National Cyber Security Strategy soon – Prez Mahama

President John Dramani Mahama has indicated that a National Cyber Security Strategy to help deal with the threats of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will soon be presented to the Cabinet.

He said Ghana’s huge investment in ICT would only yield dividends if people were able to trust transactions conducted in cyber space, hence the need for the strategy.

The President gave the indication in a statement read on his behalf by the National Security Advisor, Mr William Aboah, at the launch of a collaboration between the Government of Ghana (GoG) and the Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative (CCI). Investment in ICT

Ghana, with support from the World Bank and others, had invested hugely in its ICT infrastructure, President Mahama said, and noted that ICT was the foundation for transformational, social and economic development.

It also had the potential to provide farmers with access to capital and market information, open up international markets to small and medium-sized businesses and improve the efficiency and transparency of government services, helping them to tackle corruption, he added.

“But all these dividends depend on people being able to trust their interaction in cyber space. If we allow it to become a domain of lawlessness, fraud and criminality, instead of the anticipated benefits, we will find that our critical national infrastructure is vulnerable to cyber attack, all-night trades and services will be deterred and our children will be at risk when online,”  the President said.

He alluded to the fact that in spite of the numerous challenges and competing priorities of the government, ICT should be given top priority because “Information and communications technologies have practically become the central nervous system for the body politic, especially the economy, both national and global”. Collaboration needed

President Mahama reiterated that his administration was trying to get enough resources to tackle the “emerging menace in our society, so that we can nip it in the bud and not see it becoming a major problem for our society”.  

While admitting that cyber security was a complex issue, he said getting it right required all to work together within Ghana, across the ECOWAS region and the wider international community.

“For those of us in the Commonwealth, a common language, cultural ties and a common legal system combine to make it easier for our collaboration in the face of common challenges,” he stated. Support from ITU-IMPACT

In his address, a representative of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Mr Ali Idrissa Badiel, confirmed that Ghana was one of three African countries waiting to implement their national Computer Incidence Response Teams (CIRTs), with support from the ITU-IMPACT (International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats). 

The two other countries awaiting implementation are Burundi and Tanzania, while five others — Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya Uganda and Zambia — have already received assistance as part of 50 countries worldwide to benefit from the ITU-IMPACT Alliance since the World Telecommunications Development Conference in 2010.

Mr Badiel said the ITU was paying particular attention to developing countries’ cyber security needs in its Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA) and had, therefore, initiated the Enhancing Cybersecurity in Least Developed Countries project. 

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