Ghana, World Bank partner to enhance cyber security

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante
 Mr Tom Lyons (middle), US Embassy official, interacting with Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako (left), the National Cyber Security Advisor, and Mr Vincent Odotei Sowah, a Deputy Minister of Communications, after the workshop. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI
Mr Tom Lyons (middle), US Embassy official, interacting with Mr Albert Antwi-Boasiako (left), the National Cyber Security Advisor, and Mr Vincent Odotei Sowah, a Deputy Minister of Communications, after the workshop. Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has stated that the government is engaging with the World Bank to make the National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) operational.

She said the move was part of measures the government was taking to enhance cyber security in the country.

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Mrs Owusu-Ekuful disclosed this in a speech read on her behalf by a Deputy Minister of Communications, Mr Vincent Sowah Odotei, at the opening of a Cyber Risk Management workshop in Accra yesterday.

She said operationalising CERT would enhance Ghana’s incident response capabilities to disrupt potential cyber attacks targeting the country’s digital services.

“The CERT is also expected to enhance information sharing on cyber threats among our various stakeholders — both in the government and the private sector,” she said.


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Mrs Owusu-Ekuful stated that the government was also developing capacity building and awareness programmes to equip public sector officials and Ghanaian citizens with knowledge of cyber security issues.

She indicated that as part of a national cyber security awareness raising initiative, Ghana would be organising the National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October this year to which the Security Governance Initiative (SGI) and other partners had been invited to collaborate with the National Cyber Security Secretariat in joint capacity building programmes.

Digitisation initiatives

She noted that while Ghana had begun a number of digitisation initiatives to formalise the economy such as the national digital property addressing system, the national identification system, mobile money interoperability system, paperless ports, e-justice and e-immigration systems, the government was mindful of the dangers arising from cybercrimes and cyber security issues.

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“Indeed, there is a direct correlation between the adoption of digital services and cyber risks exposure for our citizens, businesses and the government. Every user that connects to the Internet or a digital service becomes a potential target for cyber attacks,” she stated.

Quoting the 2016 World Bank report on Digital Dividends, she said: ‘“Developing economies such as Ghana cannot fully reap the digital dividends associated with our adoption of ICT as a means of socio-economic transformation if we fail to address current and emerging cyber security threats.’”

Workshop

In his welcome address, the National Cyber Security Advisor, Mr Albert Antwi-Bosiako, said the workshop was part of efforts to build the capacity of public sector institutions in the area of cyber security.

He said the government had begun a serious cyber security compliance programme, with a cyber and information security directive for the financial sector by the Bank of Ghana in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Secretariat.

The two-day workshop was facilitated by the Ghana government, Department of State of the United States through its Security Governance Initiative (SGI) and MITRE, a not-for-profit research organisation.

Participants were mainly information technology and communication professionals drawn from the Ghana Armed Forces, Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Bank of Ghana, the Cyber Security Technical Working Group and the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Others were from the National Service Secretariat, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Post, Ghana Police Service, the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO), Food and Drugs Authority, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), the Volta River Authority (VRA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Petroleum Commission.

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