At a glance
In developing countries, the use of ICT is often much more far-reaching than in Germany, for example. The large-scale establishment of mobile phone payment systems, the introduction of digital tax systems or online education services must function reliably if they are to overcome the backlogs in their respective sectors in the long term. Cybersecurity is also an important cornerstone for building a digital economy, as digital business models cannot be successful without IT security and customer trust.
Many partner countries need support in the (further) development and implementation of their own cybersecurity strategies and systems. Backlogs in the development of cyber capacities can expose poorer and disadvantaged countries and population groups in particular to cyber threats and can limit or reverse their development. When working with partner countries, however, the German DC must bear in mind that some states use the issue of cybersecurity to restrict the freedoms and rights of their citizens by means of censorship and repression. Strengthening and protecting digital security is an important task for the future of German development cooperation, since without it the potential of digital change cannot be (fully) developed.
The issue of building cyber security capacities plays a central role in the German government’s foreign cyber policy and cybersecurity policy. In addition to the “Cyber Security Strategy for Germany 2016”, it is guided by, among other things, the Council conclusions on cybersecurity capacities and their development in the EU, adopted by the General Affairs Council on 19 March 2019.
At the European level, the German government is supporting measures in seven partner countries (Mauritius, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa and Tonga) within the framework of the Global Action on Cyber-Crime (GLACY) project and its successor project GLACY+ to improve the legal framework in the states aligned with the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and local capacities for data forensics and evidence preservation. Training in the fight against cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism is a priority under the Euromed Police Programme, which cooperates with the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.The BMZ also plans to integrate the expansion of cybersecurity capacities into the new digital DC portfolio in Tunisia.
The Civil Peace Service (ZFD)
The BMZ also supports the Civil Peace Service (ZFD) as a programme for violence prevention and promotion of peace in crisis and conflict regions. Nine German peace and development organisations run the ZFD together with local partner organisations. Experts from the ZFD provide long-term support to local people in their efforts for dialogue, human rights and peace. This now includes education about disinformation and hate speech in digital space.
In financial cooperation projects with digital components, a cybersecurity checklist is used during project identification and preparation to check whether there are indications of a cybersecurity risk among the respective project executing agency and other relevant parties and, if so, to what extent. If necessary, a detailed cybersecurity analysis is carried out. Based on the results of this analysis, the project is either not carried out or only carried out subject to conditions, depending on the extent and possibilities of mitigating the risk. In order to ensure that cybersecurity aspects are adequately taken into account in the implementation phase, the project executing agencies will also be supported in this respect, if necessary, through staff support measures. We thus contribute to creating awareness of cybersecurity in partner countries and to building up corresponding knowledge in the project executing agencies.