Originally, OPCDE started in 2017 as a cybersecurity conference with a name derived from “opcode”, a generic term for processor instructions. What began as an industry specific cybersecurity conference has evolved through involvement in initiatives such as AfricaHackOn in Kenya, to a larger project dubbed as to OPeration Community Development & Empowerment.
Our key focus is to support grassroots tech projects and communities in vulnerable and low-income communities by leveraging opportunities via our network of expertise and raising awareness around cybersecurity.
According to the United Nations, many of the poorest nations in the world are located in Africa, South and Central Asia with these regions suffering from inadequate infrastructure, lack of foreign investment, and political turmoil. However, at the same time these regions are deemed the fastest growing economies in l the world.
32% of the population in 33 of the least developed countries is made up of “youth population” (up to the age of 25) as defined by the United Nations. Africa alone has the youngest population in the world. In 2017, the continent was home to over 1.2 billion people, 60% of which were under the age of 25. The population of Africa is projected to double by 2050 to around 2.4 billion people. Developing countries’s growing youth population comes with high energy, creativity and talent, which are also the key to future prosperity.
Youth account for 60% of all African unemployed, according to the World Bank. In North Africa, the youth unemployment rate is an eyebrow-raising 30%. It is even worse in Botswana, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, South Africa and several other countries.
Most emerging countries are already addressing tomorrow’s these challenges through innovation in multiple sectors with a growing tech start-up scene on the African continent or in Palestine, a great potential for decentralized energies and mini-grids addressing energy challenges left unsolved by big energy corporates like electrification of rural areas or providing energy to poor population, innovative banking models (MPESA success story in Africa) and by being a more and more connected and closing the gap in terms of digital development by achieving universal internet connectivity.
However low-income countries along with these sectors of innovation are deemed vulnerable and prime targets for organized groups and nation-state cyber threat actors due to the lack of control around infrastructure and financial institutions. As we have seen in September in the FBI complaint report stating that several African banks have been hacked. Thus, it is imperative to equip local talents, and build a network and knowledge base to mitigate those threats.
CTF participants @ OPCDE Dubai 2017
There are multiple ways to get involved with OPCDEx. Under a free license granted by OPCDE, local communities can independently start their own OPCDEx chapters or local groups can partner to establish OPCDEx platforms.
OPCDEx license grants permission to establish one (or more) of the below categories:
- OPCDEx Circles – start a physical and virtual meet-up group
- OPCDEx Workshops – organize virtual or physical technical workshops
- OPCDEx Conference – standard: organize a one-day, single-track, once-a-year conference
- OPCDEx Conference – university: organize an event at your university
- OPCDEx Internal – for your organization: organize an event for your institution (NGOs, Government, Newsroom, etc).
The OPCDEx aims to empower participants through:
- Gathering (Meet-Ups, Workshops, Conference)
- Participation to international conference under one umbrella
- Building local pools of experts
- Supporting and mentoring youth
- Enabling opportunities
- Providing more visibility to local projects and initiatives
If you are interested and want to participate, stay tuned for further announcements by joining our OPCDEx Slack and contacting Matt Suiche @msuiche on the main channel.