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Sierra Leone News: Info Ministry looks at Cyber-Security

On Wednesday, 27 March 2019, the Ministry of Information and Communications and partners started a two-day session to look at the draft strategy on Cyber Security and provide feedback on the text. Addressing participants at the Conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communication, Mohamed Swarray (Minister) said participants will identify opportunities to involve stakeholders in the process of validation and implementation of the strategy, as well as discuss frankly, potential steps for collaboration, including civil society capacity building. Going down memory lane, he added, the world is digital and developed countries are hooked and dependent on online technology. Sierra Leone is a developing country and should not be left behind; but double its steps to match up with International trends, without a security threat. Minister Swarray explained the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and Ghanaian Governments, who are way ahead on cyber-security going through rigorous processes, that have made them successful. “I firmly believe and hope that by the end of the two-day session, participants would have brought out the best ideas through meaningful discussions, for a concrete road map to cyber security,” he noted. Matthew Shears from Global Digital Partners in the UK and Kenneth Ado Amanfoh from Ghana are lead facilitators for the next two-days, with participants from both the public and private sector, including members from the legal system and civil society. Edmond Carter works with the ISATT in Sierra Leone, said the British Government plays great role in assisting Government in cybercrime and security. He said fighting cybercrime is a collective effort by all to ensure its security, noting that over the years, many Governments and Institutions have suffered as a result of cybercrime, which means there is a need to protect citizens using the cyber-space. Carter furthered Sierra Leoneans will soon realize why cyber-security is important. The development of Sierra Leone’s national cyber strategy, state of play and current draft, priorities identified in the strategy, as well as opportunities for stakeholder engagement were all tabled and discussed, and the Deputy Information and Communications Minister, Solomon Jamiru guided the process taking note of advantages and disadvantages for both service providers and Government, which has the responsibility to protect citizens using the cyber space. As sessions progressed, after the formal courtesies, Matthew Shears went straight on point, why there is need for security, which is a response to cyber threat and how to bring in more players in cyber-security. He added that when cyber-space is fully secured, there is economic, social and political benefits, “but if there is a threat, all these will be negatively affected as some countries witnessed over the years,” Shears explained to participants. He recalled that in the UK, cyber-security means the protection of internet connected systems to include hard and soft ware and associated infrastructure, which data on them are not used by service providers or other unauthorized source to harm, Governments, businesses and peaceful citizens intentionally or by default of the service they provide.

AC/27/3/19

By Ade Campbell

Thursday March 29, 2019.

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