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Ghana, Council of Europe to mitigate impact of AI

Ghana has pledged its commitment to work closely with the Council of Europe to mitigate the disruptive impact of Artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems to include of learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.

Minister of Communication, Ursula Owusu Ekuful in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 21st T-CY Plenary in Strasbourg, France solicited the support of the international community to make the most of the technology while reducing its negative impact particularly on the labour front.

Mrs Owusu Ekuful who raised concerns over cyber security threats in recent times outlined efforts by her outfit to address such challenges including capacity building for data protection officers and draft of a cybersecurity bill.

Capacity building for public sector officials including ministers of state, Members of Parliament (MPs), chief directors, and officials from the Drafting Division of the Office of the Attorney General, according to the minister, would ensure effective understanding and collaboration among stakeholders on the Bill. 

Inviting the Council of Europe to review the bill as part of stakeholder engagement processes, the minister indicated that the bill is intended to meet Ghana’s domestic requirements and also international conventions, including the Budapest Convention of which Ghana was a party to.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful indicated Ghana’s commitment to accede to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Data Protection  in line with the selection of Ghana to host the secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area ((AfCFTA) announced earlier this week.  

Ghana, she noted, would lead sub-regional efforts to get countries on the continent to ratify both the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention) and the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention).

The Director of Information Society of the Council of Europe, Jan Kleijssen, commended Ghana on its leading role in the fight against cybercrime and ensuring data protection.

He also applauded Ghana for ratifying the Budapest Convention, Malabo Convention and hosting the widely acclaimed first ever International Data Protection and Privacy Conference for the Africa region recently.

In his capacity as the official coordinator on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Council, Mr Kleijssen, mentioned the impact of AI on human rights and ethical issues adding that discussions are ongoing to develop a convention on AI, and invited Ghana to join in the ongoing efforts.

He also extended a special invitation to the sector minister to participate in the global cybercrime conference, Octopus Conference, scheduled for November 20 to 22, 2019. 

On her part, Deputy Secretary-General of the Council, Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni said Ghana had been selected as a hub for capacity building in the area of cybercrime and electronic evidence among the English-speaking West Africa countries.

She cited political commitment by the Ghanaian authorities and the expertise developed through the GLACY+ programme in which criminal justice practitioners have been trained as the basis for the Council’s decision.

Ms Battaini-Dragoni commended the excellent work already being done by the trained Ghanaian judges, prosecutors and other officials in building the capacity of their peers on the continent and beyond.

She praised the work of the Cybercrime Programmes Office, headed by Mr Alexander Seger, for the work being done in getting African countries to accede to the Budapest Convention requesting that Ghana contributes to the drafting of the 2nd Protocol on the Cybercrime Convention and participate in the various study groups of the Cybercrime Convention Committee (TCY).

Ghana will work with Council of Europe to mitigate the disruptive impact of AI technologies – Ursula

Ghana’s Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, l has held bilateral meetings withtheDeputySecretary-GeneraloftheCouncilofEurope,GabriellaBattaini-Dragoni, the Director of Information Society, Jan Kleijssen, the Head of the Cybercrime Convention, Alexander Segeron the sidelines of the 21st T-CY Plenary in Strasbourg, France on a possible collaboration between Ghana and the Council of Europe to mitigate the disruptive impact of Artificial intelligence.

Remarking during the meeting, Mr. Kleijssen commended Ghana on its leading role in the fight against cybercrime and ensuring data protection and applauded Ghana for ratifying the Budapest Convention, Malabo Convention and hosting the widely acclaimed first ever  International Data Protection and Privacy Conferencefor the Africa region  recently in Ghana (from the 27th – 28th June 2019).

As the official coordinator on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the Council of Europe, he also mentioned the impact of AI on human rights and ethical issues and added that there are discussions at the level of the Council of Europe to develop a Convention on Artificial Intelligence, and invited Ghana to join in on the ongoing efforts.

He also extended a special invitation to Mrs. Owusu Ekuful to participate in the global cybercrime conference, Octopus Conferencescheduled from the 20th to the 22nd of November, 2019. 

On her part, Ms Battaini-Dragoni said the Council of Europe has selected Ghana as the hub for Capacity building in the area of cybercrime and electronic evidence among the English-speaking West Africa countries.

She cited political commitment by the Ghanaian authorities and the expertise developed through the GLACY+ programme in which criminal justice practitioners have been trained as Trainers, as the basis for the Council’s decision. She commended the excellent work being done already by thetrained Ghanaian judges, prosecutors and other officials in building the capacity on their peers on the continent and beyond.

She praised the work of the Cybercrime Programmes Office, headed by Mr. Alexander Seger, for the work being done in getting African countries to accede to the Budapest Convention.

She invited Ghana to ratify the Convention on Data Protection. She also requested Ghana to contribute to the drafting of the 2nd Protocol to the Cybercrime Convention, and participate in the various study groups of the Cybercrime Convention Committee (TCY).

In her response, Mrs. Owusu Ekuful spoke on the current training for Data Protection Officers and indicated the need for institutional support for the Data Protection Commission.

She also mentioned that Ghana has developed a draft Cybersecurity Bill and invited  the Council of Europe to review it and as part of the stakeholder engagement processes for their comments and inputs. The Minister indicated that the Bill is intended to meet Ghana’s domestic requirements and also international conventions, including the Budapest Convention of which Ghana is a state party.

She further emphasized the need for cybersecurity capacity building for public sector officials including Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), Chief Directors, and Officials from the Drafting Division of the office of the Attorney General to ensure effective understanding and collaboration among stakeholders on the Bill. 

Mrs. Owusu Ekuful however, raised potential concerns with the impact of Artificial Intelligence on jobs but also potential cybersecurity concerns and disruptive impact of AI technologies. She indicated the Government of Ghana’s commitment to working with the International Community, including the Council of Europe, to mitigate the disruptive impact of AI technologies while utilizing its immense benefits.

She indicated Ghana’s commitment to accede to the Council of Europe’s Convention on Data Protection as this is in line with the selection of Ghana to host the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area ((AfCFTA) which was announced early this week.  

According to the communication minister, Ghana will lead sub-regional efforts to get countries on the continent to ratify both the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection (Malabo Convention) and the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention).

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