The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> We all live in a digital world. We all need it to be open and safe. We all want to trust.
>> And to be trusted.
>> We all despise control.
>> And desire freedom.
>> We're all united.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Greetings to everyone. We'll give ourselves a minute for the interpretation work to be done. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Okay. Welcome to the PRIDA workshop, that is Cyber Diplomacy and Digital Transformation in Africa. I hope the interpretation is working well. Can we confirm whether the interpretation is working well? Is anyone able to confirm that?
I am looking for one of the people is not an interpreter from English to French. Please help us do that.
Again, to the host, please make Esther an interpreter.
Okay. I got your message Vladimir. Do I assume the interpretation is working well?
Someone, no sound. No sound. Can you hear me?
>> Pearse O’Donohue: This is Pearse, I'm in the room. We can hear you, Margaret.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Okay. Thank you. Perfect. We start our session. As I say, we do have interpretation from English to French and vice versa, and I believe it is working now.
We are online ‑‑ most of us. We only have one panelist in the room. As I will be introducing you will know who is connecting from where. Is my sound now working?
>> Margaret, I think the interpreters for French complains that he can't hear you. But I think he should actually probably also be selecting the other channel to be able to hear you. If he doesn't select the channel we can't hear you. We don't have the interpretation in French.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Though I still see Esther is not assigned. Esther is supposed to be assigned as an interpreter.
Okay. I'm not sure whether I am communicating to the host?
Okay. I have been made an interpreter. I should not be the interpreter. It is Esther. I am going to paste the name in there. Esther can you write a message to the general WhatsApp Group?
>> I think you are not an interpreter anymore. It should probably work.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: It is working now. Thank you. My name is Margaret Ndung'u working on the policy initiate for Africa. PRIDA is a joint initiative of the African Union, European Union, and International Telecommunication Union. We ask, could cyber diplomacy be the bridge to Africa's Digital Transformation. The Tarrant County, Texas is from 2020 and it lands to 2030. We want to ensure we have reliable infrastructure across the continent. In 2013 the Malabo Convention was adopted on cybersecurity. The Malabo Convention provide fundamental principles and guidelines to ensure an effective protection of data and safe digital environment for the security of citizens and privacy of individuals' online data.
To date only 15 countries have ratified the convention. We ask ourselves, Cyber Diplomacy work by building strategic partnerships across many dimensions of development. It cuts across. So could this be what we are looking as a continent? Should we be focusing on Cyber Diplomacy to position ourself where we need to do that? To discuss these important issues we have five distinguished panelists and our appreciation to the panelists for being ready to share their expertise with us. With me moderating the session is Mr. Adil Sulieman, senior policy officer African Union Commission. We have a Rapporteur Ms. Harimino from Madagascar, IGF. Without further ado, we will introduce the panelists without any particular order. Panelists, if we can turn the camera on, that is good.
We have Mr. Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola Chair of the African Union Cybersecurity Expert Group and former Commissioner on the stability of cyberspace. We have Moctar Yedaly the African Program Director for DFCD. And Dr. Nnenna Ifeanyi‑Ajufo the Vice‑Chair of the African cybersecurity Expert Group and senior lecturer, law, and technology at University United Kingdom. We have Vladimir Radunovic the director of cybersecurity diplomacy at DIPLO Foundation and Mr. Pearse O’Donohue the Director of future networks at DigiConnect European Commission.
Details to the bios will be pasted in the chat so we can understand who our panelists are. In the venue, physically attending we have Mr. Pearse, and the rest are connecting online.
A warm welcome to all of you. We are looking forward to an interactive discussion.
We will spend the next 40 minutes addressing our prepared questions that we will ask our panelists, after which the floor will be open for 35 minutes to be moderated by Adil to understand what are the views that will be coming from the floor.
And without wasting any more time or spending more time, I start my first question, which is addressed to Mr. Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola. Mr. Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola I want to make sure you are connected. Can you kindly put on your camera if you are here with us?
>> Let me give you an update. He's talking to me now. He's trying to connect. He's facing issues with the connection. So maybe you can go to the next panelist.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Adil. We'll going to the second panelist. This question is addressed to Dr. Nnenna Ifeanyi‑Ajufo. Probably to go back to you Adil, kindly also get in touch with... Moctar. I see he is also not connected. I go to you Dr. Nnenna. We are discussing issues of cybersecurity. So could Cyber Diplomacy be the key to unlock the ratification of Malabo Convention, in the digital space through international law and cooperation. To you.
>> Nnenna Ifeanyi‑Ajufo: Thank you so much Margaret and everyone and thank you for the invitation to join the panel of IGF to discuss the very important issue in relation to the African continent.
To address the question, I would say of course, undeniably, Africa is somewhat more disadvantaged in terms of Cyber Diplomacy when you discuss Cyber Diplomacy and looking at what is happening at the diplomatic level in relation to cyber governance, digital governance, cybersecurity. It is obvious that there are dimensions to Africa's agenda to cyber governance. Since the adoption of the Malabo Convention which you talked about Margaret, the AUC has been engaged in efforts to push for the ratification of the Malabo Convention. The AUC has been promoting cybersecurity culture, building trust and confidences in the use of ICT, including making efforts to strengthen cyber capacities of Member States. And not just only the Malabo Convention, it is worthy to mention in 2018, you know, the executive Council of the Tarrant County, Texas announced the development of the digital economy and adopted cybersecurity as a flagship project of the African unite 2016. And we have the push of cybersecurity policy, agenda, and strategy.
Yet the Malabo Convention is yet to receive ratification needed for it to come in force.
When you think about issues like this, you underscore for yourself, that there are political dimensions, you know, in relation to the failure or refusal to ratify the Malabo Convention. You must remember African States are rooted in their respective, historical, cultural, political contexts, which impacts the ideologies, mandates, and the need for dialogue and implications for cybersecurity measures.
When you examine the political strategies for cyber governance in Africa, it is important to acknowledge how Cyber Diplomacy can be leveraged to help in Africa. Cyber Diplomacy as a strategy encourages States, and strategic partnerships and enhance cooperation and engaging multilaterally. This is a prerequisite to the cybersecurity, not just the Malabo Convention.
I agree, Cyber Diplomacy is I much‑needed strategy to push for the ratification of the Malabo Convention. Cyber activities go beyond national borders, Africa must ensure cooperation, true encouragement of the development of compatible and harmonized cybersecurity laws. It is a huge step to create a uniform system of cyber governance.
