The Ghana Cyber Security Authority (CSA) now mandates that all cybersecurity service providers (CSPs), establishments (CEs), and professionals (CPs) secure requisite licensing or face stringent penalties.
The CSA’s announcement, issued on 11th January 2024, highlights a decisive move to fortify Ghana’s digital infrastructure in alignment with the Cybersecurity Act of 2020 (Act 1038).
The Act grants the CSA unparalleled regulatory authority, empowering it to oversee and sanction entities and professionals operating outside the ambit of licensure.
The CSA’s uncompromising stance signals a commitment to elevating cybersecurity standards, mitigating risks, and fostering a secure digital ecosystem conducive to economic growth and innovation.
“Effective January 11, 2024, cybersecurity service providers (CSPs), cybersecurity establishments (CEs), and cybersecurity professionals (CPs) without a licence or accreditation are barred from operating in Ghana. The CSA will fully enforce the provisions of the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038) regarding its mandate to regulate CSPs, CPs and CEs.
“Accordingly, CSPs, CEs and CPs who offer cybersecurity services without a licence or accreditation granted by the Authority do so in contravention of Act 1038 and will face the full rigors of the Law including criminal prosecutions and administrative penalties where applicable. Institutions and individuals are consequently advised to engage only licensed CSPs and accredited CEs and CPs.”
Ghana becomes the first country in Africa and second globally, after Singapore to have taken such a bold and giant step to develop the cybersecurity industry in this regard, the statement added.
The Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), came into force in December 2020 to regulate cybersecurity activities and promote the development of cybersecurity in Ghana. The Act thus mandates the Authority to regulate cybersecurity entities, pursuant to sections 4(k), 49, 50, 51, 57 and 59.
The regulatory regime will among other things ensure: A streamlined mechanism for ensuring that CSPs, CEs and CPs offer their services in accordance with approved standards and procedures in line with domestic requirements and international best practice; Greater assurance of cybersecurity and safety to consumers;
An improved and maintained standard that offers baseline protection to Ghana’s digital ecosystem and; That national security concerns are addressed.
The CSA and the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) are also collaborating to ensure that public sector entities procuring cybersecurity services do so in accordance with the guidelines developed pursuant to Act 1038.
Stakeholder Engagements Since October 2022, the CSA has been engaging all relevant stakeholders including cybersecurity service providers, establishments and professionals on the regulatory regime by deploying different communication strategies.
There have been more than 30 different industry engagements, leading to the introduction and implementation of the licensing and accreditation regime provided in the Cybersecurity Act, 2020. The Authority further set up dedicated desks to receive all enquiries and to provide prompt feedback on the exercise to stakeholders.
As part of efforts to continuously engage and collaborate with the accredited and licensed cybersecurity professionals and institutions, the CSA says it is compiling a national register of licensed and accredited Cybersecurity Service Providers, Cybersecurity Establishments and Cybersecurity Professionals pursuant to section 4(t) of Act 1038 and will see to the establishment of the Industry Forum pursuant to section 81 of the Cybersecurity Act 2020 (Act 1038).