The highly anticipated Kenya Internet Governance Forum took place today with emerging regulation of content, data and consumer rights , inclusion, universal access, meaningful connectivity among the issues at the heart of the conference.
The one-day forum which was also preceded by the Youth Internet Governance Forum also tackled elections in the context of data and technology as well as trust, security and stability.
“Being part of this annual conversation on Kenya’s digital space has always been refreshing. Matters access, trust. Security, inclusion among many,” said journalist David Indeje of the virtual forum whose theme was Internet United
“As a critical stakeholder and a champion for multi-stakeholder, KeNIC recognizes the need for continuous dialogue on emerging issues and trends, identifying opportunities and a robust capacity building platform from all players in the internet ecosystem” said Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) Chief executive Officer Joel Kabiriu
While discussing Data protection, the panelists which included Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait, Facebook’s Emma Ndegwa and Safaricom’s Kui Kinyajui agreed that protecting data and privacy of users has never been more crucial and they illuminated the steps taken by their organizations to protect data.
“Consent as far as protection of personal data is concerned should revolve around asking questions around how your data will be utilised, how it will be stored, and who will access it,” said Kassait
“Data is our foremost concern at and we are very excited about the new Data protection bill and about working with the Data commissioner,” said Kinyajui who also revealed that Safaricom has put in place a data policy and also hired a data officer who is specifically tasked with protecting consumer’s data.
Digitizing of our national curriculum was also a matter of concern to everyone and according to Chief Digital Officer at Longhorn publishers, Penina Kimani, The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is pushing for digital transformation in Education.
“I have the best job. Listening to parents and their problems enable us to come up with proper digital solutions. We need a 24/7 demand access to education. Content, in the video, audio formats to engage them,” said Kimani
She added that content created digitally needs to have a framework that provides equity to all.
“A change in mindset is critical. There is a new paradigm shift in the way they are engaged. The world in which we are preparing our children is digital,” she said
Artificial Intelligence was also tackled and according to Mary Mwangi, CEO at Data Intergrated AI there are great opportunities for AI in Kenya.
“Artificial Intelligence is not used as much as it should be in Kenya around Fintech and banking. There are great opportunities in AI and fintech,” said Mwangi
Cyber attacks continue to be a concern in Kenya and according to Dr. Paula Musuva of the United States International University (USIU) the attackers are no longer focused on the big organizations but now have their guns set on the smaller organizations.
“A good example is that saccos now more at risk of cyber attacks as compared to banks,” said Musuva
Despite the efforts, quite a number of people do not have access to the internet and there is need to address this concern.
“Here in Kenya, the digital …. is growing with over 21million people being able to access the internet but that is not the good news, we still experience issues where people are still not able to connect online,” said Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Zellweger Valentin,
As far as Inclusion is concerned Facebook’s Ndegwa said, “Inclusion is for all. Use the power given to you responsibly.”
“All Kenyans should make sure we avoid hate speech, and content that cause harm offline, be careful when sharing unverified content,” she added
There is also need for more uptake of the Kenyan domain and there needs to be more awareness to grow the DOT KE domain ecosystem. Everyone needs to know and understand the value of a domain name and what impact this would have to their daily lives.
“We manage and administer the Dot KE ccLD. Our role is to ensure we provide a secure, accessible and reliable .KE internet ecosystem,” said KeNIC’s CEO Kabiriu
The event was crowned by the graduation of the Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeISG) class of 2021.
“I encourage anyone interested in Internet space to join for Kenya School of Internet Governance (KeISG) offered by KICTANet,” said Joel Karubiu,
Kenya School of Internet is convened by Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet) which is a multi-stakeholder platform for people and institutions interested and involved in ICT policy
“Today, we welcomed you to participate in our annual Internet Governance Forum themed ‘Internet united” We greatly appreciate staying with, sharing ideas and we believe, it will lead to a more robust and transformative digital space in Kenya,” said Kictanet in a tweet