3. Cybercrime in Commonwealth West Africa and the Regional Cyber-Criminogenic Framework

Tim Hall, Department of Policing, Criminology and Forensics, University of Winchester (Winchester, UK)
Ulrike Ziemer, Department of Social Sciences, University of Winchester (Winchester, UK)

Cybercrime can, in theory, be carried out from anywhere in the world connected to the internet. Despite this, cybercrime displays markedly uneven patterns of perpetration across space. There is a nascent, multidisciplinary literature that has begun to engage with the questions of cybercrime’s spatialities. This literature, at its heart, sees cybercrime as the product of the spatial co-presence of certain cyber-criminogenic combinations of conditions that occur unevenly across space. It advances versions of what we might call, ‘a regional cyber-criminogenic thesis’. However, this literature remains relatively sparse, and its diversity has precluded any sustained cross-disciplinary dialogue from emerging. There is, for example, some discord within this literature around which combinations of conditions it identifies as potentially cyber-criminogenic, but, to date, no substantive cross-disciplinary scrutiny of these differences has emerged.

This paper attempts to address this by articulating a regional cyber-criminogenic framework, accommodating perspectives from across this literature, which identifies eight potentially cybercriminogenic conditions. The paper specifically considers the relevance of the regional cyber-criminogenic framework to Commonwealth nations. It includes an overview of cybercrime and the Commonwealth and then applies the framework to Ghana and Nigeria specifically, to examine the conditions that facilitate the development of cybercrime there. The paper also briefly considers the application of this framework to Commonwealth anti-cybercrime policy.