Mr Moctar Yedaly, the Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building (GC3B), Special Envoy, has called on African governments to expand policies and regulations that address issues relating to digital safety on the continent.
He said African governments needed comprehensive cybersecurity policies and frameworks to harness the potential of the ecosystem for development.
He said stakeholders must collaborate beyond the continent fostering partnerships on cybersecurity research to address threats in the cybersecurity space.
Mr Yedaly made the call at the launch of the 2023 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in Accra on the theme: “Promoting a Culture of Digital Safety” organised by the Cyber Security Authority and the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation.
It was to highlight the importance of cultivating a collective mindset and behaviour that value and promote responsible online practices, cybersecurity awareness and the protection of personal information.
This year’s event aimed to promote a culture of cybersecurity among children, the youth, and Ghanaians in general about the importance of digital safety, online risk, and potential consequences of unsafe digital practices and to encourage the reporting of cybercrimes and cybersecurity incidents.
He said education was the cornerstone of digital safety and there was the need to invest in the knowledge of the younger generation to enable them to unleash their potential.
He said as the continent embraced the benefits and attractions of the digital space, it had to pay particular attention to threats by fostering innovation to combat some of them, adding that digital safety had become paramount for children and institutions.
Mr Albert Kan Dapaah, National Security Minister said the digital realm had become an integral part of people’s daily lives, transforming the way they communicate, conduct business, and access information.
He said that while the technological revolution brought immense benefits, it had also exposed the continent to unprecedented risks.
“From cyberattacks on critical infrastructure to the proliferation of misinformation, the digital landscape presents challenges that demand our utmost attention,” he added.
The Minister said Africa was catching up fast in terms of connectivity; a double-edged sword that creates both development opportunities and threats to people’s security and that of their property.
He said, “We need a multi-faceted approach that involves government, industry, and the public working together to protect the country’s digital infrastructure and also empower every individual to navigate the online world securely.”
He said the government had a crucial role to play in creating a secure digital environment, including investing in robust cybersecurity measures to protect critical infrastructure, data, and government networks.
“We must also strengthen our cyber-defence capabilities to respond swiftly and decisively to cyber threats,” he added.
Additionally, we should continue to collaborate with international partners to combat cybercrime and promote global cybersecurity norms.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, said the annual event was of great significance as it allowed the country to reflect upon the growing realm of cybersecurity, which was critical to ensuring our nation’s resilience and security in today’s digital age.
She said the cybersecurity industry was a rapidly evolving one presenting stakeholders with increased opportunities and challenges.
The Minister said even with priority placed on protecting electronic information, there was ample reason for businesses, organisations, and the public to be concerned.
Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said Ghana was working to strengthen its legal and policy regime to address Online Child Sexual Exploitation and abuse.
In August this year, advocates in the child protection ecosystem collaborated with global experts under the auspices of the Cyber Security Authority to brainstorm on firming up the laws on Child Online Protection in the development of a legislative Instrument (L.I.) to the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038).
She said this would further support the implementation of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 and allow the Authority to carry out its mandate successfully.
“Still regards to Child Online Protection, the CSA has intensified its education of cybersecurity best practices among Children over the years with more than 136,000 children sensitised across the 16 regions of Ghana.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said as part of the achievements over the period, a Cybercrime/Cybersecurity Incident Reporting Point of Contact, deployed in 2019.
It provides citizens with multiple avenues and channels for reporting cyber-related incidents and has so far received about 41, 285 contacts, with 3,584 (9 per cent) being categorised as incidents and 37,559 (91 per cent) reported as direct advisories.