Ghana has been described as a shining example to Africa, and the rest of the world, in light of its efforts towards spearheading child online protection activities.
The Global Chief Child Protection Specialist at the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Headquarters in New York, Afrooz Kaviani Johnson, praised Ghana for putting in place a legislative framework to protect the rights of Ghanaian children online.
“I am happy Ghana has been able to put the fundamental structures in place for public education, social welfare, and awareness creation on child online protection. We really do look to Ghana as a case study example,” she said.
She made the commendation when she led a team from UNICEF Ghana to pay a courtesy call on the Management of the Cyber Security Authority (CSA) in Accra, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.
As part of her visit to Ghana, Afrooz Kaviani Johnson, participated in a stakeholders’ consultative meeting on the development of a Legislative Instrument (L.I.) on the Cybersecurity Act, 2020 (Act 1038), with a focus on Child Online Protection.
Ghana, since 2016, has been collaborating with UNICEF and other relevant stakeholders to tackle the issue of Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (OCSEA) and has facilitated the integration of targeted interventions on OCSEA into the National Child Protection systems.
The UNICEF team during its visit to the CSA, sought to further engage on the development of the Legislative Instrument with input from civil society organisations and other relevant state institutions.
Ms Johnson commended the sector Minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu Ekuful and the Director-General of the CSA, Dr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, for their transformational leadership and contribution towards safeguarding the lives of innocent children against indecent and harmful online contents.
She spoke fondly of Dr. Antwi-Boasiako, recalling their shared international platforms at conferences to discuss the pressing issues surrounding child online protection and other cybersecurity-related issues.
The Global Child Protection Specialist stated that children, who are vulnerable, formed half of the population of many African countries; for this reason, they must be protected against consuming unwholesome online contents.
In his remarks, Dr. Antwi-Boasiako acknowledged and applauded the support of UNICEF towards Ghana’s cybersecurity journey.
He noted that the steady progress Ghana had chalked in cybersecurity readiness; from a score of 32.60% in 2017 to 86.6% as of 2020 on the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index, a feat he described as a major leap, was as a result of the collaboration and support by UNICEF.
He commended the Minister for Communications & Digitalisation, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful for her drive and passion for the protection of children which necessitated a clear policy direction, leading to the establishment of Child Online Protection systems in Ghana.
The Director-General suggested that the collaboration between the CSA and UNICEF should be scaled up and institutionalised, around a number of areas, comprising awareness creation, research into child online protection issues, support for criminal justice response to child online safety issues including prosecution of offenders and victims support services, among others.
Dr. Antwi-Boasiako commended UNICEF for their humanitarian endeavours to protect the lives of children as he described the staff at UNICEF Ghana who have been collaborating with the CSA for the past six years as “faithful servants and advocates of children in Ghana for their drive and dynamism” on child online protection matters.
Afrooz Kaviani Johnson was accompanied by Miho Yoshikawa-Child Protection Specialist, Hilda Mensah-Child Protection Specialist, Joyce Odame-Child Protection Officer and Benjamin Kobina Amoah Dadson, Digital Communication Officer-UNICEF Ghana Country Office.