The 2023 edition of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was officially launched by the Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitialisation, Hon. Ama Pomaa Boateng on Monday, October 2, 2023, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Accra, marking the beginning of the month-long programme to raise awareness on cybercrimes and to improve Ghana’s cybersecurity practices among Children, the Public, Businesses, and the Government.

The National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM, 2023), which is on the theme “Promoting a Culture of Digital Safety”, reflects the commitment of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation, through the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), to strategically position Ghana’s cybersecurity readiness and to sensitise the public on the need to take digital security seriously.

Among others, the theme seeks to highlight the importance of cultivating a collective mindset and behaviour that values and promotes responsible online practices, cybersecurity awareness, and the protection of personal information. It is also expected to promote a culture of cybersecurity and provide individuals with knowledge and skills to protect themselves online.

The priority areas for the month-long programme include the Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure (CII), National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Operations, Protection of Children and Young People and the General Public Online, stakeholder engagements on the Licensing and Accreditation regulatory exercise, and engagements with the Joint Cybersecurity Committee (JCC) institutions.

In his welcome address, the Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, stated that cybersecurity had become a priority for nations across the globe due to the fast-evolving nature of cybercrime and the shift of criminals from traditional to more complex digital crimes.

This year, the Authority increased awareness activities of best cyber hygiene practices among Children, the Public, Businesses, and the Government. Dr. Antwi-Boasiako observed that promoting a culture of digital safety for the government means protecting the digital assets of the country including the personal data of the citizens.

He stressed that the government also has the responsibility to provide leadership and commitment to building a sound and resilient ecosystem, including providing education and adequate support.

The CSA, according to the Director General, is currently implementing several regulatory activities including the licensing of Cybersecurity Service Providers (CSPs), accreditation of Cybersecurity Establishments (CEs), and Cybersecurity Professionals (CPs). He noted that for the first time in the history of Ghana, there are reliable records of CSPs, CEs and CPs who are operating in the country through the accreditation and licensing process which commenced in March 2023.

As of the end of September 2023, a total of 134 institutions had registered to apply for licenses as CSPs, 41 applications received to be accredited as CEs and 732 applications submitted for accreditation as CPs.

Antwi-Boasiako commended industry players for their continued support and commitment to the success of the licensing and accreditation regulatory exercise.

For his part, the Minister of National Security, Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, said Africa was catching up fast in terms of connectivity, a development he described as a double-edged sword that had created opportunities and threats that called for the need for users of digital tools to be mindful of their cyberspace to stay protected.

Launching NCSAM 2023, Hon. Pomaa Boateng, representing the Sector Minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, described the annual event as significant as it allowed citizens to reflect upon the growing realm of cybersecurity, which is critical to ensuring the nation's resilience and security in the digital age.

Hon. Boateng expressed optimism that the knowledge shared through the 2023 NCSAM would help the Public, Businesses, and Government appreciate the ongoing work of the CSA. “The CSA has taken several key measures, including the establishment of a Directive for the Protection of Critical Information Infrastructure, which highlights the baseline cybersecurity requirements, incident response and reporting mechanisms, as well as audit and compliance procedures for all designated CII owners,” the Deputy Minister stated.

The Special Envoy for the Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building (GC3B), Mr. Moctar Ahmed Yedaly, in delivering the keynote address, called for a comprehensive and unified cybersecurity structure in Africa to enable the continent to respond swiftly to regional cyber threats.

Speaking to the NCSAM theme, Mr. Yedaly, who is also the African Programme Director of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), noted that education was a serious consideration for the achievement of digital safety in Africa and the world at large, stressing that “the rise of cybersecurity attacks calls for immediate action and unity in combating them."

Other notable speakers were the Founder and President of Ashesi University, Dr. Patrick Awuah and Deputy Country Representative of UNICEF, Mr. Fiachra McAsey.

Among the dignitaries at the official launch were members of the Joint Cybersecurity Committee (JCC), members of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), High Commissioners, Ambassadors and representatives of Nigeria, Denmark, Togo, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, Rwanda and France.