African Diplomats train to stand their ground in Cyber Negotiations

On the 15th and 16th of February 2016 the Capacity Building Workshop for Diplomats took place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) jointly organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) and ICT for Peace foundation (ICT4Peace). The workshop aimed to promote confidence in the use of ICTs among African diplomats and was focused on international cyber security consultations and negotiations. It was attended by 45 diplomats and government officials involved in foreign policy development and/or cyber security diplomacy from 28 African Countries as well as representatives from three Regionals and specialized organizations of the African Union.

Written by: Ms. Souhile Amazouz, Senior Policy Officer, Information Society Division, Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union.

Participants to the Cybersecurity Policy and Diplomacy Workshop for African Countries

Unlocking Prosperity and Freedom

The workshop provided an introduction to the subject of international cyber security policy and the current consultation and negotiation efforts and was an opportunity for the participants to be exposed to the context in which cyber security is being addressed in global, regional forums notably the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Global Conference on CyberSpace (GCCS). The workshop has familiarized African diplomats with the on-going international discussions to acquire a deeper understanding of the most important areas of diplomatic negotiations for a secure and open cyberspace, such as the application of the international laws for the Cyberspace, norms of responsible state behavior as well as confidence building measures in the cyberspace.

Addressing the participants Mr. Moctar Yedaly Head of Information Society Division, Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, underlined the importance of such workshops for Africa and policy makers. He argued that digital technologies and the internet are the backbone of our society and economies. He said that: “Digital technologies are key enablers of prosperity and freedom. As African countries expand their access to internet networks information systems, they are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks“. 

Investing in Cyber Capacity Building

In his address Mr. Daniel Stauffacher President of the ICT4Peace foundation stated that over the past five years states have become increasingly engaged in a series of regional and international policy discussions and debates over cyber security issues. He also highlighted that we are now living in the world of hyper-connectivity and that many countries have already placed cyber security or information security under their national security agenda. The workshop on Cyber diplomacy was part of a series of capacity building workshops that ICT4Peace is organizing for diplomats to develop capabilities for international negotiations.

The participants agreed on crucial measures, including the importance of developing national cyber strategies, fostering domestic and regional coordination, developing CERTs, and signing and ratifying the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection.

Mr. Daniel Stauffacher President of the ICT4Peace foundation (left) and Mr. Moctar Yedal, Head of Information Society Division, Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union (right)