President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says his administration appreciates the clear and present dangers that technological advancement poses to the security of the state, assuring that his government will provide adequate funding to secure the country’s cyber space and establish a cyber-security culture in Ghana.

In his speech at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month organized jointly by the Ministry of Communications and the National Cyber Security Centre at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), under the theme, ‘A Safer Digital Ghana,’ President Akufo Addo said, “As Ghana scales up e-connectivity as part of government’s digitalization agenda, we will certainly witness an upsurge of criminal activity if precautionary measures are not put in place to forestall such eventualities.

“With 10 million Ghanaians connected to the internet, of which 4.9 million are Facebook users alone, the impact of any cyber-attack on our e-business platforms or on mobile telephony will impact negatively on businesses and on the lives of Ghanaians,” the President said.

The President further noted that these potential threats are the reasons why his administration has been animated to increase public sensitization, capacity building and investment in a fit-for-purpose cyber security infrastructure to help make our digital experience safe and secure.

Ghana’s Cyber Security

The development of Ghana’s National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy in 2011 was necessitated by the actual and anticipated threats from cyber-crime which has the potential of undermining the gains from the country’s digitalization efforts.

Recognizing the need to scale up cyber security readiness in view of the escalating cyber-crimes and cyber security issues, the Government of Ghana directed the Ministry of Communications to work with other ministries, agencies and international partners to develop national responses to address cyber security issues.

Earlier Initiatives

Consequently, the Ministry of Communications established the National Cyber Security Secretariat with a mandate to coordinate national efforts toward addressing Ghana’s cyber security challenges. A National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council (NCSIAC) and a National Cyber Security Technical Working Group (NCSTWG) were established to support the Ministry in achieving the mandate of securing Ghana’s cyber space.

Cyber Security Trends

Around the globe, cars are becoming smarter; online banking has replaced long queues in banking halls; transactions involving large amounts of money are coordinated with the click of a button; healthcare has seen considerable technological involvement; power and water provisioning are managed with technology and more. With the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT); our daily lives are increasingly coordinated in spheres we do not see, otherwise known as cyber space.

Ghana’s cyber arena has recorded significant developments within the last 18 months with the introduction of paperless ports processes, digital property addressing system, mobile money interoperability systems, e-immigration, e-procurement, e-justice and the ongoing national identification system (Ghana Card), amongst others.

The private sector is currently driven by ICT and internet technologies. Social media has become an integral part of the lives of citizens and the Government’s rural digitalization programme has brought even our citizens in the rural areas closer to the globe.

Ghana, like many developing countries has come of age with its digitalization agenda, hence the need to actively secure same to sustain the gains thus far attained.