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Cyber & IP Africa


The U.S. Transnational and High-Tech Crime Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN) program is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (DOS/INL) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (DOJ/CCIPS) and Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ/OPDAT).

The GLEN is a worldwide law enforcement capacity building network of International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) attorney advisors, computer forensic analysts (Global Cyber Forensics Advisors or GCFAs), and federal law enforcement agents who deliver training and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial partners to combat intellectual property and cybercrime activity, as well as to assist in the collection and use of electronic evidence to combat all types of crime, including transnational organized crime (TOC).

Currently, ICHIPs are posted to regional positions in Africa (Abuja, Nigeria and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Asia (Hong Kong S.A.R.; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Bangkok, Thailand (part-time DOJ/OIA Attaché focused on IPR)), Europe (Bucharest, Romania; Zagreb, Croatia; and The Hague, Netherlands), and Western Hemisphere (São Paulo, Brazil and Panama City, Panama).  Two subject-matter expert ICHIPs – the ICHIP for Global Internet Fraud and Public Health (IFPH) and the ICHIP for Global Dark Web and Cryptocurrency (DWC) – as well as DOJ computer forensic analysts and law enforcement officials with intellectual property and cybercrime expertise also form part of the GLEN.

The objective of the GLEN is to promote the rule of law and to protect Americans from criminal threats emanating from abroad by delivering targeted training to encourage both immediate improvements as well as long-term institutional change.  This assistance includes training workshops, legislative review, case-based mentoring, skills development, and promoting institutional reform such as the formation of specialized units to address these criminal threats. Finally, the ICHIPs encourage countries to join the Council of Europe’s Convention against Cybercrime (Budapest Convention) as well as the G7 24-7 High Tech Crimes Digital Evidence Sharing Network (HTCN), an informal network that provides high-tech expert contacts to assist in preserving and sharing digital evidence.


The Abuja-based ICHIP supports the capacity building needs of partner nations on the continent of Africa by assessing the capacity of law enforcement authorities to enforce IPR; developing and delivering capacity building assistance, primarily case-based mentoring and skills training designed to enhance the capacity of justice sector personnel to enforce IPR; assisting the creation or improvement of institutions dedicated to IPR enforcement; monitoring regional trends in IPR protection; and providing expert assistance in support of U.S. intellectual property (IP) policies and initiatives in the region.  The ICHIP also assists foreign partners with IPR-related legislative drafting and preparing country submissions for the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual Special 301 Report.  The ICHIP acts as a liaison between U.S. law enforcement partners in the region and rights-holders, whose support is critical for IPR investigations and prosecutions. ICHIP programs focus on encouraging interagency and regional cooperation in protecting intellectual property rights (IPR). 

ICHIP Abuja has placed particular emphasis on combating fraudulent medicines that threaten human health and safety, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to building legal and law enforcement capacity in this area, the ICHIP is raising awareness on the ills of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.  The ICHIP played an integral role in the U.S. Embassy Nigeria-produced movie Fishbone, which focuses on counterfeit medicine.  A French language version of the movie has also been made to facilitate broader distribution on the continent of Africa by the ICHIP and the Department of State.

To improve IPR enforcement efforts, including quality of intellectual property (IP) seizures and prosecutions with regards to infringing goods, especially those involving counterfeit pharmaceuticals, ICHIP Abuja set up a Pharmacrime Working Group comprised of 23 members from 12 Anglophone countries (Botswana, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) and 6 members from 6 Francophone countries (Benin, Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, and Togo). These 2 groups have now been merged into 1 comprised of 29 members from Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. The ICHIP engages the group through virtual and in-person meetings to highlight enforcement best practices, support information sharing and cooperation among the members, and facilitate better communication between rights-holders and law enforcement in the region.

Since January 2021, the ICHIP has screened Fishbone in more than 20 African countries, provided guidance on new Gambian IP legislation, and continued to connect U.S. rights-holders to African government officials through the Pharmacrime Working Groups.

Cyber-Focused ICHIP

Upon deployment to the U.S. Mission to the African Union (AU) in December 2020, ICHIP Addis Ababa began building a cyber-focused regional program for Africa.  The ICHIP has initiated capacity building partnerships with key U.S. counterparts in the region, including the U.S. Mission to the AU, LEGATs, and other U.S. law enforcement officials on the African continent, all of whom have pledged assistance at future ICHIP programs.  ICHIP Addis Ababa has also coordinated with UNODC, the Council of Europe, and those in industry on future assistance initiatives.

With support from RLAs in the region, the ICHIP has also identified potential partners within law enforcement, the prosecution service, and the judiciary in several countries as well as at the African Union.  The ICHIP’s initial assistance activities in the region have concentrated on breaking down the technicalities in digital evidence and highlighting the unique skills needed to investigate cybercrime for law enforcement and the judiciary.  In July 2021, the AU showcased this new ICHIP program at its Cybercrime/Cybersecurity summit, emphasizing its capacity building opportunities for member countries.

IPR-Focused ICHIP Recent Activities

  • January 2024:  ICHIP IFPH hosted a virtual meeting of the African Regional Pharma Crime Working Group to continue their engagement with each other and with the ICHIP network. This program featured a U.S. case study presentation by an FDA Special Agent relating to counterfeit pharmaceuticals sold via the dark web.

Cyber-Focused ICHIP Recent Activities

  • December 2023: ICHIP Addis Ababa participated in the 2023 ICHIP Industry Forum. This was the third annual forum, which took place virtually and included IP industry rights holders and government officials. Approximately 100 industry and government representatives attended, including senior representatives from a broad range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, software, luxury goods, electronics, apparel, motion pictures, music, consumer goods, and automobiles. ICHIP Addis Ababa discussed cyber-based activities in the Africa regions, including the 16 international trips for training and assistance undertaken in calendar year 2023.
  • December 2023: In Bucharest, Romania, ICHIP Addis Ababa met with other cyber-based ICHIPs, as well as leadership from CCIPS and OPDAT, at the Council of Europe's Octopus Conference. This meeting focused on best practices for programs, proposed cross-region training events, and challenges within each region. ICHIP Addis Ababa also engaged with international cybercrime stakeholders and participated in a panel discussion on cyber capacity building.
  • December 2023: In Casablanca, Morocco, ICHIP Addis Ababa provided a summary of the ICHIP program and its work in Africa to 18 cyber officers from the Department of State, leading to requests for additional information. ICHIP Addis Ababa appeared at the invitation of the Department of State's Cyberspace and Digital Policy Division to reach the new cyber officers in the Africa and Middle East regions.


Local Prosecutor Brings African Cybercrime Delegation to Greensboro & Washington, D.C. (5/16/23)

Updated February 7, 2024