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High-Level Launch Event and Meeting on Confidence-Building Measures

13.09.2023 - Artikel

The Joint Platform for Advancing Cyber Security together with its political partners held a high-level launch event from the 12th to 13th September in Abuja, Nigeria.

The rapid digital transformation underway in West Africa is of great importance to improve the functioning and efficiency of administrations, public policies and economies. However, the growing threats and risks facing global cyberspace and digital networks, information systems and data can significantly reduce the expected benefits of digital policies. Increasing cyber resilience in the region to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities is therefore crucial.

To foster this kind of cyber resilience and complementing the implementation of the ECOWAS Cybersecurity Agenda, under Germany’s G7 presidency, the G7-ECOWAS partnership for Cyber Security developed a joint platform for advancing Cyber Security within ECOWAS through an Action Plan. The Action Plan concentrates on building regional cyber diplomacy, combating cybercrime, ensuring data sovereignty, and protecting critical infrastructure.

The event intends to serve as a formal starting point for the joint implementation of the Action plan. The focus lies on developing regional cyber diplomacy skills and mechanisms, highlighting the importance of cyber security awareness for successful regional cooperation as well as underlining the importance of initiating cyber capacity building at the regional level.

Building on the last joint cyber diplomacy training held in Germany in December 2022 and the study trip to Brussels, the high-level launch event seeks to underline the importance of the partnership between ECOWAS and Germany in the realm of cybersecurity and to mark the next phase of translating the Action Plan into practice.

Following close coordination with the ECOWAS Commission, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Foreign Office will implement selected parts of the ECOWAS Action Plan to increase regional cyber resilience and capacities.

Developing regional cyber diplomacy skills and mechanisms fits into one of the pillars of the ECOWAS 4x4

strategic objectives 2022 – 2026 which is aimed at enhancing regional peace and security.

John Reyels, Head of Cyberstaff at the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: „There will always be the temptation with digitalization to go faster and to go cheaper. But if we go for solutions that are mainly fast and cheap we will be putting the personal data of our societies online to be stolen and to be exploited by criminals. Creating that public awareness is as difficult in Europe as it is here in West Africa. I therefore believe that our partnership can contribute to strengthening that awareness in both our societies.“

Mr. Sediko Douka, the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitization of the ECOWAS Commission said: „Cybersecurity is not merely a technical issue; it is a matter of national security, economic stability, and safeguarding the privacy and rights of our people. It is important to act decisively to protect our critical infrastructure, secure our data, and ensure the trust and confidence of those who use digital services.“

H.E. Ambassador Musa Nuhu, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to ECOWAS, noted „the transformative power of the cyber domain as seen through fintech by Financial Institutions, health care systems, the Education sector, Governance, Transportation, Agricultural mechanisms, and ICT, amongst others. The Joint Platform is expected to provide solutions for implementing regional confidence-building measures to mitigate cyber threats.

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