African countries build capacity on cybersecurity

Sixty-five participants from 32 countries are attending a forum in Accra to promote cybersecurity capacity building in Africa.

Dubbed Africa Cyber Experts (ACE) Community Kick-Off Meeting, it is on the theme “Setting the Scene for Cybersecurity Status in Africa.”

Organised by the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, African Union, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), the maiden meeting which started on Wednesday was also for all AU member states to showcase their statuses of cybersecurity.

The countries included Ghana, Mauritania, Benin, Spain, Serbia, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Togo, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Malawi.

Others are Zambia, Mozambique, Somalia, The Gambia, Ethiopia, Botswana, Morocco, Niger, Sahrawi Arab Republic, Algeria, Lesotho, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau and South Africa.

The Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in a statement read on her behalf by her deputy, Ms Ama Pomaa Boateng, expressed her gratitude to the AU and the GFCE for choosing Ghana to host the meeting.

“It is an indication of the confidence you have in Ghana’s commitment to cybersecurity development, both at home and across the world,” she added.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful noted that cyber-attacks had serious implications on socio-economic development and the national security of countries.

She indicated that many people have experienced cybersecurity incidents including online fraud, blackmail, impersonation and identity theft, publication of non-consensual intimate images, unauthorised access, social engineering scams, and hacking into protected systems.

MrsOwusu-Ekufulsaid it was for that reason the government through the ministry was working closely with other relevant ministries and agencies, international partners and private sector stakeholders and was committed in its efforts to ensure that various digitalisation interventions rolled out were secured.

In view of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), she said the continent needed directions in cybersecurity as that was a collective responsibility to increase awareness and capacity building among member states.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful pledged the country’s resolve to support, collaborate and learn from other African states “as we work together to secure Africa’s digital ecosystem.”

The Acting Director-General, CSA,Dr AlbertAntwi-Bosiako, in his remarks similarly said Ghana being the host of the event meant a lot as it formed part of our national strategy to work with our peers on the continent to improve collective capacity to mitigate cybercrimes and other cybersecurity challenges.

He therefore stressed the authority’s support and commitment to developing the community of ACEs to be able to support our respective governments to address the current state of cyber insecurity being experienced on the continent.

Dr Antwi-Bosiako also recommended the inclusion of African private sector cybersecurity actors in subsequent gatherings to promote public-private sector development of continental capacity building programmes.

“Capacity building on the continent should be homegrown, developed, and owned by Africans and I believe this group has been established to lead us to achieve these goals,” he added.

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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