Digital is all around us. It is in everything we do and will continue to be the leading force of all our future endeavours. With this come huge opportunities as well as risks that we all need to be aware of.
Under the theme “Cyber resilience for development”, over 600 participants gathered in the vibrant capital of Ghana, Accra, on November 29-30 for the Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building (GC3B). It was the perfect global platform to raise awareness of the importance of investing in every country’s digital future, understand the need for shared resources in the realm of cyber security capacity building, and to encourage all nations to work together towards a “free, open and secure digital world”. The event saw the participation of high-level international leaders and industry experts from the United States to Tonga, passing by Africa and the Balkans.
The conference was co-organised by the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE), the CyberPeace Institute, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum, and hosted by the Ministry of Digitalisation and Communications of Ghana. WACREN, the West and Central African Research and Education Network, is a partner of GFCE and, as such, was given a presentation slot on the GFCE Annual General Meeting on Tuesday November 28 to introduce the AfricaConnect3 project and the contribution of African NRENs towards the digital future of the continent.
One of the highlights of the GC3B was definitely the announcement of the Accra Call, a global action framework that supports countries in strengthening their cyber resilience as an enabler for sustainable development. This outcome document is a set of voluntary direction-setting actions meant to stimulate global engagement and joint activities serving the needs and priorities of developing countries. The Call is particularly timely as we are witnessing a drastic increase in digital development investments as well as in more development approaches focusing on digital tools and services. Therefore, this Call aims to inspire and mobilise all relevant stakeholders to unlock financial resources and foster stronger partnerships in the field of cyber resilience, and ensure that cyber capacity building is implemented to support broader sustainable development goals.
24 hours after the official announcement of the Accra Call on November 29, already over 40 governments and global organisations have endorsed it and committed to supporting the action plan.
More information on the Accra Call can be found on the GC3B website.
AfricaConnect3 in Accra
The AfricaConnect3 project sponsored a booth where interested stakeholders from international organisations, NGOs and governments from all over the world had the chance to find out what NRENs and RRENs are doing in Africa.
In the realm of cyber security, the AfricaConnect3 partners have been implementing proactive cybersecurity by establishing security team services and a cooperation framework for NREN Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) also known as TrustBroker Africa (TBA).
Based on international models and best practices, TBA serves as a trusted clearinghouse for all security and incident response teams in the continent, allowing teams to cooperate to prevent, manage and coordinate potential cybersecurity-related emergencies. It lists well known teams and accredits them according to their demonstrated support of the common goals and adherence to the established practices. TBA provides a full directory of contacts and other useful information about the teams. The service is operated by WACREN, in partnership with the UbuntuNet Alliance and ASREN, as part of the AfricaConnect3 project.
More information about TrustBroker Africa can be found on https://www.trustbroker.africa/
Research and Education Networks and the African Agenda for Cyber Capacity Building
Presented at one of the panels during GC3B, the Africa Agenda for Cyber Capacity Building (AA-CCB) was born following the AU-GFCE Collaboration project. The AA-CCB advances actions and priorities that aims to enhance coordination and identification of successful policies, practices and ideas for cyber capacity building and initiatives in Africa.
WACREN is part of the Africa Cyber Capacity Building Coordination Committee, together with other high-level global and regional organisation and institutions such as the African Union Commission, the Regional Economic Communities (i.e. ECOWAS) and other relevant Africa Tech Institutions.
“In the digital era, the GC3B underscores the vital role of collaborative cyber security capacity building. Through initiatives like AfricaConnect3 and TrustBroker Africa, WACREN, alongside NRENs, commits to fortifying Africa’s digital resilience. Let’s unite under the Accra Call to unlock resources, strengthen partnerships, and advance cyber capacity building for sustainable development.” Omo Oaiya, Chief Strategy Officer, WACREN
During the event in Accra it was announced that the next destination of GC3B will be Switzerland in 2025.
About the GFCE
The Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) is a multi-stakeholder community of over 200 members and partners including governments, international organisations, companies and academics from all over the world. It is a platform for international cooperation on strengthening cyber capacity and expertise globally while bearing in mind the unique local and regional cyber security cultural, institutional and developmental characteristics.