Now, on whether African States are ready for the regulation of the digital space through international cooperation, I will be brief. International law principles do apply in cyberspace, that is a general rule. It is emphasized by WEOG, EOOG and all ‑‑ it is accepted in international laws apply in cyberspace and States, whether African, European, Asia must abide by international law when it relates to cyberspace and digital issues.
For the African Region, it is important to get in mind the significance of any international agreements, convention, treaty in any country is only viable to the extent to which the instrument is domesticated, implemented on international laws and strategies. International standards collide with the realities of developing States, particularly for States in African Region where we are the end of the Digital Divide and lack the capacity skills, infrastructure to effectively ensure digital or cyber governance at international standard.
So even though we know we must abide by international law to sign cyberspace, sometimes it makes it impossible for Regions like Africa to compete internationally and participate in international and global cyber governance issues. We have issues to tackle. Infrastructure is certainly one of them. Africa is the least digitalized Region, it doesn't have the minimum structure to ensure cyber resilience. It makes nonsense to the international law being applied to cyberspace. That will not trivialize the international cooperation as enhanced sign governance is a collaborative governance. We need to devise mechanisms such as Cyber Diplomacy to implement international norms and rules of cyberspace locally in the continent as well. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Nnenna. Very insightful. With that, I come to Vladimir. Vladimir how can African States prepare for processes. Nnenna discussed the processes. How do we implement the processes? Thank you, Vladimir.
>> Vladimir Radunovic: Thank you. Thank you for the invitation. To be in Africa, the African painting is regularly up, not just near this occasion only.
I will save the second part of the question, implementation for a later discussion. I want to focus now on preparing Africa. Not just Africa, but Cyber Diplomacy. I used to joke, two types of people that ask cyber, what, or those that ask what is cyber? And there are some that know what Cyber Diplomacy is and we think everyone knows that we're a minority.
The first step is how do we ensure a buy‑in from decision‑makers, because they don't have a clue what Cyber Diplomacy is. They don't care.
If you look at whether cyber issues, cybersecurity in particular which is the main focus can cybersecurity win the elections? In U.S., yes. In Africa? Definitely not. That is not the topic on the agenda. That is the same thing in Balkans, many other places. It is not the political ‑‑ yet the political topic.
Malabo Convention you mention is an example of that hard buy‑in because people are not ‑‑ policymakers are not tuned to that.
The good thing is that Cyber Diplomacy coverage is broad. We usually talk about security context, which is sort of a focus of Cyber Diplomacy. It is not just that. Cyber Diplomacy, if you ask experienced diplomats in ministries that have position of cyber Ambassador or some small offices, they will tell you, they equally have to follow discussions or at least what is happening in the world trade organizations, when it comes to e‑commerce negotiations, in trade, so on, even sustainable development goal because there is a huge connection between digital, cybersecurity and sustainable development goal. For instance, from the course we have recently, there was an interesting twist. Talking about cybersecurity as an enabler of development, enabler of commerce, trades, rights. Not as talking about cybersecurity. Probably many countries including Africa, other things are more relevant, and win the elections other than security and cyber. There is a need to connect, reframe this discussion when we provide buy in, or get the buy in, to connect with financial inclusion. I mean, back to the other innovations that we mention. That is what concerns people. That is what concerns the politicians over there. The first step is ensuring the buy in by decision‑makers by connecting to real problems.
PRIDA work was a useful background in that sense. We worked a lot on connecting the dots and explaining how this fits into the African continent. That is the first bit.
Look at who is working with any Working Group out of the African missions in Europe. In Geneva and other countries it is a couple people only. Single person dealing with everything from cyber to environment to science to migration, whatever.
Few resources if you observe participation in the cybersecurity processes. We have statistics and I can share details of African participation. But for instance, total of eight African countries that participated in six local Government Expert Groups, with about total 100 positions. Eight out of more or less 100. Right?
In the first open‑ended Working Group, we had 16 African countries participating. Really not much. Out of 90 countries that were more or less around there. And sometimes even more.
And it is interesting to note among the 16 countries. 11 countries haven't participated in the DG. That means newcomers and countries that participated in DG some did not participate in the open‑ended Group. Those that are in New York or Geneva, there is no continuity.
Only two African countries participated in the setup of the new open‑ended Working Group, in the meeting Group. We'll see what happens in next week in Europe for the first substantial session. I hope numbers will be much higher.
But 47 countries participated in the organization session of the cyber country, 47 African countries. You see the difference in interest and framing of what actually interests African decision makers. Crime obviously interests them more than the cyber norms, all that. That is one question. The other is who is supporting? There is a lack of coordination between the entities and the authorities in not just Africa, ICT Ministers, Ministers of foreign affairs which are usually weak in this context. Some regulatory authorities. What can we do?
On one hand, in the capital find a way after buy‑in to recognize digital as a foreign ministry topic. That is missing. Appointing a person whether level of Ambassador or lower ‑‑ usually Ambassador because he or she has resources and commitment and to dig into that.
Developing national foreign policy strategy, train the team, map the people we have around. Processes. Do some prioritization. Of course, afterwards, harmonize this across the African continent. One important thing, Cyber Diplomacy is not just for diplomats. It could be shocking because diplomacy is a certain area of privilege with learning and participation. It is not anymore.
Things in cyber happen out of U.N. to large extent as well. It happened in IGF. Happened in standardization. African countries are not present. Maybe ISO, but where Africa is present in IEEE and IGF, but things happen there. In the Paris Call and others you have representation, but not as active as other stakeholders from Africa that are true Africans as well.
We, developing countries have a leverage, great potential with the people that are not officials, but we heavily underuse that. We focus on officials, we don't map people we have over there. You have people in various high positions in various fora we never use them. Get them on board. At the same time, train the diplomats in missions, get them to online training. With COVID times a lot of online trainings. Self‑paced, guided. We know the training. On the building measures, GSC is working on training measures and DIPLO will do training. We will do a training of diplomats in spring in New York and do regularly. Contact us if you want more diplomats involved. What we can offer to that as a reminder. We hope to publish the African foreign policy paper by the end of this year, the first draft. That will be an interesting point of discussion on how to develop digital policies in Africa. We're working on the knowledge mobiles. One will be for Africa and one will be Cyber Diplomacy. We have regular online cybersecurity diplomacy courses. The next will run February or March.
