On 27 October 2021, the East African Business Council (EABC) and dSkills@EA invited to a virtual discussion on how to improve cyber security for the competitiveness of East African Businesses. The webinar deliberated on strategies to achieve cyber resilience in cross-border trade in the EAC.

Speaking during the event, EABC CEO John Bosco Kalisa stressed, “e-commerce now plays a critical role in the economic resilience and recovery of the EAC bloc and business be aware of the risk of cybersecurity.” He stated that cybercrime is set to cost the world USD 10.5 trillion annually by 2025 and noted that it is important to highlight cybersecurity to build back better our economies amid the COVID-19.

On his part, Simon Hochstein, dSkills@EA Project Director, GIZ highlighted that the webinar aimed to explore among others the legal aspect of cybersecurity on the transfer of data between countries and facilitate multisector dialogue.

Anthony Muiyuro, Associate Director, Cybersecurity, Privacy & Trusted Technology – Ernst & Young elaborated that cyber security impacts brand reputation, leads to operation slow down intellectual property theft, and loss of money to companies. He underlined that the average cost of data breach is USD 3.92 million and that it takes 205 days to detect a cybersecurity attack. He urged East African businesses to map digital assets and invest in strategies to enhance cyber resilience as trust is the invaluable currency for business.

Victor Kapiyo, Cybersecurity Legal Expert – Kenya ICT Action Network called for harmonization of the legal framework and enforcement of laws to boost the competitiveness of the ICT sector, digital trade and cyber resilience in the EAC region.

The panelists urged EAC Governments to have a robust and protective infrastructure for the EAC bloc for resilient cross-border operations and client service delivery. The panelists stated that businesses need to inculcate good values and culture in the organization and society plus build knowledge & expertise through tailored ICT trainings to boost cyber resilience. 

The ICT4Business – regional cybersecurity webinar was attended virtually by over 100 stakeholders across multiple sectors, from all six EAC Partner States, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, including overseas attendees from UK, US and Dubai. 

The project dSkills@EA is implemented by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) together with Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA) representing an East African – German academic consortium. It aims to strengthen employability and innovation capabilities of youth in the EAC and supports the digital transformation of businesses.

The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 6 East African countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment. The primary mission is to promote sustainable private sector-driven growth in the EAC.

A video recording of the event can be found here

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