Three Researchers from @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University, were selected to present their papers in the IST Conference 2017 held in Windhoek, Namibia. Tabitha Mberi, Tracy Weru and Lorna Mutegi presented their individual papers to an audience comprising of senior officials from both the public and private sectors in education and research; Innovation stakeholders from Namibia, the European Commission, the African Union Commission, Southern African Development Community, Ubuntu Alliance among others. There were over 150 presentations from 36 countries.
L-R; Lorna Mutegi, Tracy Weru and Tabitha Mberi
Tabitha’s paper themed:”Challenges to the Successful Implementation of E-Government Systems in Developing Countries: A Case of Taita Taveta, Kenya “was on work that @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University continues to implement in Taita Taveta County. Tabitha’s research looked at how devolvement of government from local authorities to county governments in Kenya has resulted in many counties adopting online revenue collection systems with the aim to improve public sector services and deliver them in an effective and efficient manner. Her study assessed the various challenges that the team has faced in implementing the system which range from lack of trust of e-government systems by citizens, lack of infrastructure servicing by the county government, failure to follow procedures by system users among other reasons
Lorna’s paper, titled “Unlocking the Supply of Open Government Data for SDGs: A Case of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)” focused on demand for data-for-development to support and monitor a country’s progress in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a rising global need. Lorna’s paper illuminates on a model for unlocking the supply of Open Government Data (OGD) for monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs based on a project that Strathmore University, through @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University, is currently working on in partnership with The World Bank and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). The model informs on the benefits of utilizing a quadruple helix model (public/private/research/civil society) in an OGD initiative, to unlock quality, timely and reliable government data to support and measure SDGs and other national development goals.
Tracy presented her paper titled “Cyber-Smart Children, Cyber-Safe Teenagers: Enhancing internet Safety for Children“. Child Online Protection is a hard and tricky concern that requires multi-national efforts if it’s to be successfully tackled in the near future. This is mainly due to the exponential growth in smart devices. Providing a safe environment requires an in-depth understanding of the types and prevalence of online risks young Internet users face, as well as of the solutions most effective in mitigating these risks. To be able to get the right information on protecting children and teenagers there is need of an Internet Safety awareness program that will build a generation of responsible digital citizens whose online behaviour demonstrate media literacy, ethics, safety and security.The paper presented by Tracy Nyatoro Weru proposes the development of a mobile based game application based on child online protection that will provide a comprehensive learning experience that is amazingly fun, highly interactive and extremely effective.
The IST Africa Conference provides a platform to strengthen Information Society, ICT and Innovation related policy dialogues both within Africa and between Africa and Europe, through Plenary Sessions, the rich thematic knowledge exchange facilitated by Scientific Programme and co-located multi-lateral (eg. JEG8, eu-Africa HLPD on STI) and private bi-lateral meetings. (Source: IST Africa).
Participation in the IST Africa 2017 conference continues to contribute to @iLabAfrica’s- Strathmore University exploitation and research and innovation strategy. In addition, the networking opportunity will continue to help build the research Centre ties with leading Public, Private, Education, and Research organizations from more than 39 countries who took part in the conference.
Kenya has in the recent past suffered from Internet Security threats such as hacking,impersonations, loss of money, loss of information and even exposure of confidential information. The attacks are mainly targeted at individuals, banks, financial institutions and government institutions.
A report by Deloitte named Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2017, ranked Kenya as one of the most vulnerable countries worldwide in terms of cyber security. Kenya has a current internet penetration of 85.3 percent, one of the highest in Africa.The report showed companies and government organizations in Kenya lost a record of US$171 million through cybercrime in 2016 and this is expected to rise by 30 percent by the end of 2017.
To help reduce cyber security threats in Kenya, ESET East Africa has signed a memorandum of understanding (M.O.U) with @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University. ESET will support Strathmore University’s current academic programs on cyber-security, through collaborative research and benchmarking approaches on issues of local interest such as ethical hacking, phishing and ransomware studies. Teddy Njoroge, Country Manager ESET East Africa, said the company will explore joint opportunities with like-minded partners and contribute assets in developing innovative cyber-security solutions targeting both blue chip businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises over the next one year.
Estimates indicate that Kenya has just about 1000 certified cyber-security specialists, way lower than the optimal 40,000 needed “The rise of cyber-crime and related information security incidents in the country can be attributed to this shortage of personnel coupled by the slow development of homegrown research driven solutions” said Collins Oduor the Information Technology Security Manager for @iLabAfrica centre.
@iLabAfrica offers customized cyber-security training in ethical hacking(CEH), computer hacking forensic investigation as well as certified security analyst courses to about 200 graduate and undergraduate students annually – drawn from the financial services sector, government agencies and academia.
Among other agreements, under the M.O.U with ESET East Africa, @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University plans to develop and introduce additional courses on emerging technologies and skills to tackle new cyber threats such as Internet of Things (IoT) Security, Security for Industrial Control Systems, Cyber security for Executives, Advance Malware Analysis and Secure Application Development among others.