Other digital policy courses. We'll do training for diplomats in Geneva, New York and hopefully other places. I will stop there and get to implementation in later stage.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Vladimir. Our panelist Hakeem has joined us, I will go back to him. Hakeem, welcome. I will ask you, why is Cyber Diplomacy important for the continent? As you answer that, tell us if there are opportunities to be interested with issues to Cyber Diplomacy? Welcome, Hakeem.
>> Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola: Thank you, doctor. I must sincerely apologize. I had connectivity issues. That is why I am unfortunately a bit late.
But let's build on what Vladimir has said. Part of the challenge across the continent is that we have not done a good enough job in enlightening our leaders in terms of what are the benefits or what are the opportunities of cybersecurity very broadly and Cyber Diplomacy very specifically.
For those of us who studied history, we may recollect that in 1884 to 1885, there was something called the Berlin conference. And this conference led to the partitioning of Africa. Which is why tribes, for example, are split across borders. That is why sometimes seemingly incompatible Groups find them within a particular jurisdiction or nation. None of us, none of our ancestors were actually at the table when the discussions and these borders and edges were being set.
We now see the development of norms, which are arguably soft laws ‑‑ I will speak to that in a moment. The norms are being created.
They will impact us over the long‑term. And we need to be meaningfully at the table to engage as empowered peers and partners. Not simply as junior partners but empowered peers.
On the issue of norms, basically norms are soft laws. And again, as history has shown us, in the areas of space, nuclear, even laws of the sea or laws of the ocean, often the norms or soft laws can evolve into hard international law, which all Nations must obey at the cost or peril of being a global state.
So again, Africa and Africans must be at the table as peers. Africans, like others, must live in the future with the precedent set and decisions made today.
So where we look at protecting the digital African, we can really only achieve this by positively empowering and protecting all people around the world, not just our own people. Because cyber, like other global environments is only as strong as the weakest link, it is imperative that Africa not be that weak link. Again, to build on the negotiations of value proposition that Vladimir had alluded to, it is projected that in the next 10 years or so ‑‑ this is something by William McCanty. They're projecting that the cybersecurity solutions market will be across Africa will be anywhere between 10 and $15 billion U.S.
So we do need to get our leaders to begin to think in terms of what percentage of that action will be for your country. What wealth can your country generate from that market? What job opportunities can be generated from that market? And indeed, as a by‑product, what taxes can your Government generate from the wealth and jobs generated by that market?
I think if we begin to get our leaders to see that actually there are very direct benefits because obviously, you know, a well‑empowered prosperous populous would tend to be interested in voting, you know, for the political class or the politician that actually has helped steer that country towards that wealth and towards that prosperity.
Also, we have to appreciate that our young people would be the primary beneficiaries in terms of the data empowerment and employment. We have to make sure that Africa and Africans are actually part of the solution and no longer simply perceived as part of the problem. Finally, ISC squared did a survey in 2020. They projected a global vacancy in the cybersecurity sphere of 3.12 million persons.
So obviously, in Africa, we have to overproduce the capacity required to begin to fill some of the vacancies. Today, we have young Africans dying crossing the desert, they die crossing the Mediterranean. But if ‑‑ even when they get to Europe or to North America or wherever it is they end up, they become almost like a permanent underclass.
If we are able to empower them and overproduce, some of these people will actually be flown into the Diaspora. But more importantly they can work from home and generate the foreign revenues that many of our countries are desperately seeking.
It is imperative to get our political class our ultra-high strategic leadership to understand and appreciate that cybersecurity, cyberspace itself presents a lot of opportunities but that we do have to make sure that we also address the rules, the norms. Those things that can be looked at in terms of interactions or state behavior among themselves within the realm.
So this is where it is critically important that in Africa and each of the Nations develops a generation of cyber diplomats that will be sufficiently informed and empowered ahem, to be able to sit as engaged peers and sit meaningfully at the table with other Nations to be able to hammer out some of the very, very long‑term and foundational agreements.
I will leave it for here for now. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you very much, Hakeem. As you rightfully said, we are as weak as our weakest point. When it comes to cybersecurity, that is an area we need to look into. I come to Mr. Pearse. To you, Pearse. Again, welcome, you are the only one that is at the venue. We can now see what is happening over there.
And this question is to you. In the 2020 European Union cybersecurity strategy, there are a series of actions related to global Internet security. How could Africa stakeholders be involved in the overall effort to increase Internet security? We do not want to remain the weakest point. So over to you, Mr. Pearse.
>> Pearse O’Donohue: Thank you very much, good morning. Very much for inviting me to speak on behalf of the European Union. I'm glad I get to speak after the very insightful contributions being made. It helps frame what I would like to say in the discussion. Yes indeed, the European Union is active in setting out its own strategy and regulatory policy for sitting cybersecurity and arming ourselves with the necessary measures to ensure a high‑level of cybersecurity across the Internet space in the European Union. But the Internet but the Internet is a global and we hope unified system. We hope it will remain to be so. That is why it is so important that we do not think of this only as a regional issue.
Because we do not want the Internet to be fragmented. Just as it is the case that it is very important to recognize the weakest link element that you have just referred to and which Hakeem referred to, it is also the case without being too naive about it, that as a decentralized and distributed network, the Internet is as such resilient. There are no single points of failure.
As we hope the Internet uptake use availability in Africa develops, of course, it is acceptable to nobody that we simply say, well, as long as the core, which is managed elsewhere is secure, we don't have to worry too much about the security of those decentralized parts that the part of the Internet that is distributed in Africa or anywhere else, for that matter.
So that is why the Governments but also the multistakeholder community from Africa must be allowed to be fully engaged as equal partners for any issues addressing global Internet security. And also to ensure that we can collectively address any points of vulnerability, actual ones or potential ones in the future, together, as peers as has been said.
So starting with the European Union, of course, we cannot in all humility should not lecture anybody else unless we have our own house in order.
We have taken several actions over the last few years with regard to cybersecurity. The U.N. strategy does aim to improve cybersecurity. Working with other multistakeholder and particularly with regard to the root server system in case of extreme scenarios. Let's face it, a few years ago, the global environment was one that did give rise to some concerns in that dimension.
