In this age where data is the crown jewel, the commitment to safeguarding these invaluable resources has never been more crucial. According to the KPMG Africa Cyber Security Outlook for 2022, the cyber security landscape in Africa is rapidly evolving, propelled by fast-paced digitization, especially in East Africa.
This proliferation of technology has widened the scope of cyber threats impacting individuals and businesses. Small business owners in the East African Partner States, including Tanzania, face challenges in instituting safeguards due to lack of knowledge and resources regarding cyber security.
The East African Business Council (EABC), in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the East African Women in Business Platform (EAWiBP), the Tanzanian Private Sector Forum (TPSF) and Serensic Africa, organised a three-day workshop focused on Data Security and Safety, during the Cyber Security awareness month in October.
The workshop was designed to train business owners and SMEs with essential knowledge and skills to safeguard their digital presence and raise awareness about the growing cyber security threats and the importance of proactive data protection. The workshop hosted 70 youth, women in business and SME’s, among other participants.
Speaking at the event, the Director General of the ICT Commission in Tanzania, Dr. Nkundwe Moses Mwasaga, highlighted the importance of leveraging government infrastructure for innovation among the youth to stimulate digital economic growth. “As a region, let us build innovations that are competitive with the global products so that we provide the regional market with choices and stop being only consumers”, he said. He also urged the youth to study the Personal Data Protection Act to safeguard their data and personal information and patent their innovations to avoid being compromised by third parties.
The EABC Executive Director, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, called upon the EAC Partner States and development partners to set up a venture capital fund to finance uptake and provide safeguards for the many innovations piling up and not getting to the market.
Simon Hochstein, the dSkills@EA project director, commended EABC for building the capacities of the youth and SME’s and reiterated GIZ’s commitments to capacitating the EAC private sector. He said the organisation is closely working with other partners to support the development of a regional digital roadmap, which in part will include components of best practices in cybersecurity.
The three-day workshop covered an overview of the Tanzanian Data Protection Act, the cyber security threat landscape, data protection best practices, identifying and responding to phishing attacks, securing mobile devices, and a hackathon.
The participants agreed to establish a cybersecurity forum in Tanzania as a way forward, to continue with the discussions and awareness in cybersecurity, build the capacity of the public and use the platform as an advocacy tool for more support from the government and partners.
Participants recommended more awareness of the recent Tanzanian Personal Data Protection Act, scaling up training to other EAC Partner States, access to finance for SMEs, youth and women innovators, and urged the EAC governments to develop a comprehensive database of SMEs, youth and women in the digital economy eco-system.
Find more information on dSkills@EA here.