Internet Governance

Kenya Internet Governance Forum 2018

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The Kenya Internet Governance Forum is an open and inclusive multi-stakeholder forum where public issues related to key elements of Internet Governance issues are discussed. KICTAnet in partnership with industry stakeholders convenes and organizes the Kenya IGF. This has been the tradition since the 1st edition of the Kenya IGF, which was held in 2007. The Kenya IGF has been hosted and convened by KICTAnet in every successive year since then. The Kenya IGF is a unique platform for all stakeholders to openly share perspectives and concerns on the key issues that may affect the future of Internet users in the country and across the globe in general. The outcomes of the Kenya IGF 2018 will feed into the Africa IGF and Global IGF later this year.

STATE OF THE ICT IN KENYA

According to the  Communications Authority of Kenya, Kenya has 42 million mobile subscribers; 30 million mobile money subscribers who made 308 million transactions valued at 1.7 trillion between October – December 2017. During the same period the internet data subscriptions stood at 33.3 million while the number of broadband subscriptions stood at 18 million. Kenya’s current international Internet bandwidth available in the country (Lit/equip capacity) stands at to 3,182.592 Gbps.

Further, according to the  Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC) the total number of domains stood at 73,972 with “.co.ke” recording 68,430 domains and “.go.ke” recording 414 domains as at 31st December 2017. Moreover, during the period, The National KE-CIRT/CC  analyzed and validated the 4,589 cyber threats and also identified 539 cyber threats that were critical and required immediate response.

More importantly, ICT contributes significantly to Kenya’s economy. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2018 Economic Survey, ICT has transformed society and has spurred the economy by offering services through online platforms whether in the provision of government services, business and e-commerce, research and transfer of knowledge, and so on. As evidenced from the above statistics, these developments, according to KNBS, led to the value of ICT output in the economy increasing by 10.9% to KSh 345.1 billion in 2017.

THEME

The theme of the 2018 KIGF was “ICTs for Kenya’s Development: Getting Everyone on Board”.

The sub-themes prioritized for discussion which helped in framing the discussions were:

  • Enhancing Cybersecurity for development
  • Harnessing ICTs in Government (eCitizen, IPRS, IFMIS, iTax etc.)
  • Safeguarding Privacy and data and the EU GDPR
  • Content Regulation on the Internet
  • Developments in Fintech and E-commerce
  • Emerging Technologies Trends (AI, distributed ledger, robotics etc.

The themes were suggested by subscribers on the KICTAnet listserv based on topics that are of interest to Kenya. The KICTAnet is open for subscription at https://lists.kictanet.or.ke/mailman/listinfo/kictanet 

PARTICIPANTS

The participants of the Kenyan IGF consisted of more than 200 individuals representing various sectors including: Government, the Private Sector, Civil Society, the Technical and Academic Community, and the General Public. Internet Yetu was one of the Civil societies present at the KIGF. Internet Yetu was represented by our President, Mr. Brian Obilo.

SESSIONS

The format of the Kenya Internet Governance Forum included:

  • A High-Level moderated panel session
  • 4 Thematic moderated panel sessions
  • Moderated plenary discussions
High-Level Panel: ICTs for Kenya’s Development: Getting Everyone on Board

This panel was moderated by Grace Githaiga, Convenor, KICTAnet. The Panel consisted of Mr Matano Ndaro, Communications Authority, Hon. Kisang’, Chair, National Assembly ICT Committee and Kadri Humal Ayal, Honorary Consul, Republic of Estonia.

When asked about how we can enhance access and inclusion among Kenyans, Honorable Kisang answered that we need to put more resources for the development of the 12th Parliament’s 19 member team committee dedicated to ICT development in Kenya. He also said that every county in Kenya has been served with fibre optic. In 2018, the Kenyan Government will implement the last mile project for the fibre optic with an aim of bringing the cost of internet down at the beginning of 2019. The government will also build innovation hubs in various counties for young people to be able to innovate more. This will also ensure internet access to create opportunities and for the youth and everyone in society.

Futhermore, Honorable Kisang said that the government intends for the Internet to go rural, for it to be an enabler of development. He reiterated that the Government was in talks with Communications Authority of Kenya to ensure it uses part of the USF to take fibre in each sub-county.

