Accra, March 15, 2022 – Our societies and states are undergoing rapid digital transformation which harbors great opportunities for economic prosperity, equal access to knowledge and efficient governance. However, digitalization also poses risks such as the misuse of cyberspace by malicious actors for criminal purposes and the risk of manipulation to digital public services.
To provide a more secure digital ECOWAS, the ECOWAS Commission and Germany have engaged to conduct a series of workshops to develop an action plan to support the G7-ECOWAS cyber cooperation initiative.
The first G7-ECOWAS workshop on Cyber diplomacy and Critical Infrastructure protection held on 15 March 2022 in Accra, Ghana, brought together representatives from ECOWAS Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to build cyber diplomacy and technical capacities, as well as representatives of Ministries responsible for ICT and officers from national CERTs/CSIRTs.
Dr Kouame Raphael Koffi, the ECOWAS Commission’s Ag. Director, Digital Economy & Post stated that cybersecurity and cybercrime are major issues for any nation, businesses and individuals. This he indicated justifies the implementation of the ECOWAS Cybersecurity Agenda which aims to support the facilitation of a secure ECOWAS cyber space. To facilitate the ongoing G7-ECOWAS initiative, a participative and inclusive approach is vital for the ownership by the Member States and for more efficiency during the implementation of the initiative.
Mr. John Reyels, Head of the Cyber Policy Coordination Staff of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany stated that the G7 presidency under Germany, Cybersecurity is a top priority. He outlined that cybersecurity is about protecting data sovereignty, freedom online and today’s realities of international conflicts. As such, the initiative between ECOWAS and Germany and its G7 partners is initiated to strengthen the cooperation in the cyber space domain because challenges of cyberspace are still novel and constantly evolving and can only be tackled successfully through international cooperation.
The Acting Director General of the Cybersecurity Authority (CSA) of Ghana, Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, commended the ECOWAS leadership on cybersecurity as the regional block has developed and adopted two important regional instruments – the ECOWAS Regional Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Strategy and Regional Critical Infrastructure Protection Policy. Equally, he stated that Germany’s recognition of Cybersecurity as a priority as part of its leadership of the G7 nations is heartwarming. He rounded off by affirming Ghana’s committed to support regular engagements towards improving global norms, cyber diplomacy and capacity building efforts in the region to protect ongoing digital developments in the ECOWAS region.