But also to increase and ensure the diversification of DNS Resolution services where we see a dangerous trend towards market concentration. That is something which I hope African countries and the African Union working together can address. It is not just a concern here in Europe.
Lastly, of course, security strategy seeks to improve the deployment of Internet security standards and their development. And they are obviously crucial. But here again, that is a process which must be global. Must be done by all partners, all Regions.
And we welcome and encourage the involvement of African countries and African stakeholders in that process. African stakeholders necessarily must take a very active part in this debate.
And so engagement with all levels of the community is very important. Not just at the core and the technical areas such as ICANN, but the standardization organizations as well. Here, Europe does have a certain measure to try and assist other partners and other Regions in order to allow them to play their full part as equals as has been said in these important processes.
I would suggest also I mentioned our concerns about DNS Resolution, that is something which Africa as a Region would probably also need to look at, if it is the perception of African countries that there is a problem of concentration, that then perhaps we should be aiming for a situation in the future where Africa‑wide resolve or part of the decentralized Internet is something that is created.
Which can also then be geared to the needs of growing African use and addressing local cyber threats as they develop.
But I would just open the brackets here. It has been a theme of several sessions here in the IGF this week. We must of course as a global community, first and foremost, address the over three billion people who still do not have any basic access to Internet.
So clearly, as we seek to refine and secure those who are online, we must ensure that we ensure and allow the entire ‑‑ the global population to have access to Internet services, which are open, trusted, free, and of course secure.
So those are our significant considerations for us. We hope to work together, even though some people yawn and get tired because we have been talking about it for 20 years. But with regard to the implementation of IPB6 and if there is any, shall we say, positive element to the relatively later development of extensive Internet infrastructures in Africa, it is that hopefully African countries can avoid making some of the mistakes that certainly we made here in Europe with regard to the resilience and robustness of not just the core infrastructure but also of course, the security protocols that operate on that system.
And if I could just finish by saying, again, inspired by the insightful contributions from the previous speakers, it is that we are only recently really talking about Cyber Diplomacy. Nnenna was the first to mention and differentiate slightly between digital diplomacy and Cyber Diplomacy. I think it is very important, as we said and then Vladimir expanded on, that we don't see the two as being totally separate.
As we develop Cyber Diplomacy, those diplomats that strand of discussions needs to be fully embedded and fully informed about the development of Internet and ICT technologies in general.
Otherwise, we will give rise to not so much a two‑tier system, but a siloed set of discussions between those that are seeking to develop the Internet technologies including may I say, many of the services which add value and can give rise to the increased prosperity and increased well‑being that Hakeem referred to, which is the goal that we all have. That would be happening on one side. And we will have a different approach to Cyber Diplomacy which will seek to, shall we say set rules and be more prohibitive. If Governments are overly identifying that strand of the digital ecosystem that we're all operating that could have problems for all of us, in Europe, Africa and globally. Thank you very much.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Mr. Pearse. Very informative information. And you mentioned collaboration is key. And it is important for the continent. And for our participants, just to let you know, PRIDA is fully funded by the European Union. There is a lot happening in that cooperation.
Next question is to Dr. Nnenna. What is the relevance of digital cooperation in digital governance strategies and policymaking? Here we're saying at the continental level we have the Digital Transformation the free trade area, the single market and African Union agenda 2063. What is your take on that?
>> Nnenna Ifeanyi‑Ajufo: Thank you, Margaret. I will start by saying Pearse has underscored the cooperation and spoken effectively to this question.
So I absolutely agree, you know, digital cooperation remains imperative. Because in the context of the borderless cyberspace as mentioned, collaborative approaches will engender responsibility among States. I would say there is a growing need for multiple lateral cooperation. Among the cybersecurity and cyber governance. The value of digital cooperation for ensuring sign trust and cybersecurity cannot be overemphasized inasmuch as the regional efforts. Regional efforts alone will still be insufficient.
The UNGGE reports have consistently emphasized the increased need for international cooperation. If you look at the Digital Transformation strategy for the 2030 strategy which speaks to the African transformation agenda. It speaks that the international cooperation, it States that collaborative ICT regulatory measures and tools are the new frontier for regulators and policymakers as they work towards maximizing opportunities afforded by Digital Transformation. Which means that the African region, even in introducing these efforts, the strategies, policies are aware, that collaboration is important. We said this, Hakeem pointed out this fact that, you know, Africa remains weak when cybersecurity is measured.
Now, if we look at all these efforts, the African Digital Transformation agenda, other continental efforts such as the African Continental Free Trade Area. The AU agenda, and transformations, it will require sign trust, and resilience, undeniably. When you think about the efforts you think about the capability of Africa.
When you think about it, to effectively meet international standards of addressing cybersecurity it calls into question, you know, the ability of Africa, capability of Africa due to uncertainties concerning the cybersecurity mechanisms.
That notwithstanding, there are efforts in ensuring cybersecurity, the European Union, Pearse also mentioned that there is cooperation efforts with the European Union and Council of Europe. One thing to highlight as well, you know, the AUEU Ministerial meeting that happened in October 2021. If you look at the joint communique that was issued after that meeting in 2021, it also underlines the commitment of digital cooperation between both Regions.
We need digital cooperation not only for capacity building, we need it for policy exchange and also need it for best practice, adopting Best Practices, we can learn in Africa that true digital cooperation, effective cyber governance can be developed in translation and building strategies and strengthening cooperation efforts and include multistakeholder partnerships and ensuring appropriate cyber response mechanisms which are beneficial at the end to the goals that were set out for introducing the efforts that have been highlighted.
But one thing I want to add before I end is that advancements in the area of international digital cooperation is laudable inasmuch as we're driving towards not being the weakest link, there are efforts being made there. However, what I think I want to see beyond international cooperation is interdigital cooperation in Africa. Which is not happening. At the sublevel, it is good to see the digital cooperation and see more intrastate or country cooperation.
That in itself will enhance the desire for uniformity in the cybersecurity policies, both in the development and pursuing of the Malabo Convention, which was the first question you asked me.
When we look at digital cooperation based on international cooperation, let's look at it in terms of intracooperation. I would say that, you know, preserving cybersecurity or cyber stability in Africa must be a collaborative effort. Speaking to nation‑states, state actors must device cooperative mechanisms to observe and implement norms, strategies, policies and include them in their own cyber policy and strategies. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Nnenna. That digital cooperation, we need senior leadership, diplomats, need everybody on board.
