The African Union Commission and the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Programme Office (C-PROC) are organising in Addis Ababa a two-day workshop on Cyber Security and Cybercrime Policies for African Diplomats.
This event is part of the ongoing collaboration between the African Union Commission and the Council of Europe, formalized in 2017 and supported by the European Union, to jointly assist African countries in developing and strengthening their:
- domestic legislation, on the basis of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the African Union Convention on Cyberspace Security and Protection of Personal Data (Malabo Convention);
- institutional capacities, training and international/regional cooperation in this area;
- as well as cybercrime policies and strategies.
According to recent statistics, the African continent is exhibiting one of the fastest growth rates in Internet penetration worldwide, with digital connectivity that has almost tripled in the last five years. By 2020, nearly a third of the global GDP is expected to be generated by the digital economy. Unfortunately, both governments and private sector entities in Africa have been experiencing an equally increasing trend of cyber-attacks, reflecting and sometimes amplifying the global trends in this area.
Moreover, in the past few years, cybersecurity and cybercrime policies and strategies have come to the forefront of international diplomatic and political agendas, partly as a result of daily news relaying international cyber conflicts, cyber espionage, and the use of the Internet to promote violent extremism and terrorism.
In this context, the workshop was aimed at bringing together the diplomatic community of the African countries in Addis Ababa and further raise awareness on the importance of political, legislative and diplomatic efforts, communication and commitment necessary in tackling the inherent cross-border nature of such threats; identify some of the key challenges in this field; as well as to present some of the tools already available to address their significant potential to disrupt economies, security and the provision of reliable government services. The event explored how and why states can and need to:
- prioritise their cyber-security and cyber-crime efforts;
- develop policies and legislation that include efficient and effective international cooperation tools, while respecting human rights and the rule of law;
- mobilize their efforts at the national, regional, and continental level.
The event provided the opportunity to also announce the next step in the commitment to support African states in their future efforts in this area – the organization of the first African Forum on Cybercrime, which will be held in Addis Ababa on 16-18 October 2018. The Forum’s main objective will be to promote a coherent approach on cybercrime and related criminal justice issues in Africa by covering all the key aspects in this respect: policy-making and legislation; international cooperation; capacity building. The Forum will also be an occasion to bring together the combined expertise of all relevant international and regional organisations, governments and the private sector active in this field.