Promoting Cybersecurity Due Diligence across Africa
This initiative helps African member states draft national cybersecurity frameworks for national and international engagements on cyber policy. These efforts include creating a culture of cybersecurity, developing national cyber strategies, enacting and enforcing comprehensive legal frameworks related to cybersecurity and cybercrime, and building organizational structures to improve cyber incident management capabilities on the continent.
Increased technological sophistication in Africa
Constructing a cyberspace environment that is open to all users and respectful of fundamental freedoms online requires global consensus on strong cybersecurity policies and practices. As the use of Internet and mobile phones expands throughout Africa, nations grapple with proliferating cyber threats and vulnerabilities that require coordination and management at national, regional and international levels. This initiative aims to address this gap by promoting a culture of cybersecurity and developing the policies, legal frameworks, and organizational structures required to improve cybersecurity and effectively deter cybercrime, while upholding human rights online.
Workshops to increase cybersecurity awareness
Since 2011, with support by the African Union Commission and Africa’s Regional Economic Communities, the United States held six African Regional Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshops. In Africa, as wireless networks and broadband access proliferate, nations are in need of assistance to develop effective policies, institutions, authorities, and capabilities to secure their critical infrastructure, their citizens, and their economies. The workshops trained over 250 individuals from 41 different African countries and regional economic communities. Topics included discussions on cybersecurity best practices, (e.g. promoting public awareness campaigns, national strategy development, and national incident management capabilities), areas and tools to deter cybercrime (e.g. best practices for investigating and prosecuting cybercrime, international cooperation, and online human rights concerns relevant for law enforcement personnel and policymakers), and vulnerabilities in branchless banking systems. The workshops aimed to encourage and direct countries to begin to mobilize and implement these best practices for a national approach to cybersecurity.
- 2011 – Nairobi, Kenya – for East African Community (EAC) member states
- 2012 — Dakar, Senegal — for Francophone Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states
- 2013 — Accra, Ghana – for Anglophone ECOWAS member states
- 2014 — Gaborone, Botswana – for Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states
- 2015 — Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), for Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) member states, with participation from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as representatives from Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Botswana, ECOWAS
- 2015 — Maputo, Mozambique — for Lusophone African states, as well as representatives from Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and Nigeria, and including representatives from ECOWAS, Brazil and Portugal
- 2016 – Gaborone, Botswana – in collaboration with the Government of Botswana and the University of Botswana, support for an International Conference on the Internet, Cybersecurity and Information Systems to share experiences and best practices on policy, strategy and regulatory framework addressing cybersecurity and cybercrime
Expected Outcomes in 2016/2017
- Continued engagement with the African Union Commission (AUC) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in building national and regional capacity and strategies to improve regional and national level approaches to cyber issues across the Continent.
- Ongoing dialogue with partners across Africa on cyber issues, including how to address cybersecurity concerns and simultaneously protect human rights.
Participating members & partners
Participation in this initiative is open to all members of the GFCE.