The four-day East Africa Cybersecurity Clinic which will see officials from different parts of the globe explore ways to contain emerging cyber related crimes, has kicked off on Wednesday at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa.
Running from May 30 to June 2, 2018, the event is being organised by the World Bank Group (WBG), the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), the East African Community (EAC) and the Government of Israel.
As the internet penetration continues to expand and the rate of innovation continues to grow, the likely exposure to cyber criminals is inescapable; this has prompted governments to join efforts so that they can tackle the any possible threats in order to protect their citizens, data, communications and critical infrastructure through national policies, laws, and strong institutions.
A Wednesday statement released by Nita indicates that the clinic will focus on discussing ways to deal with cybercrimes both at national and regional level by identifying challenges and opportunities to move forward the cybersecurity agenda and building capacity in key cybersecurity areas such as policy, critical Infrastructure Protection, legal and regulatory frameworks.
They will also deliberate about setting up cybersecurity institutions (e.g. Computer Emergency Response Teams [CERTs], Security Operations Centers [SOCs] and Cyber Centres of Excellence, etc.)
From this, the statement says, officials will see how to develop a regional approach to solve cybersecurity challenges.
Israel, one of the key facilitators of the event, is a world leader in cybersecurity, and it has over the years assisted smaller nations in enhancing cybersecurity by funding related start-ups and exported billion-dollar sophisticated cybersecurity products, which has helped it to attract powerful investors and super powers.
At this event, officials from Israel will be sharing “extensive knowledge” with officials from developing countries.
Israel’s ministry of Economy and Industry is supervising this project that focuses on cybersecurity capacity building in Africa. The clinic, officials says, will enable African countries to experience cybersecurity best practices and be in contact with global expertise for building trusted digital environments.
Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry Eli (Eliyahu) Cohen says that they are ready to share their knowledge with other countries since they “believe cybersecurity is an integral aspect of any digital activity to make sure countries will be protected from the risks which come with it.”
He says that Israel has managed to build state-of-the-art cybersecurity infrastructure, generating nation-scale abilities, an atmosphere of cooperation between all stakeholders, and a favorable business environment for private sector involvement.
“These best practices are available for any country which is seeking to build its own systems and we are here to support them in this process,” he was quoted in the statement.
Boutheina Guermazi, the practice manager of the World Bank’s Transport and Digital Development Global Practice was quoted in the statement, saying: “We are confident that this event will not only raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, but also start laying the foundation for the design and development of cybersecurity frameworks and initiatives in the public sector, and help advance regional collaboration and synergies in the area.”
NITA-U’s Executive Director, James Saaka, said that “the clinic will allow Uganda to interact, learn and share experiences with the diverse global audience that will be in attendance. This is in line with the importance of cybersecurity to create an environment that allows for secure and safe digital transactions for Ugandan citizens.”
The clinic targets public officials responsible for cybersecurity policies in their jurisdictions, to help them expand their knowledge of cyber operations, technology and policy.
Participants include governmental officials from East African Community members countries such as Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda, and representatives from other countries of the region like Djibouti, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and Somalia.
The clinic will also lay the foundation to support regional integration of cybersecurity protection.
The 3-day conference can be followed online via Facebook and Twitter, using #WBNITASecure.
Kenya will also be hosting a continental summit on cybersecurity in July.