NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – ICT and the Digital Economy PS John Tanui has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to growing the country’s digital economy through enacting a safe and secure cyberspace.
Tanui, who spoke in his office while issuing a Cyber Security Observance Brief, noted that the digital space presents many opportunities, hence the country’s ambitious agenda to roll out over 100,000 kilometers of digital infrastructure, digitalize its services, provide digital training, and upskill its public workforce.
PS Tanui stated that even as the government moves to bring more people to this global digital platform, there is a need to secure the digital network.
“One of the issues is of course data privacy and data protection. The month of October is the month of cyber Security Awareness and it is a very good opportunity for us,” said Tanui.
“As a government, we need to ensure that the right digital infrastructure proper ICT policies are in place, legislative frameworks, and even clarity in terms of what we need to do. So we have also put in place the necessary policies to ensure we safeguard this space,” the PS stated.
He noted that the country has enacted the Data Protection and Privacy Act, 2019, the Kenya National ICT Policy, 2019, and the Digital Master Plan 2022–2032, in addition to setting up the National Computer and Cyber Crimes Coordination Committee (NC4) in an effort to secure its digital space.
The PS further pointed out that the government is building linkages and establishing partnerships with both local and leading global centres with expertise on issues of cyber security in an effort to align with global strategies and enhance capacities and knowledge sharing in this new emerging digital space.
“We are working with various institutions and partners to ensure that we keep the sector secure. Institutions like the Communications Authority, ICT Authority, and Office of the Data Protection Commission., within the Ministry we have the NC4 and all of them have the experts who are able to scan the space and give us guidance and warnings wherever there are any risks,” added Tanui.
The PS, however, called for compliance with ICT standards that govern information security and continued capacity building by government cyber security experts.
He appealed to the citizens to remain vigilant and cautious of the information they share and the people they interact with.
Tanui called on all corporations to relook into their organizational structure and ensure they have a skilled cyber security expert in their workforce.
“The way we are careful when we walk in our street, the same way when we walk in our digital spaces we need to know that there are also risks. It is not every click that appears we should accept,” said Tanui.
The PS further noted that the use of cyberspace requires digital skills; hence, the government is building capabilities within its public institutions and the private sector in an effort to identify cyber threats.
“Finally, I want to encourage us to know this is a great space which presents opportunities to create jobs and wealth. You have seen our young people going to our digital hubs to upskill themselves and earn jobs, it’s very impressive to see persons who have just cleared their colleges or even students earn from 200 to even 2, 000 US Dollars a month in this digital platforms,” added Tanui.
“We have seen Business Process Outsourcing centres settled up here in Kenya and employing thousands of young people to work digitally and we want our young people to go into it and equip themselves with the necessary cyber skills and exploit the potentials in this space.”
Cybersecurity continues to be a global concern not only for governments but also for the private sector, the tech community, academia, and other non-governmental actors, given its enormous implications for information security, critical infrastructure, economic prosperity, public safety, and relations between countries.
The latest Hiscox cyber readiness report for 2023 reveals that cyberattacks have been steadily climbing for four consecutive years, with a notable surge in targeting smaller businesses reaching as high as 36 percent.