (DDP) of the World Bank to promote digitalization and cybersecurity in the developing world.

By joining the partnership, Israel will for the first time join hands with a global community of developers from Japan, the UK, Finland, Denmark, and Norway and entities like the GSMA, a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, to provide technical assistance to countries in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia, and build up their cybersecurity resilience.

As part of the agreement with the World Bank, Israel will contribute $1 million into the partnership’s multi-donor trust fund to get access to shared information and developments. In parallel, Israel will make its entrepreneurs and academics available to offer advice and sharing their knowledge with developing countries.

“There is a great demand from African and Asian countries for Israeli knowledge of cybersecurity,” said Yigal Unna, the director general of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, in a statement. “The agreement will allow the Israeli cyber industry and academy to contribute from its vast knowledge and will continue to position Israel at the forefront of global action in the field of cyber capabilities.”

Yigal Unna, director general at the Israel National Cyber Directorate, speaking at Cybertech 2018, January 30, 2018 (Gilad Kavalerchij)

Unna signed the agreement for the partnership last month in Washington with the World Banks’s vice president for Infrastructure, Makhtar Diop.

As the world becomes digitalized and more and more companies rely on digital networks and cloud storage systems, and everyday objects from cars to fridges get connected to the internet, the threat of cybersecurity threats is surging. Israel is considered a leader in cybersecurity and many of the world’s largest companies have opened R&D centers here or snapped up Israeli startups to keep abreast of cybersecurity threats.

The global cybersecurity market is expected to grow from some $153 billion in 2018 to $248 billion by 2023, according to data firm MarketsandMarkets, with the major forces driving growth stemming from the strict data protection directives issued by the European Union and growing cyber terrorism.

Investments in cybersecurity firms in Israel crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2018 as interest by foreign investors surged, a January report by Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks Israel’s tech industry, showed. Israel’s cyber industry is second only to that of the US, taking 20 percent of the overall venture-backed cyber investments worldwide, according to an analysis of PitchBook and Start-Up Nation Central databases.

“The World Bank Group, and the DDP as its pro-active arm in the digital arena, is an important channel to expand the global cyber protection and extend the Israeli expertise to new places that are in need of it,” said Ohad Cohen, trade commissioner at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, in the statement. “The end goal of this collaboration is to mainstream cyber protection in any development initiative that is using digital space as a platform to close the development gap in the world.”

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