The First African Summit of Heads of State and Government on Cybersecurity officially began its work this Wednesday in Lomé, Togo.
The opening ceremony of this summit, taking place on March 23 and 24, 2022, was presided over by Togo President of the Republic, H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Dr. Vera Songwe, as well as several members of government of Togo and other countries of the continent.
Organized by the Government of Togo through its Ministry in charge of Digital Economy and the ECA, this meeting takes place in the form of exchanges structured in panels, networking and demonstrations that will allow to assess the state of cybersecurity and cooperation in Africa from the point of view of several constituent elements, and to propose policy recommendations to African leaders.
For the President of the Republic of Togo, H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, “It is about developing synergies to fight crime in the digital transition, a revolution of our time that opens remarkable opportunities for humanity.
The Togo Head of State also urged other African countries to ratify the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection adopted in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on June 27, 2014.
“The ratification of the Malabo Convention, which makes Togo only the 11th country to have deposited the instruments of ratification of this text, will allow it to benefit from the cooperation with other states of the African Union regarding the protection of personal and state data,” added the Togo Head of State.
For her part, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr. Vera Songwe, believes that “Africa offers a wealth of economic opportunities in virtually every sector. And the digital economy represents a key asset to unlock these opportunities by accelerating development outcomes through Africa’s demographic dividend.
“According to the International Finance Corporation and Google, Africa’s internet economy is expected to contribute $180 billion to the continent’s overall economy by 2025, rising to $712 billion by 2050,” Dr. Vera Songwe said.
Highlighting the worrying nature of cybersecurity and especially cybercrime and the inadequacy of the legal/regulatory framework on cybersecurity and data protection in Africa, the UN Under-Secretary-General and ECA Executive Secretary recommends that “each African nation creates its own National Cybersecurity Program.
“Of the 54 African countries, 28 have data protection legislation (52%), and 6 are in the process of drafting legislation (11%),” Dr. Vera Songwe said.
As for the Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation of Togo, Ms. Cina Lawson said that her country aims to become a major digital hub in Africa.
“This aspiration is reflected in the implementation of reforms and legal and regulatory policy frameworks conducive to investment,” explained Cina Lawson.
“Making Togo a business pool of digital finance and innovations can only become a reality if it is carried e by a trained, dynamic and creative human capital. To do this Togo spares no effort to invest in training and education of young people and if necessary, attract the best expertise and ensure a transfer of skills, “reassured the Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation of Togo.
During the official opening ceremony of the first African Summit of Heads of State and Government on Cybersecurity, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Dr. Vera Songwe, presented the award of the African Champion of Cybersecurity to the President of the Republic of Togo, H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe.
“I receive with great humility this award, because it is rare to receive a prize before the beginning of the mission. I assure you of the achievement of the mission assigned to me,” promised the Togo Head of State who said that this distinction reinforces the position of Togo in the fight against cybercrime.
This ceremony was also an opportunity for the Ministers gathered at the Summit to make a declaration called the Lomé Declaration on cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime to commit to signing and ratifying the “Malabo Convention” and strengthen African cooperation in cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime.