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The ECOWAS Commission through the Organised Crime: West African Response on Cybersecurity and Fight against Cybercrime (OCWAR-C,) project funded by the European Union, in collaboration with the Computer Security Incident Response Team in Benin (bjCSIRT) of the Information Systems Agency (ASIN), proceeded on Monday, October 10, 2022 in Cotonou, Benin, to the official launch of the Final of the ECOWAS ‘’HACKERLAB 2022’’ competition with the theme “ECOWAS Youth Engaged Against Cyber Threats”.

This ECOWAS Regional Cybersecurity Competition has the main objective of identifying talent and supporting young people in the field of technology, in order to create a stable cyber workforce in the region.

The first part of this competition took place online throughout the month of August at the national level and made it possible to select the best team from each Member State. This regional final phase therefore brings together eleven (11) finalist countries from ECOWAS and Mauritania.

Each team, made up of talented young men and women, will be invited to take up several challenges in the field of cybersecurity. Thus, from October 10 to 12, 2022, over forty participants will compete non-stop for 48 hours. The opening ceremony which preceded the launch of the competition was marked by two (2) speeches including that of the representative of the Director General of ASIN who indicated that cybersecurity is a crucial area for the digital economy and encouraged the participants to show their know-how to solve the problems related to the information system.

Ambassador Amadou Diongue, Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Benin, on behalf of the President of the ECOWAS Commission, HE. Dr. Omar Alieu Touray indicated that the Internet is transforming processes in all sectors of activity, fostering innovation and development, but at the same time we are witnessing the increase in very harmful cyber activities. As such, the regional hackerlab should be seen as an exciting and collaborative avenue to identify and recognize talent and support budding young techies in the region to lay the foundation for building a cybersecurity workforce. Before launching the competition, he wished the participants good luck by telling them the importance of this Hackerlab competition.

This “HACKERlab 2022” competition marks ECOWAS’s desire to effectively fight against cyber threats.

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