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West African countries look to adopt, coordinate cyberlaws

Olusegun Abolaji Ogundeji | March 27, 2014
More work is needed by West African countries to adopt and coordinate laws related to cybersecurity, according to officials who met at recent events hosted by UNCTAD, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development.

The Council of Europe's Seger noted that to enhance cybersecurity in Africa, it is essential that countries establish, as a foundation, a regulatory framework covering different aspects of cyberspace.

"With regard to cybercrime this includes criminal law provisions in line with the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime," he said. "It is important that the powers given to law enforcement are subject to safeguards," Seger wrote in email. "Moreover, countries should adopt a framework for the protection of personal data. It is good to see that several countries of West Africa have made good progress in this respect."

Enhancing cybersecurity in Africa not only requires government engagement at the highest level, but also training to ensure local law enforcement and technical personnel have the tools and training required to enhance and enforce security laws and related IT, said UNCTAD's Barayre.

There was wide agreement among West African officials attending the Accra conference last week to work toward coordinating efforts on cyberlaws. One way to do this, officials decided, is to take advantage of UNCTAD's TrainForTrade program, which includes online learning courses.


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