On the subject matter of connectivity in Kenya, Mr Matano said that Communications Authority carry out empirical surveys that seek to bring out various gaps that exist in connectivity. In 2014-2015, there were about 580 sub-locations in Kenya that had problems as regards to connectivity – Internet, infrastructure, mobile connectivity. 166 of these 580 had 0% Internet connection. He reiterated that the Internet is meant to power and influence human development. He said that to bring everyone on board, we have to avail the infrastructure. Two, the infrastructure has to deliver services that are affordable to the citizens. He said that with the effective provision of 3G services, the gaps in the said areas will be closed due to enhanced access and inclusion. He also said that the controversial “Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act” should not infringe Kenyan’s freedom of expression. The High Court of Kenya has temporarily suspended some sections of the “Computer Misuse and Cyber crimes Act.

Moreover, Honorable Kisang stated that the government envisions setting up an Advanced Institute of Science and Tech (KAIST), to offer Masters and PHD in technology. This move would help ensure more people pursue technology related careers. He suggested that the government should use platforms such as KICTANet to teach the youth about recently passed laws.

Plenary discussion: Feedback from Youth IGF Kenya

This plenary discussion was moderated by Watoto Watch Network. In the Kenya Youth IGF 2018, Cyber bullying was highlighted as one of the biggest problems affecting the youth in Kenya. Cyber bullying is simply defined as any form bullying that takes place in the cyber space. Watoto Youth Network suggested that the youth need orientation in use of social media to be in a better position to protect themselves in the Cyber space.

Other suggested solutions from the Kenyan Youth IGF to Cyber Bullying included:

  • Creating a firewall that is able to scan texts that are sent to another person and send an alert. Effective on comments, texts.
  • Stakeholders to help Spread awareness through content and campaigns to stop bullying and raise awareness about digital rights among the youth.

KICTAnet was lauded for giving the youth a seat at the table. Representatives of the Kenyan Youth freely aired their views, concerns and opinions on issues affecting them.

Session 2: Developments in Fintech and E-commerce

This session was moderated by Mr. Ali Hussein, Principal, AKH Associates. The Panel included George Njuguna, CIO, Housing Finance Group, Steve Njenga, CIO, Barclays Bank, Rose Muturi, Regional Manager, Tala and Rosemary Kimwatu, Fintech Lawyer.

Rosemary Kimwatu said that the Finance Bill 2018 affected banking and mobile money transactions. It has to be noted that the Kenyan High Court has suspended the implementation of 0.05% excise duty on transactions exceeding Ksh. 500,000 in banks and other financial institutions.

Rose Muturi on the other hand said that Fintech consumers will have to pay much higher fees. This is because the number of loans being issued out (By Local Fintech companies such as Tala & Branch) will mean the cost of doing business will definitely go up. She also stated that Kenyan Policy makers and legislators ought to involve all stakeholders. Public participation is not about companies but an individual person. When the government introduced Interest Caps, it was meant to make funds more accessible; but this has NOT been the case. The Kenya capping rate regime is now being shifted to other alternative channels like the telecoms and Fintech agencies.

Steve Njenga, CIO Barclays Kenya, said that the financial sector in Kenya is over regulated. However, It has helped Fintech and E-commerce companies become more innovative. This had led to consumers being rated on a risk perspective. He advised the other 41 Kenyan banks that with increased regulation, the banking sector has to be more creative and innovative.

Rose Muturi also said that data science is widely used to provide financial services by Fintech Companies.

On matters of Fraud – George from Housing Finance said that Fraudsters are still a huge problem in Kenya. He said that Fintech and E-commerce corporations are consistently tightening the gaps that slow down the checks and balances before a consumer is on boarded within banks. He also said that Kenyan banks and Fintech corporations haven’t collaborated effectively enough to fight fraud.

Session 3: Strengthening data security in the context of emerging trends

This session was moderated by Racheal Nakitare, Acting Television Programmes Manager, KBC. The panel consisted of John Walubengo, Multimedia University, Karimi Ruria, Safaricom and Grace Mutung’u, KICTAnet.

John Walubengo said that in Kenya, we are collecting too much data. He also pointed out there is no existing law on data security/protection. He said that we need one to enhance data minimization. He insisted that Data collectors need to be guided by regulation on how much data they collect from the Kenyan public.

Karimi Ruria on the hand, insisted that the main issue is the purpose that the data is being collected. Grace Mutung’u added that the rate in which the government and institution are collecting data about persons without considering their rights is concerning. Kenyans do not know how, who access the data that has been collected. There is no centrality of the Kenyan person.

Joseph Mathenge asked why is it that in the cyber space, we are not protecting ourselves? Why do we freely share our information? We do not jealously protect our information as we should!

John Walubengo suggested that there is a need to have penalties in case of breaches when it comes to personal data. Grace Mutung’u suggested that the current law is good when it comes to securing personal data; but there is need for a conversation as the current discourse is beyond data collection.

