The government has kick-started the process of developing up-to-date cyber security strategies that are geared towards safeguarding and strengthening the country’s e-commerce and digital ecosystems, as more Kenyans tap into the niche space.
ICT Principal Secretary (PS), Jerome Ochieng’, said the government is a strategic player both regionally and globally in the area of cybersecurity, due to the continued investments in robust ICT infrastructures and digitization in both private and public sector, in the quest to achieve the digital economy blueprint.
Ochieng’ said the country is within timelines in harnessing the opportunities brought about by the 4th Industrial revolution, where cybersecurity is a cross-cutting issue in the five pillars of the country’s digital economy that includes digital government, digital business, Infrastructure, innovation – driven entrepreneurship and digital skills and values.
The Digital Economy Blueprint, which was launched in 2019 and anchored on the five foundational pillars, has been championed as a key catalyst in powering the country’s transformation agenda in accelerating adoption of digital technologies.
In a speech read by ICT Director, Heston Malweyi, during the opening of a workshop to develop Kenya’s Cyber Security Strategy in Naivasha, the PS said the strategies that will be advanced and implemented within 2022-2026 timeline, will safeguard the country’s economic development and position as a trade hub in the region.
This, he said, will be achieved by guaranteeing trust in the e-commerce and digital government ecosystems to be implemented within the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI).
The move to update the country’s cybersecurity systems is said to be necessitated by the rapid growth in the use of digital related technologies, including social media platforms, digital services, wireless money transfers and banks mobile systems, among others where thousands of transactions occur daily.
According to data from the Central Bank of Kenya, the total registered mobile money accounts as of April this year stands at 69 million with a total agent cash in – cash out value of 663 billion shillings as compared to 173 billion shillings valued last year in the same period.
Consequently, the PS said national, regional and international cooperation and collaborations in cyberspace governance processes are critical noting without cybersecurity, there’s no national security.
Ochieng’ said that it is on this development that the country continues to strengthen its civil-military integration in cybersecurity and digitization to ensure proper coordination and execution of functions.
The PS at the same time regretted that cybercrimes targeting children are on the rise and called on the stakeholders to provide guidelines that will ensure their safety and nation’s future in cyberspace.
In a virtual address to the forum, Communications Authority Director General, Ezra Chiloba, said cybersecurity risks have been identified as one of the ten most flagged economic risks and threats as per the World Economic Forum data.
Chiloba called on the various stakeholders who will develop the strategies to look into three multi-faceted approaches including the transnational nature of cybersecurity, technical capacity of systems and processes and stakeholders management in cyberspace sector.
He called for more investments in cybersecurity systems that will guarantee safety of all citizens, adding that the Communications Authority will offer both financial and technical support in implementing the strategy.
By Erastus Gichohi and Calvin Osiemo