Economic Community of West African States
The ECOWAS is a 15-members regional group with a mandate of promoting economic integration. The 15 Member States are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’ Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. Considered one of the pillars of the African economic community, ECOWAS was set up to foster the ideal of collective self-sufficiency for its Member states. It is one of most active organizations on the field of cybersecurity in Africa. The Community adopted in 2010 a supplementary act on the protection of personal data and in 2011 it adopted a directive on the fight against cybercrimes. In 2017, it collaborated with the CoE to develop its capacities against cybercrimes; while it also collaborated with the United States in the development of cybersecurity strategies for all its Members.
ECOWAS ICT Policy
The ECOWAS ICT Policy points towards the promotion of economic and technological infrastructure development. It sustains the development of investments and promotion services within the community. To this end, it is meant to bring about a harmonized and standardized ICT infrastructure across the region.
The ECOWAS Telecommunications’ priority is the development of a reliable and modern regional Telecoms broadband infrastructure including the INTELCOM II program. In this framework, several ECOWAS Countries have adopted a national Law on Cyber Security in compliance with the Community’s text in order to secure cyberspace.
ECOWAS Cyber Security and Cyber-crime Strategy
During the Abidjan Workshop, in January 2020, the RTC (Regional and Technical Committee) validated the ECOWAS Regional Cyber Security and Cyber Crime strategy. The strategy will be presented to ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunications/ICT for its adoption.
Supplementary Act on Personal Data Protection within ECOWAS (2010)
This document targets each Member State to establish a legal framework on the protection of privacy data, related to the collection, processing, transmission, storage and use of personal data without prejudice to States’ general interest.
Directive on Fight Cyber-crime (2011)
The directive’s objective is to adapt the substantive criminal law and criminal procedures of ECOWAS Member States to address cybercrime phenomenons.
Supplementary Act on Electronic Transactions within ECOWAS (2010)
The Supplementary Act aims at establishing a harmonized framework for the regulation of electronic transaction within the ECOWAS zone.
Organised Crime: West African Response on Cybersecurity and Fight Against Cybercrime (OCWAR– C) Project
The project was founded by the EU and was implemented by Expertise Française. It aims to improve resilience and robustness of information infrastructure. The Abidjan Workshop took place under the auspices of this project.
“Harmonization of legislation on Cybercrime and Electronic Evidence with rule of law and human rights safeguards” Conference 2017
The ECOWAS and the Council of Europe jointly organized a conference to develop and improve laws on cybercrime.
Memorandum of Understanding between ECOWAS and ITU
In 2015, ECOWAS and ITU (the UN specialized agency for ICTs) signed a Memorandum of Understanding, calling for the cooperation on mutually agreed questions of common interests in the field of Cyber Security.
The First African Forum on Cybercrime 2018
The ECOWAS participated at The First African Forum on Cybercrime 2018 organized by the African Union.