Let’s cooperate to combat cyber crime in Africa – President

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called for regional co-operation to combat cyber crime in Africa.

He said considering the borderless nature of cyber crime, there was the need for countries in the sub-region to come together to combat the menace.

President Akufo-Addo said this in Accra yesterday in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery during the formal opening of the climax of the 2019 National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC).

The third and week-long programme, attended by the  Ministers of Communications and Technology in West Africa, members of the diplomatic corps, personnel from the various security services, digital technology experts, digital technology companies, students and a cross section of the public,  was on the theme “Demonstrating  Ghana’s cyber security readiness.”

Opening the programme, the President said it had become necessary for the countries in Africa to co-operate on cyber security issues since cyber attacks were not limited to one country.

He said cyber attacks would have serious national implications on the respective African country, stressing that the use of the internet and cyber space for criminal activities such as terrorism, human trafficking and drug trade were concerns to the security and stability, economic, social and political order globally.

He said following the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) electronic commerce across Africa was estimated to reach about $75 billion by 2025.

“As a result of the AfCFTA becoming the largest trading bloc in the world, replacing the World Trade Organisation, we will not be exempt from cyber attacks and we are therefore privy to the need to secure our ICT platforms.  We must continue to fortify our efforts to abate and mitigate the effects of cyber crime on our digital systems.”

President Akufo-Addo pledged that Ghana would continue to lead the way and champion cybersecurity efforts in the African region.

Ghana is among few African countries which had signed the Malabo and Budapest conventions to protect the personal data of citizens and combat cyber crime.

President Akufo-Addo said since assuming office, the government had been working to transform the economy into a self-reliant one, hence the country’s reference to a Ghana beyond Aid, which would be driven by technology.

“Some of these initiatives include Digital Property Addressing System, National Identification System, Paperless Port System, e-Justice System, e-Procurement System, Mobile Money Interoperability System, Integrated Tax Application and Preparation System, among other e-government initiatives,” he said.

The President said the National Cyber Security Bill would soon be passed into law, indicating the law would help to establish a national security authority and a cyber security fund to raise financial resources to fund cyber security programmes.

He encouraged the country’s cyber security organisations to up their game to protect the country’s cyber security infrastructure and protect the country from cyber attacks.

The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in her remarks said her outfit had developed robust cyber security systems and infrastructure to protect the country from cyber attacks.

She said with the increasing adoption of Information Communication Technology and proliferation of electronic products and services, the country could not be immune to cyber attacks and hence the country had to protect itself from cyber attacks.

By Kingsley Asare

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