I come to you, Hakeem. African diplomats and senior leadership including parliamentarians making the rules and the like, were informed on Cyber Diplomacy in enriching their work in their respective mandates? Over to you Hakeem.
>> Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola: Thank you, Dr. Margaret. The quick answer, no they're not sufficiently well informed. First I will state there seems to be a misperception that cybersecurity, Internet Governance, artificial intelligence and by extension Cyber Diplomacy are not really African problems to solve.
And this misperception is compounded by the lack of awareness. You know, the inconsistent approach. And certainly lack of consensus on issues surrounding things like cyber norms.
Secondly, I believe very strongly that we must encourage research. This is research that will support African parliamentarians and ultra high‑level strategic decision‑makers in drafting appropriate, interlinked, coherent policies, legislation and regulations based on democratic values because many of the Nations are now endeavoring to build, you know, democratically driven societies.
And those democratic values require, you know, the establishment of norms. And we really need to be able to leverage research that gives these ultra-high strategic decision makers empirical evidence. Part of the reason for this is that we do need to support them. To be able to avoid the negative impacts of uninformed decisions. Sometimes draconian legislation, certainly, you know, misfocused policies and regulations that impinge on the development of our society. And certainly the development and well‑being of our people.
Because as we have seen in the world today, often local difficulties can trigger global impacts. You know, migration is just but one example.
In addition, I think that we need to encourage the formation of some kind of or series of global Coalitions of cyber professionals. And some kind of mentoring ecosystem to foster, you know, the development of consistent cyber policies, norms, adoptions. I am pleased to note this is something I observed the Global Forum on cyber expertise is also taking up.
Happily, I think people like Nnenna and myself at the African Union cybersecurity Expert Group are also part of this process of, you know, developing these kinds of Coalitions of cyber professionals.
Really, these Coalition need to be able to strengthen public‑private partnerships, reveal, you know, new opportunities. Certainly share intelligence and know‑how. And build stronger coordinated response against cyber malfeasance, broadly speaking.
Another important lesson for Africa is that we must first define our principles, ethics and then our norms.
It is once we defined our principles, ethics, and norms, then we need to be able to build on that to articulate the needed policies, strategies, and legislation to minimize the risk of being crushed, quite literally, between very powerful geopolitical camps.
We saw how the Trump Administration tried to ban not just ban the use of certain 5G infrastructure but basically bully other countries by telling them that if you put this manufacturer ‑‑ this product on your network, your network can't interconnect with us. We have seen where Russia has experimented with disconnecting from the Internet.
We have seen where India has banned 118, 1‑1‑8 apps developed in China ostensibly because they violated national security imperatives.
So Africa itself risks being caught out in the geopolitical tensions and activities. We need to be able to empower ourselves and or parliamentarians and other ultra high‑level strategic decision‑makers about how geopolitics actually impacts technology.
In closing, I think it is very important that we establish broad based understandings. We need to start quite simply with language, with jargon.
We need to be able to look at issues such as culture and gain insight into normative frameworks.
I think this is crucial. Because it ensures that we would need to work or we have to work towards requisite capacity building, which would engender, you know, some form of cyber stability.
So again, to summarize, there is a lot for us to do. Our parliamentarians, in particular, I think, need a lot of help. Because I think like I said, we have not really appreciated that these things that are discussed and are decided in one area actually do have quite fundamental impacts on our society. On our competitiveness. You know, on the ability of African Nations to provide for the well‑being of their people. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you very much, Hakeem. Quite inspiring. You have told us the different context whereas a continent we have different values and Cobb context and ‑‑ context and we need to involve DG in that. And involve all in what we're doing. Now back to you Vladimir. Africa is diverse with different development status. What are the challenges in implementing the framework for responsible behavior and confidence building missions in the cyberspace? Over to you Vladimir.
>> Vladimir Radunovic: Maybe clarify or remind what is the usual perception of discussions about the U.N. framework for the responsible state behavior, which relates directly to the processes like U.N. Group of the Working Group and so on.
First of all, there is a perception that this is mainly the big players' game. And I think the U.N. Secretary‑General mentioned some point two years ago, even, that he's worried the next war will start with cyber. Cyber incidents, so on.
We usually see or worry what's in the media, framing, we are worrying about, you know, what will happen between the U.S. and China. U.S. and Russia, the big guys.
To be honest, I don't think anything will actually come out of their cyber. I won't call it conflict, but provocations because a much bigger stake is in the game. If it happens, we have a bigger problem.
I think what Guterres was mentioning was actually related to areas in which we now have wars. Or which are war‑torn or tense Regions. Such as Africa, Middle East, used to be Balkans. Places around the world which as we progress with the digitalization, the risk of misusing cyber and turning it into open conflict is much higher than between the big parties. That is the first thing, it seems far at the moment for Africa. I hope it is far.
Because I think it is mentioned in the chat, you mentioned the question, this sort of lack of digitalization in African countries. Not just African countries, we say, well, most of our critical infrastructure are not yet connected to cyber. It will be if it is not yet. We're increasingly dependent. Not just critical infrastructure is as a much broader understanding today it is also the financial sector, communication, all of that.
It will come. We have seen some teasing, if nothing between already Egypt, Ethiopia, and others even if not centrally guided by the Government.
That is one thing, misperception is it is about big players. It is not. The second one it is only a conflict. It is not most of the things in the open end Group relate to capability of international law. And these high‑level politics and principles how to avoid getting into conflict and how to behave if the conflict starts. There are norms of what should and should not be done and so on. But in essence, this discussion on framework of responsible behavior sets the agenda, the global agenda, it builds the capacities. I mentioned how many African countries are getting into the process. Newcomers.
Is a geopolitical positioning. Hakeem mentioned it in the previous address to what extent it is important in Africa is at the table as well
So it goes much beyond conflict. And then a lot of provisions which are actually boosting political awareness on national levels of countries to do some very tangible measures to improve cybersecurity resilience. There is a good question, how do we make sure that if we discuss in the previous part, how to strengthen diplomats to get involved in the process. The good question is how to make sure we have a feedback loop.
That we will receive from diplomats actually ends where it has to end and boost the national process as well. That is an awkward question. I don't know how that can particularly be done, if we strengthen the ministries of African foreign affairs and their departments and strengthen the cooperation of ministries and others it is broad, and we might have a feedback loop. What are the practical means of the implementation of the framework, which goes beyond conflict?
