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 countries.
They made the appeals during courtesy calls by officials of the cybersecurity institutions of the 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, to improve bilateral relations with Ghana.
Within the last five years, Ghana has taken progressive steps towards the development of cybersecurity in the country.
They 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 per cent, a major progress from previous ratings in 2017, which was 32.6 per cent.
The ratings placed 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.
Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, the Acting Director-General of the CSA, who likened the visits to Ghana’s post-independence era, indicated that, Ghana’s modest but significant cybersecurity development would be meaningless if other African countries did not develop along the same line.
That, he said, was because nations were interconnected and cyber insecurity in one country had a real impact on another country.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako said the CSA was ready to collaborate and 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.
The Acting Director-General said CSA’s mandate on international cooperation was provided under Section 83 of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038).
He said “cyber” was a global commodity and thus cybercrime could only be combatted through effective international collaborations.
A Mozambiquan delegation from the National Information and Communications Technology Institute (INTIC), Mozambique, led by Professor Lourino Alberto Chemane, Chairman of the Board of the National Information and Communication Technology, expressed 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 it to ratify the Budapest Convention and to assist Mozambique to implement its Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy.
The parties agreed to draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries to initiate collaborations.
A three-man delegation from the Gambia, led by Mr Lamin A. Tunkara, the Managing Director of the Gambia Telecommunications Company Limited, said they were “on a mission to acquire knowledge and to seek partnerships with the CSA.”
The delegation requested the assistance of Ghana to put in place strategies that would help the Gambia to protect its critical information infrastructure.
Both parties agreed that it was necessary for an MoU to be signed between the two institutions to facilitate the engagements.
Mr Amara Brewah, the Deputy Director-General of the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM) of Sierra Leone, led a two-man delegation to visit the CSA.
He said they saw Ghana as a leader in cybersecurity development on the continent and wanted to collaborate and learn from Ghana’s experiences.
He said they would want 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.
To formalise the discussions, the CSA and the Sierra Leonean delegation agreed to facilitate the signing of an MoU between the two countries.
Dr Antwi-Boasiako expressed interest in collaborating with NATCOM to support cybersecurity development in the areas they had requested.
He thanked the delegation for the visit and assured them of CSA’s commitment to collaborate and achieve a truly secured and resilient digital Africa.