Togo set to host UNECA's African Cybersecurity Centre

As a central regional hub for cybersecurity information and intelligence based in Lomé (Togo), the centre will act independently and objectively in expertise and activities related to promoting cybersecurity and the investigation of cybercrime.

Togo set to host UNECA's African Cybersecurity Centre
Dr Vera Songwe, The Under-Secretary-General of UNECA and Hon. Cina Lawson, Togo Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation

The Republic of Togo and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have both signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on establishing the “African Centre for Coordination and Research in Cybersecurity”.

As a central regional hub for cybersecurity information and intelligence based in Lomé (Togo), the centre will act independently and objectively in expertise and activities related to promoting cybersecurity and the investigation of cybercrime.

Its missions will cover, but are not be limited to:

  • Building capacities and supporting established cybersecurity agencies in African countries
  • Collaborating with African governments, policymakers, law enforcement and security experts towards creating effective frameworks for assessing and mitigating cyber threats and promoting cybersecurity in the region
  • Providing highly specialised technical and research capabilities for cybersecurity promotion in the region.

On March 23 and 24, 2022, the 1st Cybersecurity Summit co-organized by the Republic of Togo and the ECA brought together Heads of State and Government, private sector leaders, and civil society leaders for a dialogue to address the pressing cybersecurity challenges of Africa.

During the summit, Member States adopted the "Lomé Declaration on cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime" (Lomé Declaration).

The Lomé Declaration is a commitment by member states to sign and ratify the African Union "Malabo Convention" – one of the most elaborate conventions in the world on cybersecurity, and strengthen African cooperation in cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime.

As a result, the MOU between the Republic of Togo and ECA will enable the creation of the African Cybersecurity Centre to support African countries in executing the Lomé Declaration.

To date, Togo is one of the few countries to have ratified the Malabo Convention. The country has implemented a legal and regulatory framework adapted to cybersecurity and established regulatory entities such as the National Cybersecurity Agency (ANCy) and the Personal Data Protection Authority (IPDCP).

Moreover, in partnership with Asseco Data Systems, a Polish cybersecurity company, the Togolese Republic set up a cybersecurity service company - Cyber Defence Africa (CDA), composed mainly of Togolese, for the protection of its cyberspace while ensuring a transfer of skills.

Hon. Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy, said, “We are pleased to partner with ECA to further our commitment to making cybersecurity a top priority for our nations. We aim to become a significant digital hub in Africa. Our partnership model with the private sector is an innovative approach that we want to showcase to inspire other countries for safer cyberspace on the continent.”

The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ECA, Dr Vera Songwe, said, “It is important to promote coordinated cybersecurity approaches in Africa. UNECA is further strengthened in its determination to promote cybersecurity in the region to advance the African digital economy, and we are pleased to partner with the Government of Togo to ensure that a key commitment derived from the Lomé Declaration on Cybersecurity and Fight Against Cybercrime, 2022 is now to be commenced”.

Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation of Togo is the agency responsible for defining and coordinating the implementation of state policy in postal affairs and the digital economy.

It leads the digital transformation of the economy, including digitising public services, promoting, and disseminating information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the lives of the Togolese population.

Recall that in March 2022, the Togolese government partnered with Google to link the country to the new Equiano subsea internet cable, to establish the country as vital services and logistics hub in West Africa.

Togo, is a country, with one of the world’s youngest populations (median age of 19.4 years in 2020). The recent announcements and measures place digitisation at the forefront of the West African country.