The preparatory experts’ deliberations for the 17th Meeting of ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunication/Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Post, commenced virtually on the 23rd of November, 2020.
Among others, the meeting is considering for eventual adoption, the draft regional instruments prepared by the ECOWAS Commission in support of the regional transformation process towards securing the common digital market for growth and development.
Welcoming participants to the meeting, the ECOWAS Ag. Director, Digital Economy and Post Dr. Raphael Koffi stressed the need to accelerate the ongoing digital transformation in the region as the COVID-19 pandemic shown that Member States were not spared from attacks or financial losses. It is against this backdrop, that he re-iterated why various digital solutions need to be implemented.
ECOWAS, he maintained has already launched its agenda to increase the cyber resilience in the region in order to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs and efficiently fight cybercrime. It is within this framework and with support from the European Union that two instruments have been prepared for validation – regional cybersecurity and cybercrime strategy and regional Critical Infrastructures Protection Policy.
Dr. Koffi also conveyed the profound gratitude of the ECOWAS Commission to the development partners for their continuous support while calling on participants to work hard and produce a quality report which will be submitted to Ministers in support of the region’s digital inclusion.
The chair of session and National Cybersecurity Advisor of Ghana, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako emphasized that digitalization is key and it is important for Member States to implement initiatives that will make the cyberspace more secure.
Dr Boasiako, paraphrased a quote from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah stating that “it doesn’t matter when one country alone attains a certain level of cyber readiness if others do not it will affect the collective security of the region” hence the importance of ratifying international and regional instruments that can enhance cooperation on cyber issues.
The recommendations of the experts and the enabling documents will be adopted by the Ministers in charge of ICT from the 15 Member States, who convene shortly after the experts’ 3-Day meeting, for further action.