Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

The capacity to anticipate and respond to the new forms of crimes being generated from the ongoing digital transformation is crucial and as such, Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) play a pivotal role in the cyber ecosystem. The establishment of CSIRTs is part of the ECOWAS cybersecurity agenda and an ongoing element in the implementation of the project ‘Organised Crime: West African Response on Cybersecurity and fight against Cybercrime (OCWAR-C)’ funded by European Union and implemented by Expertise France.

The ECOWAS CSIRT week was organised in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, to discuss and develop a roadmap towards the establishment of a regional Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP), a key medium for incident and malware analysis. 

The OCWAR-C project coordinator, Mrs Rabiyatou Bah Ly, recalled the objectives of the OCWAR-C project and highlighted the achievements of the project to date. She spoke on the need to build to leverage on the informal cooperation declaration agreed during the CSIRT week in 2021 by using this 2nd edition of the CSIRT week to focus on establishing a regional threat information sharing tool that will help strengthen resilience across the region. 

The ECOWAS Resident Representative in Guinea Bissau, Professor Hamidou Boly, on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission stated that the ongoing digital transformation across the globe unfortunately continues to generate various forms of crimes related to the expanded use of information and communication technologies. Thus, to tackle these threats and risks, it is necessary to have robust national cybersecurity structures such as CSIRTs, with effective response mechanisms in place. He reiterated the need for cooperation and information sharing, thus encouraging the need to actively look into tools such as a Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) which is key for cooperation and information sharing between CSIRTs to better support the digital transformation in Africa and in particular the ECOWAS region for the well-being of all our citizens. 

He therefore urged participants to use this CSIRT week to propose an adequate roadmap for the establishment of an ECOWAS regional MISP that will serve all entities involved in cybersecurity and cybercrime issues in order to better secure the ECOWAS cyber space. Before concluding his speech, he applauded the partnership between the European Union, the ECOWAS Commission and Expertise France in the implementation of the OCWAR-C project for the invaluable support in setting up or renovating CSIRTs in Member States. 

On behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Director of Studies and Planning Office, Mr. Iatanin Davyes, welcomed all participants to Guinea Bissau and expressed appreciation that Guinea Bissau was chosen to host the CSIRT week. He outlined the ongoing efforts to stimulate the development of the ICT sector whilst recognising the cybersecurity challenges Guinea Bissau faces. He reiterated the commitment and willingness of the Ministry to ensure that Guinea Bissau aligns itself with other ECOWAS Member countries and looks to the ECOWAS Commission and OCWAR-C project for continued support. Finally, he concluded by stating he hoped the esprit de corps among CSIRTs extends beyond the CSIRT week to ensure the ECOWAS cyberspace keeps being resilient. 

The OCWAR-C project is funded by the European Union and the objectives are to improve resilience and robustness of information infrastructure in Member States; increase capacities of relevant stakeholders of Member States in charge of the fight against cybercrime.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).