The Government is working with institutions of higher learning and other stakeholders in the ICT space to train tech-savvy youths to become the next generation of cyber security experts.
Information, Communications, and The Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said that they have stepped up collaboration efforts with the private sector in spearheading activities that are enhancing the country’s preparedness to confront emerging cyber security challenges.
“We need a digital army so that our digital assets and resources can be safeguarded from those who do not mean good for business and the citizens,” said Owalo.
He continued: “Digital transformation has taken place the world over and everybody must invest in cyber security, as a country we need to boost and bolster our national capabilities so that we can be able to deal with threats that arise from time to time,”.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Ag. Director General Christopher Wambua during a cyber-security workshop in Nairobi on Tuesday, Owalo said that as we seek to be active participants in the global digital economy, our preparedness must encompass the practical realities in this space and cyber security is one of the areas we cannot afford to ignore.
The CS highlighted that the government’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) has identified ICT as a key enabler to economic growth by catalyzing development in various spheres of the economy.
He added that the digital superhighway agenda seeks to ensure that citizens exploit the full potential of ICT, particularly broadband so that an increasing majority of the people can interact in the digital space at speeds that have not been seen before.
“With the digital landscape becoming the cornerstone of our economic growth, we must always ask ourselves how well prepared we are to tap into the anticipated benefits but also how to manage the challenges that come with such progress,” said Owalo.
The CS explained that building a secure digital superhighway means the creation of an environment where citizens thrive and derive value from the immense possibilities that the digital age presents.
“The digital economy presents immense opportunities for individuals to leverage their skills, generate income, and contribute to the overall development of our nation,” said Owalo, adding that this explains why the government is keen on enhancing access to broadband services through the deployment of 100,000 kilometers of fibre, the establishment of 25,000 Wi-Fi hotspots and 1,450 ICT hubs across the country.
The CS said that these initiatives alongside others being executed by the CA through the Universal Service Fund (USF) seek to ensure that no one is left behind in the digital transformation journey.
“Through the Jitume program, we continue to offer digital skills, e-services, and online opportunities to the youth throughout the country,” said Owalo.
He explained that cyber security remains the bedrock of a secure digital economy and it is crucial to ensure that platforms and networks enabling access to e-government services, e-commerce as well as those connecting workers with employers are protected from cyber threats.
According to Owalo, this can only be achieved through fostering an environment of trust and security by empowering individuals to embrace the digital space with confidence knowing that their data and other transactions are safeguarded.
“The operationalization of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI) and licensing of electronic certification providers has set the country on a path of a secure digital space and we need to consolidate our gains in this space and foster greater collaboration to achieve our goals,” said the CS.
Huawei Vice President for East African Government Affairs Victor Guo said that 6,000 students signed up for the 2023 online boot camp and hackathon organized by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), Huawei, and the Kenya Cybersecurity Forensics Association.
Guo said that these huge numbers are an indication that the youth are eager to learn more in the cyber security space.
“I believe that today’s conference discussions about the skills needed in the cyber security space will enable us to identify the gaps and work together with the Kenyan government in efforts to address these gaps,” said Guo.
He explained that they have a long-standing partnership with CA with a technical cooperation agreement in place.