2021 NCSAM successfully deliberates on the Cybersecurity Act 2020

The 7th Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, on November 06, 2020, passed the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), which was subsequently assented into law by the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on December 29, 2020. The Act provided a legal basis for the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) with a mandate to regulate cybersecurity activities in the country, promote the development of cybersecurity in the country and to provide for related matters.

As part of measures to effectively implement Act 1038, the erstwhile National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD), now Cyber Security Authority (as of October 1, 2021) sought to leverage on the 2021 edition of the annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) to raise awareness and build capacity on the Act through the theme “Ghana's Cybersecurity Act 2020; Its Implications and the Role of Stakeholders.”

NCSAM 2021(1st-31st October 2021), therefore sought to engage with relevant stakeholders to deliberate on the Act, its implications, and the role of different stakeholders in its implementation. A series of events were held with industry players, civil society, schools, and other key strategic partners during the month of October, some extending into November 2021.

The first major event was the formal launch of the NCSAM 2021, the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), and the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) Directive by the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD), Hon. Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful. The event took place on Friday, October 1, 2021, at the 2nd floor of the NCA Tower in Accra. The honourable Minister further unveiled the logo of the CSA together with other dignitaries present.

To grace the occasion were key stakeholders from government and non-government institutions including the National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council, the Joint Cybersecurity Committee, CII owners, partners, the media fraternity, and Ghana's cybersecurity international partners. Mrs. Owusu-Ekuful informed the participants that 189 institutions in 13 sectors of the country had been identified and designated as Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) and must be protected from cyber-attacks based on Section 35-40 of the Cybersecurity Act. The 13 designated CII sectors are National Security and Intelligence, Government, Energy, Water, Health, Food and Agriculture, Education, Emergency Services, ICT, Manufacturing, Mining, Banking and Finance, Transportation.

Consequently, a forum with Cybersecurity Service Providers and Professionals was held on 11th October 2021. The highly patronized event was an opportunity for the players in the industry to appreciate the provisions of the cybersecurity Act that have direct bearing on their profession and the industry at large. The discussions centered on among other things, the establishment of an Industry forum as provided for in Section 81 of the Act and the need for all Cybersecurity professionals and practitioners to be accredited and licensed by the CSA as mandated by Section 57 of Act 1038.

Forum on Women in Technology and Cybersecurity was another flagship and highly inspiring event held on 25th October 2021. This event, moderated by the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Hon. Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful, provided a platform for women who had excelled in the area of technology and cyber security to share their experiences and to challenge other ladies to seek and develop careers in the technology and cybersecurity space.
The panel was composed of Mrs. Patricia Obo-Nai, Chief Executive Officer, Vodafone Ghana, Ms. Folake Olagunju, Programmes Officer, Internet and Cybersecurity, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ms. Farida Bedwei, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Logiciel, Mrs. Adoma Peprah, Country Manager, Ghana VISA, and Mrs. Lucy Quist, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley.

The Acting Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako was also actively involved with various scheduled events as part of NCSAM 2021, engaging with a number of stakeholders in different parts of the country.
He delivered lectures and presentations on the Cyber Security Act, to specific groups urging them to see cybersecurity issues as a critical national issue that has effects on national security as well as the social and economic wellbeing of the people.Among the groups he engaged with on the Act were, the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the Chief Executives Officers under the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA), Regional Security Councils (REGSEC), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Ghana Bar Association, the members of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Dr. Antwi-Boasiako also joined sector experienced resource persons to train personnel from the Criminal Justice Sector in both Accra and Kumasi.

In all the thought-leadership sessions, workshops, lectures, demonstrations, training sessions, and media engagements, the message remained that, the joint effort of all stakeholders is required to effectively implement the Cybersecurity Act for the safety of Children, businesses, the general public and government.