Cyberspace Security Priorities for Africa’s National Security Actors

Virtual Academic Program

August 3–25, 2021

English | Français | Português

Information Note
Schedule
Syllabus
Biographies
Africa Center Overview

Program Objectives:

  1. Expand understanding of the main challenges interdependent information technology poses to national and citizen security in African countries.
  2. Identify key priorities for African defense and security actors to better prepare for and respond to malicious cyber activity that threatens national security interests.
  3. Compare experiences, perspectives, and good practices in cyberspace security policy across a range of security sector, civilian, private sector and non-governmental stakeholders.
  4. Socialize the benefits of maintaining an open, reliable, and secure internet to maximize the advantages of interdependent information technologies for business, governments, and societies while minimizing cyberspace security threats and vulnerabilities.
Session 1  |  August 3, 2021

Africa’s Cyber Threat Landscape

Presented by:

  1. Nathaniel Allen, Assistant Professor, Africa Center for Strategic Studies
  1. Noelle van der Waag Cowling, Lecturer, Stellenbosch University

Section Objectives:

  • Describe the scope and scale of the cyber threats African countries face from espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, organized crime and combat innovation
  • Explore how the nature of Africa’s cyber threats are likely to change and evolve in the future.
  • Consider the scope and scale of these cyber threats in South Africa

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you consider to be your country or regions principal cyber threats and challenges? How severe are they?
  • What sectors in your country or region are most vulnerable to cyberattack?
  • How do you see the cyber threat landscape in your country or region evolving over the coming five or ten years?

Recommended Reading:

Recommended Videos:

  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies, “Emerging Cyber Dimensions of Africa’s Security Landscape,” December 3, 2020
    English | Français | Português
  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies, “Cyber Dimensions of Statecraft in Africa,” March 18, 2021
    English | Français | Português
  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies, “Cyber Dimensions of Violent Extremism in Africa,” May 19, 2021
    English | Français | Português
  • Africa Center for Strategic Studies, “Emerging Cyber Dimensions of Transnational Organized Crime in Africa,” July 8, 2021
    English | Français | Português
Session 2  |  August 10, 2021

Key Elements of a National Cyberspace Security Response

Presented by:

  1. Kamissa Camara, Director for External Affairs and Africa Policy for the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Senior Visiting Expert for the Sahel at the United States Institute of Peace
  1. Moctar Yedaly, Former Head of Information Society Division, African Union

Session Objectives:

  • Identify key elements of the national-level response necessary to confront cyberspace-related challenges to national security.
  • Identify key actors and stakeholders in designing and effecting a national cyberspace security response and the role for national security actors within a multistakeholder approach.
  • Assess national-level cyberspace security policy, strategy, and institutions of leading African countries.
  • Take stock of the security sector’s role in national efforts to confront cyber threats from espionage, critical infrastructure sabotage, crime, and combat innovation.
  • Discuss the benefits and challenges of maintaining an open, reliable, and secure internet to maximize the advantages of interdependent information technologies for business, governments, and societies while minimizing cyberspace security threats and vulnerabilities

Discussion Questions:

  • How effective is your country/region in responding to cyber threats and what are the challenges?
  • What role does the security sector play in cyberspace security in your country? What other actors are involved in cyberspace security in your country?
  • What role should the security sector have in confronting your country’s cyber threats and challenges? How could this support a multistakeholder approach?
  • What are the challenges and risks associated with security sector involvement in cyberspace security?

Recommended Reading:

Session 3  |  August 17, 2021

Cyber Incident Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection

Presented by:

  1. Kenneth Adu-Amanfoh, Founding Member and Director of ACDRO
  1. Ali Mahamadou, Program Head, Niger National Center for Strategic and Security Studies (CNESS)

Session Objectives:

  • Define critical infrastructure and examine the scale and scope of cyberspace threats and vulnerabilities to it in African countries.
  • Discuss the role of national and sectoral Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) as part of a national cybersecurity response system to identify and respond to malicious cyberattacks on critical infrastructure.
  • Discuss the role that national security actors play as key members of CSIRTS, interagency coordination cells, and other mechanisms for interagency cyberspace security cooperation.
  • Explore how best to promote cross-sector partnerships between civilian, security actors, law enforcement, justice, and private sector partners to safeguard internet-dependent critical infrastructure.

Discussion Questions:

  • What would you characterize as critical infrastructure in your country or region? To what extent is this critical infrastructure cyber dependent?
  • Does your country have CSIRTs and how effective are they in protecting cyber critical infrastructure?
  • What laws, policies, or mechanisms does your country have in place to protect critical national infrastructure from cyberattack?
  • What role does the security sector have in protecting critical national infrastructure in your country?

Recommended Reading:

Session 4  |  August 24, 2021

National Cybersecurity Strategy

Presented by:

  1. Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, Chair, African Union Cyber Security Expert Group
  1. Grace Githaiga, Convenor, Convenor, Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) and Host of “Take on Tech,” Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC)
  1. Pierre Ouedraogo, Director General, Technology and Services for Innovation

Session Objectives:

  • Discuss the process of drafting a national cyberspace security strategy and identify its core elements.
  • Discuss the role of the security sector actors in the design and implementation of national cybersecurity strategy and policy.
  • Outline core principles, good practices, and lessons learned during the crafting and implementation of national cybersecurity strategy and policy.

Discussion Questions:

  • For countries with a national cybersecurity strategy, what was the process through which your country’s strategy was developed or implemented? For countries without a national cybersecurity strategy in place, what has your experience been with respect to developing and implementing sectoral strategies and policies on cyber issues?
  • What role does or should the security sector have in cyberspace security strategy development process?
  • What good practices, procedures, coordination mechanisms, or oversight are needed to ensure that national security actors play a productive role in formulating policies and strategies on cyber issues?

Recommended Reading: