On 17 March 2023, the ECOWAS Commission’s Directorate of Digital Economy & Post with support from the European Union funded ECOWAS project – Organised Crime: West African Response on Cyber-security and fight against Cybercrime (OCWAR-C) demonstrated its commitment and willingness to educate ECOWAS staff on the risks associated with cyberspace through a cyber-security and digital hygiene sensitisation campaign held at the Commission’s main conference hall.
Addressing the audience, on behalf of the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy & Digitalisation, Dr. Kouame Raphael Koffi, the Director for Digital Economy & Post stated that the use of technology has paved the way for criminals to use the internet to conduct cybercrimes. He recounted the FBI report which cited Nigeria as among the top twenty (20) countries in the world targeted by cybercrime in 2020. He indicated that in 2021, cybercrime reduced the GDP of Africa by 10% which is estimated at four (4) billion US dollars. He added that private and public institutions are not exempted.
He ended by highlighting that human error was involved in more than 90% of cybercrime incidents, and it is for this reason that the Directorate of Digital Economy & Post deemed it fit to sensitise staff on the importance of good digital hygiene.
The campaign provided insights into why the Commission needs to increase and strengthen its efforts to ensure staff online activities are protected within ECOWAS Institutions and Agencies.
Presentations were made on a number of different cyber-security incidents, tactics and methods used to steal data, hack accounts, disseminate false and fake information and corrupt organisations networks and different steps to take to avoid or protect individuals or organisations from these cybercriminals. The campaign ended with a live interactive quiz to gauge the understanding of participants.
The event had participation from the European Union Delegation in Nigeria and ECOWAS and Expertise France the implementing agency for the OCWAR-C project.