When the UK Government wanted to help five developing markets improve digital safety, they came to KPMG to help lead the project. Here’s how KPMG maximised their impact.

The challenge: Help protect hundreds of millions of people from cyber threats

The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) wanted to improve digital access and safety in five key developing markets. The first pillar of their plan involved investing some £60 million into making connectivity more affordable and accessible. The second pillar £10m, was focused on helping those markets become more cyber-savvy, safe and resilient. It would be the UK’s largest overseas cyber capacity building project in history. KPMG led this second Pillar.

The challenge was massive, yet the resources were finite. The FCDO wanted to find projects that would deliver out-sized, sustained impact. At the same time, they were keen to encourage a mix of risk, innovation, scale and ambition in the projects they developed. They would require strong relationships at the local level in order to operationalise and monitor their projects. Most importantly, they wanted to achieve real outcomes for their investments.

This ambitious contract was the UK’s largest international cyber capacity-building programme to date. It involved a diverse consortium of 21 suppliers across six countries – from small NGOs to academics to specialist cyber firms. And it was all co-ordinated by KPMG. Together, we worked to address the significant impacts of cyber threats in developing countries, preventing harm to citizens and businesses.

Jemima Hodkinson, Head of CSSF Cyber Programme
Cyber Policy Department, FCDO

The insight: Experienced global leadership with deep local capabilities

From project identification, planning and design through to delivery and monitoring, the FCDO trusted KPMG to deliver on their overall objectives. We had worked on similar government programmes before. And we knew that the success of this programme would rest on our ability to develop a rigorous commissioning and selection process as well as building trust with cyber leaders in the target countries.

Leveraging our experience and insight, we helped the FCDO whittle the opportunities down to 16 projects. We talked with partner governments, gender and social inclusion experts, cybercrime specialists, local experts and FCDO in-market leaders to ensure we were maximising impact. And we recruited a large number of local organisations to serve as local delivery partners.

What made KPMG uniquely suited to help the FCDO with this project wasn’t just the firm’s extensive network which stretched into each of the target markets and elements of cyber. It was also our deep experience managing large, complex projects for government entities. We fielded a multi-disciplinary team with the right capabilities and insights to deliver on the FCDO’s objectives. And we brought the right tools and technologies – including robust governance dashboards – to drive project success.

That KPMG was able to achieve all of this during the height of the COVID pandemic speaks volumes to the effort and commitment their team put into this project. Their dashboard turned complexity into simplicity. And their advice allowed us to shape the programme in ways that truly maximised the value we could generate from the resources we had. It’s incredible what’s been achieved.

Andrew Dinsley SRO, CSSF Cyber Portfolio Manager
Cyber Policy Department, FCDO

The opportunity: A safer, more accessible digital world

The projects were a resounding success. We trained judges to help improve cyber prosecutions. We bolstered small businesses’ cyber defences. We provided cybersecurity training for government staff. We stood up a new Data Protection Commissioner Office. And we created a national cybersecurity school curriculum. In Brazil, our materials reached up to 120 million people. In South Africa, we helped train more than 150,000 police officers on the Cybercrime Act. One project in Nigeria reached more than 10 percent of the population.

I heard about the programme just after a fellow business owner had lost a huge sum of money to fraudsters online. So I seized the opportunity to participate in the online training that was being offered. I wish I had this information before my friend lost all her money. But I am glad that I will be better prepared for the next time it happens.

Small business owner, Nigeria

While the programme itself delivered out-sized, sustainable impacts, the blueprint it created is now being considered for other markets – including Ukraine and India – suggesting significant opportunity to generate even greater value for the FCDO and its partner markets. And, ultimately, that helps create a safer and more resilient digital world for everyone.