There is certainly the developing of the national positions on how international law applies. It is important. It is a matter of national security, national defense, so on. It is about how do we understand the attack, how do we understand the attribution or self‑defense and right to self‑defense? It is good if each country would come up with its own understanding of this terms and positions as it was invited. As countries were invited by the U.N. General Assembly to do. We have a clear mandate for that.
But also boosting national regulatory framework and resilience on an international level. If you go to the report of GGE, this year, you will see a number of practical ‑‑ okay, principal level, recommendations for national framework, which touched upon how to reduce vulnerabilities and mitigate or prevent commercial expectation. How to strengthen supply chains security. To build national original competency that we need.
Then there is also what Pearse mentioned is the context of Africa or the role of Africa when it comes to international business security and the critical Internet resources or some call the public core of Internet. And formally in the U.N. documents is general availability or integrity of the Internet.
What is the African role of maintaining this technical resilience of the whole core of the Internet? And lastly, the regional cooperation of boosting and also mentioned that where confidence building measures outlined as part of this framework are the key to prevent the conflict but not only that CBMs say or encourage States to share information about national frameworks, about points of contact, share information about the attacks, experiences, cooperation together. It is boosting the cooperation to boost up the resilience.
It is much more practical, it could be termed much more practical than what it immediately looks like.
There is one suggestion, I don't know if there is a potential that I throw it to all of you that are basically in Africa.
I think the Asian countries endorsed some of the CBM by the Group of governmental experts. It is a voluntary measure.
To boost the commitment, they formally endorsed the CBMs and norms. The African countries without reinventing the wheels and combine their own CBM, which is welcome but endorse what we have and increase the commitment on the national level for that and for implementation of those.
I leave it as an open question. I leave it to you to maybe touch upon that. Back to you. Thanks.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you, Vladimir. Very informative, again. We come to Mr. Pearse. Just to ask you to share with us the ongoing initiatives by the European Union to promote Cyber Diplomacy in Africa. Over to you, Pearse.
>> Pearse O’Donohue: Thank you. That sounds like an invitation for me to do a sales job on European Union policies, which I will try to avoid and focus on what I think is most important. I did mention the European Union and cybersecurity strategy. There is an outward facing element of that in the context of what we're talking today. We have launched a Cyber Diplomacy effort, that is cyber direct, it has the potential to connect to secure, rights based international cyber sphere and also to support the principles of single, open, free, stable, and secure cyberspace, which reflects obviously the values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
Now I spoke all of the words slowly, because it is not just a set of principles that we can then ‑‑ [background conversation]
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: I'm sorry?
>> Pearse O’Donohue: I'm sorry, there is a crossed line.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: I will see ‑‑ the host, please, can you mute! Can you mute Frank? Sorry about that.
>> Muted now. Thank you.
>> Pearse O’Donohue: I will try to be quick. There are key principles, but these elements bring us together here at the IGF that we must maintain. Practically we want the initiatives to promote the U.N. framework for responsible state behavior. Which was referred to. Including the application of existing law, norms, and of course, then confidence‑building measures in the Internet, to ensure the cybersecurity in the cyberspace. We do the multistakeholder model and multilateral engagements. We want to build on the examples. The PRIDA, we give practical and financial support to experts, particularly in the context of subregional initiatives, which are more appropriate and tailor made to the needs as Nnenna explained and perhaps our best role can simply be to support that process and also to give where wanted and appropriate learnings from how we have taken certain steps within the European Union.
Certainly, it is to build consensus in partner countries between Regions and sub‑Regions for those principles of the open and secure Internet.
And it is perhaps in response to some of the issues which Hakeem referred to where major international companies but also some of the global superpowers have sought to exercise their muscles with regards to behavior in countries in Africa and elsewhere.
I hope that the European Union's behavior is not perceived in the same way. We do believe in building mutually respectful partnerships in this area. But quite genuinely, we're concerned and want to assist in maintaining the open access nature of the Internet. And ensuring that we do not have a system which is entirely state controlled. That also explains slightly why I said we need to not distinguish too much between Cyber Diplomacy and simply the discussions on the development of the digital environment.
So that we maintain the role for business but also of course, particularly of NGOs, Civil Society, and the multistakeholder community.
We do have a program of action with regard to advancing responsibility and responsible state behavior in cyberspace. That program of action really does stem from the fact that we recognize that a concrete action and cooperation and support, where wanted and appropriate, particularly capacity building is something where we can ‑‑ while working in a partnership of equals, help in the development of the open and security Internet in other countries, while leading it to the stakeholders and Governments in those Regions to actually give effect to that in a way that is most appropriate for their regional specificities. And particular political culture.
So we do believe extensively in capacity building. I will finish by saying, on that point, therefore, that in the context of the newly launched global gateway, which was announced by our President, we will also launch in 2022 an initiative to promote the open and free Internet in Africa, working, of course, with African partners.
Again, this is linked closely to our view that we need to assist in the basic physical connection of hundreds of millions of people to the Internet, to ensure that they too can benefit from open access to a free and secure Internet. Then building on that with regard to the need for cybersecurity, to protect the user and the individual, as well as the process in itself. And of course to ensure that we are developing together open standards which are applicable and acceptable to partners in other Regions.
But which do follow the best practice with regard to security and other technical protocol across the Internet. That is something we want to do, together with our African partners in very concrete terms and in support of the Internet Governance model, which is at the heart of what the IGF does and as we see where African stakeholders have so much to offer. Thank you.
>> MARGARET NDUNG'U: Thank you very much, Mr. Pearse. Quite a lot of initiative going in Africa.
I now invite my colleague, Adil to take us through the questions in the Q&A and the chat. Thank you. And over to you Adil.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you Margaret. My name is Adil Sulieman, I'm a senior policy officer with the African Union Commission. I have been listening closely. It is an informative session. We now open the Q&A session.
There are questions from the chat. Usually there are ‑‑ I think if I can say most of the questions are converging around whether Africa should take cybersecurity as a priority, given the fact that, you know, it is nondigitalized at this point. No access. And also lagging behind in terms of technology.
So I think let's keep that question. We will go through the round with all the panelists to respond to the question. Basically whether Africa is ready for the cybersecurity, whether Africa is ready to include cybersecurity in the governance and policy. As I said, given the fact that there is an issue with the access. There is an issue also in terms of priorities.
