Ghana has joined two international organisations, the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), to promote and strengthen capacity building and incident response through international collaboration. This feat stems from the government’s commitment to developing the country’s cyberspace to be secure and resilient for Ghana’s sustained digital transformation.
The GFCE, which was officially launched during the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, currently comprises more than One Hundred and Fifteen (115) members and partners from all regions of the world. It is a platform that promotes the implementation of priority and strategic capacity building activities and initiatives underpinned by effective multi-stakeholder engagement and participation involving civil society, the private sector, and other non-state actors, among others. Ghana officially joined the GFCE in March 2021, after going through the necessary accreditation process.
FIRST is a premier organisation established in 1990 by five (5) security teams and currently boasts of a membership of Five Hundred and Seventy-Five (575) teams comprising government bodies, universities, corporations, and other institutions across several countries. FIRST facilitates information-sharing, incident response and prevention, vulnerability analysis, computer security, management and policy issues, and research towards the prevention of cyber-attacks on worldwide platforms and systems such as the recent supply chain-based attacks (Hafnium and SolarWinds attacks) which affected a myriad of institutions worldwide. The National CERT (CERT-GH) at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) officially joined FIRST in May 2021 after a rigorous assessment conducted by FIRST-affiliate experts.
Commenting on these two developments, the Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Hon Ursula Owusu-Ekuful highlighted the importance of international collaboration for effective implementation of the recently passed Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), “Ghana’s domestic cyber resilience is very much dependent on strong international collaboration arrangements and our membership of these industry-led global institutions is timely as we begin the implementation of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020.”
As a member of these international bodies, the NCSC is expected to benefit from joint capacity building programmes, information sharing and technical tools to effectively detect and prevent cybersecurity incidents.
The Ministry, under the leadership of Hon Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, led efforts for the passage of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) by Parliament on November 6, 2020. The Act was subsequently assented to law by the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on December 29, 2020. With the passage of Act 1038, the NCSC is expected to transition into a Cyber Security Authority (CSA) before the end of the year. The Act makes provision for the protection of critical information infrastructures, capacity building efforts, incident response and reporting procedures, among others.
Ghana’s membership of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise (GFCE) and the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), is part of efforts to improve the country’s cybersecurity. Security Governance Initiative (SGI), a cybersecurity collaboration between the government of the United States and the government of Ghana, provided technical support and assistance for Ghana’s membership of the FIRST.