Karimi Ruria said that we have a major skills gap in Kenya. Kenya does not have enough people to handle data protection, cyber security. She insists that we need to develop skilled personnel. The role of academia is critical and they need to play a role within the emerging trends.

Session 4: Content Regulation on the Internet

This session was regulated by Dr. Lucy Gichaga, Asst. Professor, USIU. The Panel consisted of Dr. Wandia Njoya, HOD, Language and Performing Arts, Daystar University, Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative, Mercy Mutemi and Sylvia Kanari.

Dr. Wandia Njoya insisted that the Kenyan Government Institutions are still backward when it comes to content regulation in Kenya. She said that there is more to the expression of content that comes from the creatives and the government needs to do much more; than they are currently doing.

Gbenga Sesan said that in Nigeria, if you want your music to sell, let it get banned. When governments try to control content, the flip side is that there is increased demand for the same.

When the government suppresses content through regulation, the society ends up not having genuine conversations. Gbenga Sesan insists that this is the fight of our civilization, we should not keep quiet when there is over regulation of content on the Internet.

When asked about the emerging best practices of content regulation, Mercy Mutemi answered that Kenya needs to first determine the need for regulation; we do not need to always segment the issues, but develop an effective framework that gives the people protection – freedom of expression. The only limitations to freedom of expression is well stipulated in the Kenyan Constitution. If content is not within those categories mentioned, then there is need to say it. The freedom of expression also extends to what choice you have to consume a service or a product.

According to Sylvia Kanari, the best practice is not regulating but promoting more local content. Kenya should be promoting and creating an enabling environment to spur the local creative industry. Kenya is known to be a consumer of foreign content. She insisted that as we continue to support innovation, we need to think about & support our creative industry.

Dr, Wandia Njoya added that in Kenya we have weak institutions that do not encourage the critical thinking of content that is being consumed. She said that there is a dire need for media literacy- teaching people how to consume media content. There is a huge need to empower parents to be better informed on how to make good choices about the arts and creative sector. She said that the Kenyan Government is scared of standards, they will ALWAYS go for controls. Regulation is not about control. Governments should stop being lazy!

Gbenga Sesan backed Dr Wanjia Njoya’s sentiments. He said that regulation is not really about control; and those suggesting or coming up with control mechanisms, should be informed that they are not subject matter on this issue.

Kanari Sylvia then urged Kenyans to focus on creating an enabling environment for the growth of creatives. Artists should not think about having an 8-5 job so that they can survive! Innovation and the creative industry work hand in hand.

Session 5: Emerging Technologies Trends (AI, distributed ledger, robotics etc.)

The Panelists of this session included Bitange Ndemo, Fmr. PS ICT, and Chair of Blockchain Taskforce, Tim Oriedo, Data Analyst, Mwende Njiraini, Manager, Type Approval, Communications Authority and Ben Mann, IBM COO, East Africa.

Ben Mann said that these technologies are already out there. It is time for Kenya to start getting into solutions. Technology exists in a bigger context, aligning ourselves around it and within its ecosystem is very important. We have to partner together with the ecosystem.

Tim oriedo said that the key drivers of technology uptake include: the regulatory environment and creating an environment that enables it to thrive. What are the behavioral dispositions that us consumers have? For technology to thrive, there is need for trust. Technology itself is key in how fast it can be adopted. “How do we adapt to this change? It is an issue of lifestyle.

He also commended Kenyan telecommunication companies for driving the three Cs: Content, Connectivity and commerce.

Ben Mann said that the era of block-chain is about centralization. It is all about collaboration and everyone is able to contribute on more equal footing. He reiterated that this is an era where we have the opportunity to elevate the masses through blockchain.

Mwende Njiraini reminded everyone present that the whole question around emerging technologies is all about policy and regulation in terms of access and affordability. With the right policy in place, it creates an opportunity to interact with the wider world. Kenya currently has encouraging guidelines on tech devices which are becoming an enabler to access to the internet; which is commendable! Mwende Njiraini also said that we have all been educated in closed environment. She says that we need to move to the open question environment of learning, that makes people more inquisitive to be able to inquire on new technologies such as blockchain and AI.

SUMMARY

The Kenya IGF maximized opportunities for open and inclusive dialogue and the exchange of ideas on Internet Governance (IG) related issues. The Kenya IGF also:

  • Created opportunities to share best practices and experiences.
  • Identified emerging issues and bringing them to the attention of the relevant bodies and the general public; and,
  • Contributed to capacity building for Internet governance.

The official report will be made available to the public by KICTAnet in due time.

Join the conversation #KIGF2018 .

 

 

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