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The First African Forum on Cybercrime

October 16, 2018 to October 18, 2018

The First African Forum on Cybercrime


Policies and Legislation, International Cooperation and Capacity Building

Conference Programme (draft)

Addis Ababa, 16-18 October 2018

Organized and funded by:


1. Background

The continuous development of information and communication technologies towards more sophisticated services and applications goes hand in hand with the rise of crimes committed against or through the use of computer systems.

According to recent statistics, the African continent is exhibiting one of the fastest growth rates in Internet penetration worldwide, with digital connectivity that has almost tripled in the last five years. In the same period, both governments and private sector entities in Africa have been experiencing an equally increasing trend of cyber-attacks, in line with what has been recorded also on the global level.

The large-scale theft of personal data, computer intrusions, bullying, harassment and other forms of cyber violence, or sexual violence against children online, are attacks against human rights. Hate speech, xenophobia and racism may contribute to radicalisation leading to violent extremism. Attacks against computers and disinformation used in elections and election campaigns are attacks against the functioning of fundamental institutions and political stability. Daily attacks against critical information infrastructure affect national security and economic and other national interests as well as international peace and stability.

Moreover, evidence in relation to fraud, corruption, murder, rape, terrorism, the sexual abuse of children and, in fact, any type of crime may take the form of electronic evidence, which is volatile, often intangible and many times located in foreign jurisdictions. Accessing such evidence also has implications for human rights and the rule of law. Effective, legally compliant and robust procedures for the identification, collection and preservation of electronic evidence are therefore essential.

The diversity, prevalence and wide ranging impact, as well as the cross-border nature of such threats make it a high level priority for each State to focus on how to develop policies and legislations that allow for efficient and effective international cooperation, both in the prevention and fight against criminal acts committed through the Internet. At the same time, a balance must be struck between the fundamental rights of the individuals and the principles of necessity and proportionality governing the procedures put in place by criminal justice authorities.

In such a context, criminal justice authorities can fulfil their roles effectively only if they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to apply it. Given the scale of this challenge and the scarcity of resources, international organisations need to join forces and develop synergies to support countries in a consistent and effective manner, through effective capacity building initiatives.

As a joint organizational effort of African countries, regional and international organizations, the First African Forum on Cybercrime will focus on three major thematic streams:

▶ Cybercrime policies and national legislations, with respect to regional and international standards and relevant implementation practices;

▶ International cooperation to fight against cybercrime and proper handling cross-border of electronic evidence;

▶ Strengthening criminal justice authorities through adequate plans of capacity building and synergies with related programmes implemented in Africa.


The African Forum on Cybercrime is organized by the African Union Commission and supported by a number of partnering organizations:

► The Council of Europe;
► The European Union;
► US DOJ/State Department;
► UK Government;
► The Commonwealth Secretariat.

A number of regional organizations are also participating in the Forum, including: the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS); the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD); the Southern African Development Community (SADC); the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD); the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS); the East African Economic Commission (EAC); the Union Maghreb Arab (UMA); the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) and the African Centre for the Study & Research on Terrorism (ACSRT).

3. Expected outcomes

Representatives of participating countries will be able to discuss the current situation and share best practices with regional and international organizations, thus creating a network of professionals that will allow them:

▶ To improve the effectiveness of their daily endeavours through the exchange of information regarding common challenges and tasks;

▶ To strengthen their capacities to face new challenges in criminal law investigations that have a cybercrime component and evaluation of electronic evidence;

▶ To promote and improve regional cooperation protocols between internet service providers and criminal investigators;

▶ To strengthen regional mechanisms on criminal justice matters.

It is expected that by the end of the Forum:

▶ Representatives of participating countries will be in a better position to benefit from the support available from different international organisations for the strengthening of their criminal justice capacities on cybercrime and electronic evidence.

▶ International organisations will have strengthened their cooperation and synergies in view of future support to countries of the region. The Forum itself is expected to set an example of such cooperation.

4. Participants

Governments of all African countries are invited to nominate up to five officials that are involved in matters related to cybercrime and electronic evidence.
Recommended participants should include representatives from criminal justice authorities, law enforcement, prosecution services, judiciary, representatives of relevant ministries, legislators, policy makers or other entities deemed relevant for the event.

The invitation will be extended to the diplomatic community of the Embassies to the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa.

Private sector organisations are also participating.

5. Location

The Forum will take place at the African Union Commission premises in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and will last for 3 days: 16 – 18 October 2018.

6. Languages

The languages of the event will be English and French.
Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

7. Structure of the event and agenda

The event will be organized with a Plenary in the first morning with all participants, which will then split into parallel workshops organized under the three streams of the Forum:


Each workshop is expected to be chaired/ facilitated by one of the partnering organizations. Rapporteurs will present a brief outcome of the workshops in the Plenary of the last day, which will take place before the closing ceremony.

The agenda follows.