Let's open the floor for those who are attending physically. And if there are questions, let's hear them. Mr. Pearse, you can facilitate that since you are there. We add them to the question that we already got on the chat line.
It seems that there are no questions ‑‑ okay, I see one hand is raised. So please go ahead. Ask your question.
>> ATTENDEE: Hello to all. I'm from Liberia. I am the President of the Liberia Information and technology student here. I'm the first to write book on cybersecurity in Liberia called Be a Good Digital Citizen.
I listened to the splendid presentations. I wanted to ask this question to maybe talk about the Malabo Convention. My country, Liberia has not signed the Malabo Convention. So how is the AU or any organization working with my country to sign the Malabo Convention?
And also my second question is I really want to ask as to how we can build a young cadre of Cyber Diplomacy in Africa. I believe the issue of cybersecurity is not discuss on the agenda in various African country.
So how can we come up with a young cybersecurity diplomacy in Africa? So thank you so much.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Any other questions from the floor, please?
ATTENDEE: Moderator and distinguished panelists, I'm thankful to you for this brilliant session. And remarks from me as a person coming from Persian Gulf subregion, it was very interesting to see that ‑‑ how we can use the lesson learned by Africans in our subregion. But I think as it was said, now that cyber is not the subject of diplomacy in Persian Gulf but source of conflict. My country Iran since 2011 is under attack, continues attack, and you can see 2017, Qatar diplomatic crisis, which was caused by cyber-attack, but now, it is very important that we ask, do we have any cyber regional diplomacy model which is applicable in other regions? Or it is not possible and regional dynamics effectively affect the content and priorities of cyber diplomacy in different parts of the world.
I think if we talk about the content of cyber diplomacy, we have to pay attention to the priorities of specific region. In our region, subgeopoliticals and we have always been great poverty is somehow affecting. It is called creative move of policy. In this case not talking about creative governance of common cyber security, you are talking about how you defend yourself and define geopoliticals in this competitive atmosphere.
Coming back to the Persian Gulf, in this case, you are not going to talk about cyber cooperative and normative cyber diplomacy, but you have multifocus on somehow principle pragmaticism. It is very important that you come to pragmatic results.
Coming back to the experiences learned by European countries in 1960s or 1970s, based on the functional approach, it is important that you, first of all, define pragmatic steps to have tangible results and use these tangible results as a spillover effect to come to another area of cooperation.
And the last point is what would be the international ‑‑ the role of international brokers, such as EU in other part of regions? As I understand, European countries, in the form of EU have played a role in promotion of cyber diplomacy in Africa. But can we define the same role for European Union for cyber diplomacy in Persian Gulf?
I think in this case, it is very important that, again, you take note of the priorities and dynamics of regional ‑‑ of the region that you are living, and I think it is not possible that you use a similar approach for different regions. Thank you so much.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much for the question. Any other questions from the floor, please?
I see none. So there are also a couple of questions from the chat. Let me read. I believe that ‑‑ I hope that the panelists are taking note of the question.
So let me summarize one of the questions because it was a long question in a sense it says I believe to reach cyber diplomacy, we need to have open and honest engagement in various cyberspace topic. Already I work on the topics that focus on human behavior. An element which is often overlooked. Which I believe is a critical cyberspace discussion.
And there is another question from Madagascar. You tell no economic work. If you can tell no economic work in the cyber security does not exist. What is the situation of the country? Who does not have network or Internet?
Okay. So let me just open the floor for the panelists to respond to the questions.
Let's start with Nnenna. I think there was a question on the Malabo Convention. And then we go to Hakeem and Vladimir and Mr. Pearse.
>> Nnenna Ifeanyi‑Ajufo: Thank you. I will address the question on the Malabo Convention and the Cyber Diplomacy I push forward for the ratification of the Malabo Convention. And to strengthen the capacity of Member States and you know, including what was mentioned, the Expert Groups and efforts in that area. One thing that makes you wonder is why the Malabo Convention is yet to receive adequate ratifications needed for it to go into force with all the efforts?
We must remember, you know, like I also said being done, Liberia is an African state of course. No state is sidelined in all the efforts. One thing to understand which is also emphasized by one of the contributions, African States are all rooted in the historical, cultural concepts, when Hakeem said think about culture. All of this perspective impacts the ideologies, so many factors, like I said. You know, you have to think about how diplomatic efforts will also impact dialogues and negotiations for cybersecurity based on the capacity of countries. I said when we have the discussions on digital cooperation not just think of external international cooperation. Let's also think of intracooperation now. A country like Ghana they have ratified the conventions but also in the Region with Liberia.
What efforts are made apart from the AUC, what efforts are made amongst countries which still sit at the same subregional table? Uganda say we need the efforts to advance uniformity. I like that Pearse mentioned the cyber direct project. The cyber direct project, we had a meeting on Friday, or Monday, rather. You see they are interested in reaching African States. You know, one of the issues that was tabled was to make sure the usual suspects, Ghana, most of the countries, think about other countries that maybe interested in the cybersecurity agenda, but no bases for them in terms of adopting best practices or what to do. The project is looking out to reach to African countries to collaborate in terms of advancing cybersecurity. I think this is a good Forum to highlight what Pearse said so we can take advantage of that.
The last thing I wanted to touch upon was the question in relation to if we need cybersecurity. I was the one who mentioned Africa is the least digitalized Region and must think about infrastructure. Now, based on that, that is the more reason why we need cybersecurity. You know, we can't say, inasmuch as we can't leapfrog into the stages of the Regions, it doesn't mean we don't need cybersecurity. That is why, like I said, we must think about uniformity. Hakeem said we must frame the agenda for Africa, thinking about local realities. If we don't frame the agenda, it will be framed for us. Charity must begin at home.
We think about all the efforts that are being made, let's advance uniformity from there. Of course, it would speak to cooperation outside, but let it be both ways. Let even when we engage in Cyber Diplomacy efforts, we should develop strategies in a uniform measure in Africa as well. Thank you.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you Nnenna. Hakeem?
>> Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola: First, let me start with the bottom line. That is that the Global South, Africa in particular must increase Indigenous capacities, in the teaching, learning and must build its people.
