Kenya plans to open a center of excellence to better train public sector staff in digital skills, but so far, cybersecurity training seems to be left out of the stated agenda.
Backed by Microsoft and the United Nations Development Program, the center will train the country's civil servants with the digital skills required to improve digitization in the country, We Are Tech Africa reported. This includes broadband connectivity, cloud infrastructure, the adoption of smart technologies, government paperless office strategies, and online platforms for common services.
The center aligns with one of the objectives of Kenya’s Digital Master Plan 2022–2032, to "utilize ICT [information and communications technology] to enhance government service delivery to the citizen."
What About the Cybersecurity Factor?
What's glaringly missing is any mention of cybersecurity or data protection within the training being offered. The Kenyan Ministry of ICT did not return a request for comment by Dark Reading regarding whether cybersecurity will be a part of the agenda, but researchers say that it will be crucial for ramping up digital success in the region.
Confidence Staveley — founder of Cybersafe Foundation, a nongovernmental organization facilitating change for safer Internet use in Africa — says that this digital training could be a foundation to build cybersecurity talent down the road.
"I think this particular partnership will most likely have a fundamental element of cybersecurity, which will come in the form of safe and responsible use of digital," she says. "In parts of Africa, there is a very low digital literacy rate, especially among public workers, because they've been used to doing their work without computing systems or they were not digital, as there are still a lot of governments pushing paper."
She adds: "So while there's the move to digitize government systems, there should also be a common move to upskill public workers, which I think this initiative is doing and is very commendable."
The announcement is part of a wider trend; it follows the opening of an ICT center of excellence at the United States International University-Africa in Kenya in February. Also, the United Nations Development Programme and Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore partnerships and define pathways in Nigeria in October 2022.