Ghana’s access to Internet bandwidth is among the highest on the African continent. The steadily increasing reliance on Internet services has resulted in a surge in related crimes such as cyber scams and identity fraud.
Ghana’s new legislation on Cybersecurity, (Act 1038) was passed into law on December 29, 2020, to give legal backing to the protection of individuals and organisations who may be targeted by cybercriminals.
According to the Ghana Police Service, individuals and businesses lost 200 million dollars between 2017 to 2019 alone to cybercrime, popularly known as ‘sakawa’.
For 24-year-old recording artist, Gabriel Daniels Sagoe, aka, “Jvst Daniels,” Ghana, which was once touted as Gateway to Africa and known for its warm hospitality, is fast losing its long-cherished image due to the increasing prevalence of fraudulent activities within its cyberspace.
Speaking in an interview with Lord Kweku Sekyi, Daniels, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology (IT) from Methodist University, stated that credibility is key for online businesses and Ghana risks losing billions of dollars annually if the nation is officially blacklisted by countries with more advanced economies.
He urged all stakeholders to be concerned and willing to collaborate to back the agenda to put an end to the activities of criminals who are destroying the nation’s reputation.
“Aside from destroying the nation’s reputation, the local economy will suffer greatly if foreign embassies keep warning their citizens against dealing with Ghanaians.”
“That situation will adversely affect the livelihoods of millions of Ghanaians who want to use the Internet for genuine business and social networking because their credibility will be frequently questioned by other parties.”
Jvst Daniels appealed to political leaders to prioritise youth-centred policies aimed at tackling joblessness and engaging the youth in productive ventures.
He explained that the country’s high unemployment rate projected to remain above 7% for 2021, remains one of the main contributory factors for youth engagement in cybercrime.
To him, the use of the internet is inevitable in modern business and thus young people must rather tap into the burgeoning business phenomenon dubbed ‘the gig economy’ powered by platforms such as Upwork and Freelancer which give individuals the chance to generate revenue using their talents and skills without relying on full-time employment.
Currently promoting his single, No Vex, he describes his style as a cross between indigenous Ghanaian highlife music and modern Afropop.
Just Daniels condemned the glorification of crime through music. He said musicians must rather sensitise the public about the dangers of criminal activities and encourage them to use their talents and skills for worthy causes.
The singer is affiliated with the Ghanaian non-profit organisation Cyber Ghana, a leading advocacy organisation for internet security in secondary and tertiary Institutions.
The organisation, through its National Initiative for Cyber Engineering, Science and Technology Educational Programme (NICESTEP), has set up new cybersecurity centres in Cape Coast Technical University, Sunyani Technical University, Bolgatanga Technical University, and Koforidua Technical University.
The project, funded by UK’s RAENG, and LLYODs Register Foundation, is intended to offer consultancy services to empower students with employable skills through cybersecurity and forensics as well as hands-on training in artificial intelligence (AI).
Datareportal’s Digital report for Ghana for the year 2020 indicated that there were 14.76 million Internet users in Ghana in January 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of internet users in Ghana increased by 7.5%. Currently, the country’s Internet penetration rate is estimated to be 50%.