African countries have been advised to increase stakeholder collaborations to share knowledge, experiences and expertise to secure the continent’s digital space from security threats, including cyber crime.
According to the Executive Director of the Attorney-General Alliance-Africa (AGA-Africa), Karen White, cyber crime was increasingly becoming a major threat to Africa, leading to the loss of huge sums of money on the continent.
She, therefore, stressed the need for effective partnership among African countries to enable them to tackle the emerging digital threat to the continent’s development.
Ms White said although Africa was still among the least affected by such threats, cyber attacks on critical infrastructure such as national security installations, and telecommunication networks, among others, were becoming frequent.
Ms White gave the advice at the two-day annual conference of AGA-Africa in Accra yesterday.
It was on the theme: “Exploring new frontiers for cyber security and Africa’s digital future”.
Among the objectives of the conference is to explore new ways of harnessing the digital economy in Africa and also address issues of regulation, legislation and threats presented by the cyber industry.
The conference is being participated in by African and United States Attorneys-General, ICT leaders on the continent, venture capitalists interested in Africa’s technology scene, as well as AGA-Africa’s extended networks of key decision makers.
Ms White said the digital future of the continent was threatened by increased vulnerabilities as more government services migrated online.
The ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product of $3 trillion, coupled with the free movement of people and goods across the continent, could also facilitate transnational crimes, she said.
“All these developments cement the significance of our annual conference over the next two days. My hope is that the impressive list of speakers and presenters, drawn from government regulators, prosecution bodies, academia and the private sector on the continent, will help us chart a new course in the fight against cyber crime and other transnational crimes that leverage the ubiquitous presence of technology in our lives,” she said.
Ms White said since 2016, AGA-Africa had trained legal officers and prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of transnational crimes, including human trafficking, money laundering, counterfeit drugs, cyber crime and wildlife trafficking, in eight partner countries — Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
Case of Ghana
The Deputy Attorney-General, Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, said Ghana had made significant strides in the fight against cyber and other transnational crimes.
He said a Cyber Crime Unit had been established at the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, with its primary role being the detection and investigation of cyber crime.
“We have also enacted a number of laws, such as the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA), the Data Protection Act (DPA), 2012, and the Economic and Organised Crime (EOCO) Act, 2010, and redrafted the 2019 National Cyber Security Policy.
“And in 2020, the President also assented to law the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038),” he said.
According to him, the country had ratified relevant international conventions and treaties, such as the convention on cyber crime, also known as the Budapest Convention; the AU Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, known as the Malabo Convention, among others.
Mr Tuah-Yeboah said the conventions had improved Ghana’s ranking on the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
“The latest ranking by GCI had Ghana in third place on the continent, behind Mauritius and Tanzania, with a score of 86.69 per cent.
“This was a major leap from the 10th and 11th places attained in the previous ratings and projects the country among the best in the region and globally,” he added.