West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) yesterday commenced a three-day high level seminar on cyber security framework for financial services officials within the institution’s member countries.
The three-day interface is currently underway at a local hotel in Banjul. The overall aim of the forum is to expose participants to threats posed by cyber-crimes to organisations and as well as to come up with measures to mitigate these threats.
Welcoming participants, Ousman Sowe, director of Financial Sector Management Department WAIFEM, gave a brief background of the institution and stated that, the institution was established in July 1996 by the Central Bank of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone with the mandate to build sustainable capacity for improved macro-economic and financial sector management in the member countries’ central banks.
“I am pleased to inform you that WAIFEM celebrated its twenty years of capacity building in the sub-region this year, and now has a Business Development Unit (BDU) directed at the private sector of the economy”, he stated.
Sowe highlighted the different types of cyber attacks and threats, thus calling for the need for member states to stand firm to combat “unseen threats”.
According to him, WAIFEM has commenced E-learning diploma programme in the Public Department Management and French language. That of Banking Supervision will kick off before the end of 2016, as information about the course is already available on their website.
For her part, Elisabeth Samba, deputy Governor of Central Bank of The Gambia, said cyber security is no longer a pure computer security issue, but a national policy matter as the illicit use of cyberspace could hamper not only the success of an organisation, but the economic, public health, safety and national activities of a country.
According to her, cyber-attacks could result in loss of confidentiality, integrity and/or availability of valuable information and electronic data, loss of access to the organisation computing network, and lawsuits, loss of public trust, prosecution, internal disciplinary action or termination of employment.
She went on to state that modern society has a growing dependency on information and communication technologies that are globally interconnected, saying this inter-connectivity also creates interdependencies and risk that need to be managed at national, regional and international levels.
She hailed the institution’s move in enhancing officials in the financial services sector on cyber security, while positing that protecting critical information infrastructures are essential to each nation’s security and economic well-being.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Ogbonnaya Agu, Programme Manager, WAIFEM, thanked member countries for their continuous collaboration and support, while urging officials to make good use the training so as to enhance their skills on cyber security related matters.
by Samba Jawo