AFRICAN COUNTRIES CALL ON GHANA’S CYBER SECURITY AUTHORITY (CSA) FOR COLLABORATION AND SUPPORT
Three African countries, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Mozambique have called on the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) for collaboration and support for the development of cybersecurity in their respective countries.
The courtesy calls were by leading officials of the cybersecurity institutions of these countries on the side-lines of the Africa Union (AU) - Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) Africa Cyber Experts Kick-Off Meeting in March 2022 in Accra and as part of improving bilateral relations with Ghana.
Within the last five years, Ghana has taken progressive steps towards the development of cybersecurity in the country, and these include the ratification of international treaties like the Convention on Cybercrime also known as the Budapest Convention and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security & Personal Data Protection also known as the Malabo convention. Ghana has also ensured the institutionalisation of cybersecurity to foster regional cooperation through the adoption of the ECOWAS’ Regional Cybersecurity Cybercrime Strategy and the Regional Critical Infrastructure (CII) Protection Policy to strengthen Ghana’s international response in fighting cybercrime and to improve on cybersecurity.
Recognising these and other initiatives, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in its 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), rated Ghana’s Cybersecurity development at 86.69%, a major progress from previous ratings in 2017 which was 32.6%. The ratings place Ghana 3rd on the African continent and 43rd globally; a development that has positioned Ghana as a leader in cybersecurity on the continent and hence a model for other African countries to learn from.
The Ag. Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, who likened the visits to Ghana’s post-independence era, indicated that, Ghana’s modest but significant cybersecurity development will be meaningless if other African countries do not develop along the same line as nations are interconnected and cyber insecurity in one country has a real impact on another country. The CSA, he said, is ready to collaborate and also to learn from other African countries to develop critical areas such as awareness creation, home-grown capacity building and the protection of critical information infrastructure, among others. According to the Ag Director-General, CSA’s mandate on international cooperation is provided under Section 83 of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038). Dr Antwi-Boasiako added that cyber is a global commodity and thus cybercrime can only be combatted through effective international collaborations.
A Mozambiquan delegation of three from the National Information and Communications Technology Institute (INTIC) led by Prof. Lourino Alberto Chemane, Chairman of the Board of the National Information and Communication Technology; expressed their interest in learning from Ghana’s experience in cybersecurity development and in establishing a relationship with the CSA. The delegation further requested the CSA to guide them through the required guidelines to enable them to ratify the Budapest Convention, which Ghana has already ratified, and to assist Mozambique to implement their Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy. The parties agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding for cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries to initiate collaborations.
A three-man delegation from the Gambia, led by the Managing Director of the Gambia Telecommunications Company Limited, Mr. Lamin A. Tunkara, indicated that they were “on a mission to acquire knowledge and to seek partnerships with the CSA”. They expressed confidence in Ghana’s efforts in developing cybersecurity and stated their interest to have some cyber experts from Ghana to visit them in The Gambia and to train their personnel. The delegation further requested the assistance of Ghana to put in place strategies that will help them to protect their critical information infrastructure. Both parties agreed that it was necessary for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be signed between the two institutions to facilitate the engagements.
The Deputy Director-General of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) of Sierra Leone, Mr. Amara Brewah, led a two-man delegation to visit the CSA. He said they see Ghana as a leader in cybersecurity development on the continent and want to collaborate and learn from Ghana’s experiences. He expressed their interest to learn more about Ghana’s National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Ecosystem, Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII), Child Online Protection (COP), and the “Safer Digital Ghana” awareness creation programme. In order to formalise the discussions, the CSA and the Sierra Leonean delegation agreed to facilitate the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The CSA through the Ag. Director-General, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako expressed interest to collaborate with NATCOM to support their cybersecurity development in the areas they had requested.
The Ag. Director-General, expressed his appreciation to the delegation for their visit and assured them of CSA’s commitment to collaborate and achieve a truly secured and resilient digital Africa.