The Minister for Communications, Hon. Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has pointed out that the unavailability of the critical competencies to deal with cyber security issues, is a primary cause of increased global challenges in the fight against cyber security.
Hon Owusu-Ekuful cited a 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study – Benchmarking Workforce Capacity and Response to Cyber Risk conducted by Frost & Sullivan early this year, which notes that sixty-six percent of organizations identified the lack of skillset in addressing cyber threats as a major challenge. The study further projected cyber security workforce shortage at 1.8 million by the year 2022.
She further emphasized that despite the strides being made in ICT development in the country, the growing menace of cybercrime and other information security related challenges is gradually eroding these significant gains. Worryingly, as reflected in the Frost and Sullivan study, Ghanaian businesses and institutions are challenged when it comes to recruiting and retaining qualified cyber security professionals to man IT infrastructure as provisioned in the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843).
The Honourable Minister lamented, that the short supply of cyber security skills in Ghana, is particularly noticeable in the current curriculum of tertiary institutions; “Few higher learning institutions run dedicated cyber security and forensics programmes, and we need to reverse this trend by encouraging educational institutions to offer practical cyber security courses to support government’s drive to step up Ghana’s cyber security readiness”, she said.
The Communications Minister made these remarks when she officially opened a maiden Certificate Course in Cyber Security, jointly organized by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), and the e-Crime Bureau.
The proud alumna of KAIPTC, reiterated the importance of the programme which comes to support the eight (8) pillars of Ghana’s National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCSPS), which include developing and sustaining a Culture of Cyber Security & Capacity Building and Research & Development towards self-reliance. The implementation of these pillars she observed, requires collaboration with institutions like KAIPTC and e-Crime Bureau.
She highlighted a Capacity Building and Awareness Division was being set up within Ghana’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as part of her Ministry’s ongoing activities to ensure Ghana has effective and sustainable institutional structures in place to implement cyber security activities and initiatives.
Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful highly commended KAIPTC and e-Crime Bureau for the initiative, as it marked the fruition of an MoU signed between the two institutions in 2016 to jointly deepen knowledge and develop capacity in the area of cyber security, intelligence and forensics.
About sixty-five participants are undergoing the week-long training course, which will focus on thematic areas such as cybercrimes and transnational crimes, cyber security governance and cyber defense & national security, as well as hands-on sessions to be conducted at the e-Crime Academy Cyber Lab.