With regards to the gentleman from Liberia, I urge you to look back at your history. Once upon a time, Liberia was probably the most famous country for what is euphemistically called its flag of efficiency, some say the flag of convenience. The question is how can we rebuild Liberia to have a digital preeminence? Liberia has an opportunity, especially in Africa, to become a data hub because of that history and understanding of how being a mutual country providing an efficient service, in this case, historically shipping now it is in data.
So it could be a data hub. I also envisage a place like Liberia could be one of the primary hosts for cybersecurity as a service. So a hub for cybersecurity as a service. Again, I think the key to all of this is that people like yourself in how about need to start building your capacity. Not your personal capacity, but the capacity of people like you. With regards to our colleague on the question of the Middle East.
I would really ‑‑ while I don't have a direct answer for him, I would really urge him to look at the OIC cert. The OIC emergency response team. It is one of the few entities around the world where both Iran and Saudi Arabia sit at the same technical table.
It is not a Cyber Diplomacy table, in life, sometimes you need to start somewhere. So, you know, sometimes it is the technical imperatives that may subsequently drive, you know, other national and strategic imperatives. Now building on the question from Francis, I understand she comes from a hub in Madagascar. I'm a bit puzzles, because if you are part of a hub, it obviously means Madagascar does have some connectivity. I would suppose, I don't know, Madagascar has at least GSM networks, maybe 4G, insofar if there is some communication, MSM, email or other kinds of IP connectivity, then it means that you do need some level of cybersecurity.
But more importantly, Francis, I'm sorry, and others, we have to understand that all societies, all organizations, and owl economies require trust to optimally function.
No one will use any structure without trust. Even today if I don't trust this connectivity. If I think it is going to download something that will steal my banking details, I simply won't use it. Digital trust is predicated on confidentiality, integrity, and availability as appropriate of information that is based on accurate data.
Which as we all know, is increasingly being digitized. I would argue cybersecurity really is the foundation for building trust in a digital society indeed in building trust in a contemporary society.
Let me close with the following three key takeaways for me. Trust is key. Without trust no one will use the platforms. Confidence building measures are extremely helpful in developing trust by facilitating and achieving some level of predictability, and empowering people to seek clarification. By ensuring that sometimes things that move at a very rapid pace, you can gain time so you can step back and rethink certain things. But very importantly, I think cyber diplomacy helped in creating understanding and enhancing maturity. Take away number two for me is Africa must articulate the philosophy, ethics, policies, strategies, and accountability frameworks across the spectrum, including in many instances, and driven by cyber diplomacy.
Last but not least I encourage all of us in the audience and others, consider the underserved, and unborn in the cybersecurity, norms development and implementation activities. Because back to the 1880s the Berlin conference, back to the development of norms, those who are not at the table, the underserved, unserved and unborn must live in the future with the decisions we make today. Thank you very much.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much Hakeem for the informative conclusion. We are left with two minutes. So Vladimir and Pearse, you know, we give you maybe one and a half minutes each. We will stay as long as the Secretariat will allow us to stay. Vladimir, please, and Pearse you can conclude. Vladimir if you have parting messages, please go ahead, and include your messages as well as for Pearse.
>> Vladimir Radunovic: I was not good with tweets but I will try to do that. In the question of connecting digital and cyber. That is something we covered in this session. There is a general evolution in understanding how digital impacts sustainable development goal, economics, trades, so on. The problem is how do you put all of these different international processes together, like WTO, U.N. security issues, so on, so forth. Maybe the U.N. digital cooperation proposal by the Secretary‑General, the IGF definitely, maybe the IGF plus in future would serve well to connect the dots. We'll stay tuned.
When it comes to Madagascar's questions, I agree with Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola there is 15% repatriation in Madagascar. With regard to the citizen, the state and businesses will be connected at increasing rate. Your question, what will happen if cybersecurity doesn't exist is a masterpiece of a question to tell to policymakers for a buy‑in and try to find the response. Within PRIDA work and GFC we try to do that. Let's channel policymakers into the processes.
Liberia's question is how to build young Cyber Diplomacy efficiently, but it is on a high‑level and mid-level to use opportunities to train people to engage. We have good experiences in Balkans. I'm happy to share them. Unofficially, that is important, cyber diplomats are not just diplomats. In Liberia, I participated in ISOC discussions trying to boost cybersecurity among others, technical community and so on.
That is another opportunity.
Finally on Iran's question or the goal, I think this is a really relevant question how to ‑‑ what are the basic building blocks that can be used everywhere around the world? I would say it is understanding the importance of digital foreign policy, building resources, capacity building and all that. And map the open questions. That is someone on for everywhere. The next step, once you have that is decide on priorities, positions and methodology of the digital foreign policy, engagement, so on. That differs from state to state.
The first step is same everywhere. As you said for few messages a buy in, at the highest level, developing resources among diplomats and other stakeholders. Making sure that we use the capacity of non‑States which are great in developing countries.
And I would certainly underline capacity building and stop there. It was more than a minute and a half, I apologize.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Pearse, please. Difficult to put you in this difficult spot.
>> Pearse O’Donohue: I wanted to hear others, so thank you. I will be quick. We have to work with cybersecurity by design. We're talking about diplomacy and suggestion that we're mostly talking about state actors, in terms of quantity at least, the vast majority of cybersecurity threats and actual cybersecurity penetrations instances come from commercially motivated actors who seek to steal and defraud.
And in an Internet environment which is just, shall we say in the infancy or growing, particularly with a large number of new users of the Internet, where perhaps the digital literacy is not at a high‑level, that is when the users need to be most protected from the bad actors. Cybersecurity from the start.
The role of the European Union, particularly in the example of the Middle East, perhaps we have to be careful and not naive. We see the great cooperation at the level of the African Union and the ability of the Region and sub‑Regions to work together. In areas where there are clear geopolitical tensions, we still have to hope, I think Abdul‑Hakeem Ajijola's answer was good and Nnenna also. This is an area where people have an interest to work together. Not just the diplomats, it is the engineers, the stakeholder community who can actually build links which might actually have a positive effect beyond simply building the Internet. But it is a model where obviously as I said, the European Union wishes to support and give our best practice. But again, it is for a community of equals, who can take the learnings that are relevant to them. Who can benefit from some of the project support that we give in order to adapt and apply the model as is most appropriate for the Region or sub‑Region? Thank you very much.
>> ADIL SULIEMAN: Thank you very much, Pearse. I will give it back to Margaret to close.