IEEE to champion experts review of Internet Security in East Africa


The Kenya section of the world’s largest technical professional association, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has partnered with AITEC Africa to convene a high level expert conference for review of the state of internet security in East Africa.

The experts conference will assemble senior internet security officials from governments in the region, private sector and engineering education providers in the region with aim of identifying weaknesses, challenges, regulatory benchmarks and human skills gaps that if addressed would give the region a holistic framework to defeat increasing internet and data security risks.

“Internet Security East Africa (ISEA)  is going to foster a much needed dialogue between the government policy heads in the region and industry leaders, security managers, industry professionals, technology experts, legal professionals and regulatory bodies,” said Vincent Kaabunga, Chairman of IEEE Kenya section.  The event will be held on November 20-21, and will be co-located with the East Africa ICT Summit at the Oshwal Center.

Among companies that will make submissions at the event is Serianu, which has published a number of research reports on regional data security, Business Connexion, one of Africa’s leading information technology companies, global security companies Kaspersky Lab (Russia) and ESET Security, Telecommunications Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) and the Ugandan National Information Technology Authority.

The announcement comes a month ahead of the expected arrival of a high powered delegation from the IEEE global administration headquartered in New Jersey on its second mission in Africa.

IEEE with over 430,000 engineers  is one of the world’s largest developers of standards, and has over 900 standards in its catalog. It publishes approximately 150 technical journals and research papers, which are available electronically to technologists around the world.  Each month about 8 million articles are downloaded from the IEEE electronic library. Most engineers in the Americas, Europe and Asia are parts of the body that has a rich heritage of innovation and inventions both in early days with founders like Thomas Edison, William Bell and Nikola Tesla credited with life transforming inventions. Today most engineers around the world are its members. Africa has a low number of engineer members of the IEEE which has limited the extent of engineering collaborations, opportunities and knowledge sharing among them.

In April this year, the IEEE global President Dr. Peter Staecker completed the first mission in Africa. In Kenya, he held meetings with senior government officials including cabinet and principal secretaries in the ICT, Industrialization and Education ministries. Mr. Kaabunga said that this first mission had a great impact on the IEEE strategy in Africa and that major projects had already been initiated by the body as part of its ground work for wider participation locally.

“As a result of the first mission in April, IEEE identified lack of access to online libraries and digital engineering resources by engineering educators and students as a major challenge in engineering education in East Africa. It is already facilitating the formation of a consortium of East African universities to subsidize the access to the IEEE Electronic Library that is used worldwide by learning and practicing engineers,” says Prof. Robert Gateru, Principal of Nairobi campus at the Kenya Methodist University (KeMU).

IEEE was also supporting efforts to set up pilot Education Advisory boards in universities for Engineering and Computing Technologies (ECT) that will, provide a mechanism for industry to provide feedback to universities on the quality and content of their programs and graduates.