Opening Ceremony Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building: Cyber Resilience for Development

Speech by Dutch Ambassador-at-Large for Cyber Affairs H.E. Ernst Noorman at the Opening Ceremony Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building: Cyber Resilience for Development. 29 November 2023, Accra Ghana.

Dear, Senior minister and advisor to the prime minister H.E. Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo,

Minister Owusu-Ekuful,



Members of the international development community,

Members of the cyber security community,

I stand here on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Her Excellency Hanke Bruins Slot, who regrets not being able to partake in this conference.

It is an honor for the Netherlands to be part of the first Global Conference on Cyber Capacity Building.

Let me first of all express my gratitude to Her Excellency Minister Owusu-Ekuful, for hosting this conference.

Ghana, a frontrunner on the African continent, is reaping the benefits of the digital transition, leading a flourishing digital economy with a wide range of online services and an approach to cybersecurity that sets a blueprint for many other countries. Therefore, Ghana plays an important role in contributing to international discussions about harnessing digital for development through resilience, cybersecurity and trust.

We are here today and tomorrow to learn and exchange and see how we, as an international community, can improve our collaboration in building cyber capacity, together with our regional partners.

The Netherlands is a strong supporter of the theme of this conference: cyber resilience for development.

We have supported the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise at the outset and they have played an indispensable role in making this conference possible. Together with the World Bank, Cyber Peace Institute, the World Economic Forum and our Ghanian host, we are putting cyber capacity building high on the international agenda.

The Netherlands has endorsed the Accra Call and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot, has personally signed the Call to Action.

This is important because we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the digital transitions taking place in the world benefits every individual, regardless of gender, age, level of education or whether you live in a urban or rural area. To support  this effort, we witness an increase in digital for development projects around the world to close the digital divides.

This conference, however, is not only about connecting the 2,6 bln people that remain offline today. It is both about the people who are connected and who will be connected in the years to come.

We all see the huge benefits of digital technologies in support of development. It enables the deployment of digital services such as online banking, allows people to enjoy education from anywhere in the world, about any topic, and it provides  opportunities for youth employment in digital sectors. If we want to ensure that no one is left behind in reaping the benefits of a digitized society, we need to invest in cyber security at the same time.

Failing to do so, could increase the vulnerabilities for states, the private sector, civil society organizations and individuals, in particular those who are already in vulnerable situations, like women and girls.

Cyber capacity building has many aspects that are intrinsically linked to the digital development agenda. Moreover, it is a condition for a society that is digitizing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is about ensuring access to an open, free and secure global internet for all.

It is about embedding our shared human-centric values in the development and use of digital technologies. Fundamental rights need to be protected and users should be able to trust digital devices and services.

It is about promoting equal and affordable access to digital and cyber security skills for all, across sectors.

It is about being able to safeguard the international legal order and protect human rights both offline and online.

This requires a different approach.

What we have learned in the Netherlands, while developing and implementing our own national cyber security policy, is that cyber is a team sport.

In our interconnected world, governments need to work together and build trusted relationships with private companies and civil society for an effective response to cyber threats. We all have different information positions and only together, can we paint a full picture in order to prepare and respond.

We have different tasks in contributing to the cyber security of a nation. We need to take up this shared responsibility in developing and implementing cyber security policies through a multistakeholder approach.  

We all have unique digital ecosystems and experiences in building cyber resilience. I look forward to the many things we can learn from each other at this conference.

I am confident that this conference will be the start of a more coordinated and collaborative approach:

To ensure we address new digital threats together,

To ensure we leave no one behind in a digitized society,

Thank you.