UNECA - United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

03/23/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/24/2022 06:46

In Lomé, leaders commit to tackle cybercrime and enhance digital safety in Africa

Lomé (Togo), March 23, 2022 - A two-day summit of African Heads of State and Government on Cybersecurity ended on 24 March in Lomé , Togo, with the adoption of the Lomé Declaration on cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime in Africa.

The summit was presided over by Togo's president, H.E. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, in the presence of UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, as well as private sector representatives , civil society, and African ministers in charge of technology.

Organized by the government of Togo in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the submit was aimed at assessing the state of cybersecurity and propose policy recommendations for African governments.

President Gnassingbe said the initiative was about "developing synergies to fight crime in the digital ecosystem, a revolution of our time that opens remarkable opportunities for humanity."

He 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. Ratifying the Malabo Convention, he noted, will enhance cooperation between African Union member states on the protection of personal and state data.

Ms Songwe noted that "Africa offers a wealth of economic opportunities in virtually every sector," and that 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," said Ms. Songwe.

Highlighting the worrying nature of cybersecurity, cybercrime, and the inadequacy of a legal/regulatory framework on cybersecurity and data protection in Africa, the UN Under-Secretary-General recommended that each African nation creates its own National Cybersecurity Programme.

She added that only 28 of the 54 African countries have data protection legislation., and that six are still in the process of drafting legislation.

For her part, Togo's minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, Cina Lawson, said her country aims to become a major digital hub in Africa. She noted, however, that "making Togo a business pool of digital finance and innovations can only become a reality if done by a trained, dynamic, and creative human capital.

In this regard, Ms Lawson said Togo will spare no effort to invest in the training and education of young people and, if necessary, attract the best expertise and ensure a transfer of skills.

During the official opening of the summit, ECA's Executive Secretary presented the African Champion for Cybersecurity award to President Faure Gnassingbe for his commitment to reforming Togo's legal frameworks to boost security and trust in the digital sector.

"I receive this award with great humility because it is rare to receive a prize at the beginning of a mission, said President Gnassingbe who assured Ms Songwe and other stakeholders of the success of "the mission assigned to me," to lead the fight against against cybercrime in Togo and Africa.

The Lomé Declaration is a commitment by member states sign and ratify the "Malabo Convention" and strengthen African cooperation in cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime.

For more information, please contact: Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, CEA- BSR/AO Email: [email protected]