The growing problem of cybercrime requires countries to build effective laws, policies, and international cooperation frameworks, said Dr Tawanda Hondora, Head of the Rule of Law at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The Commonwealth Secretariat’s four-day conference on addressing cybercrime has drawn experts from across Sub-Saharan Africa – including investigators, prosecutors, senior judiciary, Attorneys General, and regional authorities.
The “Regional Conference on Addressing Cybercrime in Sub-Saharan Africa” is taking place from 17-20 January in Accra with 12 participating Commonwealth African countries.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, Ghana’s Minister of Communications and Digitization represented by Antwi Boasiako said: “We believe it is high time African states, institutions, and civil society to demonstrate their commitment to cybersecurity, with the shared objective of protecting citizens, businesses, and organisations in this digital era. This will be imperative to prevent more damaging cyber-attacks, which could have devastating impacts especially in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The aim of the conference is to enhance the cyber capability and resilience of regional authorities in western Africa in support of the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration signed during the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London.
Dr Tawanda Hondora thanked the United Kingdom for its support in funding the project as part of its Cyber Security and Tech Conflict, Stability and Security programme.
He said: “We have been providing technical assistance to many Commonwealth member countries especially in Africa and the Caribbean region to help them strengthen their cyber frameworks, including their ability to deter and investigate cybercrime and ensure effective redress for victims of cybercrime.”
“Through this and other conferences we seek to raise increased awareness on the scale, nature and impact, and crucially solutions, to the growing problem of cybercrime including here in sub-Saharan Africa”.
Issues to be tackled at the four-day event include addressing cybercrime in sub-Saharan Africa, capacity building through awareness-raising, mutual legal assistance systems and electronic evidence as well as strengthening the fight against cybercrime.