The U.S. Department of State and the Government of Senegal co-hosted the West African Cybersecurity and Cybercrime Workshop in Dakar, September 18 - 20. Coordinator for Cyber Issues Chris Painter led the U.S. interagency delegation and provided opening remarks along with Ambassador Lewis Lukens and the Senegalese Ministries of Justice and Telecommunications.
As the Internet, networked systems and the use of mobile phones expand throughout sub-Saharan Africa, nations are grappling with multiplying cyber threats ranging from transnational crime groups to terrorists. This workshop, a partnership between the U.S. and Senegalese governments, addressed broad issues on cybercrime and cybersecurity while focusing discussions on issues of specific interest to West Africa, such as mobile cellular security, computer forensics, Internet access and affordability, and the development of national computer emergency response teams or CERTs.
The conference was attended by government officials from eight other West African francophone states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Niger, and Togo. Regional organizations ECOWAS, the EU and the Council of Europe, and national delegations from Kenya, Japan, and France also contributed their perspectives on cybersecurity and cybercrime.
The delegations agreed on crucial measures, including the importance of developing national cyber strategies, fostering domestic and regional coordination, developing CERTs, and signing the Budapest Cybercrime Convention.