SAKA’S NITA FLIES UGANDA FLAG HIGH AT EAC CYBER DEFENSE CONFERENCE
By Otim Nape
The National Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) led by the eloquent Executive Director, James Saaka, is indeed living up to its key mission of Driving the IT Revolution as the government owned institution that regulates the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Sector in Uganda hosts the annual Cyber Defence East Africa Conference 2019 at the Upscale Royal Suites Bugolobi in Kampala.
The 2019 two-day conference running from 12-13 November, is being held under the theme; “Building a Robust Cyber-security System within the Financial Sector.”
The cyber security conference, the 5th of its kind, has attracted leading information security systems officers from government and private financial institutions, top bankers, including their regulator Bank of Uganda and other key stakeholders in the financial sector.
The participants have engaged with a number of topics, including the safety of mobile banking, avoidance of E-fraud, Online/E-banking (the good, the bad and the ugly), E-diplomacy, East African regional integration and the attendant ICT challenges, Crypto currency, bitcoin and blockchain technology generally in terms of the opportunities and threats.
The conference is co-organised by NRD Cyber Security (NRD CS), a leading Norwegian Group with expertise in cyber security operation building, technology consulting, incident response and applied research.
The company, with headquarters in Norway, supports institutions to build their organisations for higher efficiency of operation and public service in a large number of countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Central America.
Indeed, the National Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) under the able stewardship of James Saaka couldn’t have gotten a better partner to ensure that Uganda is on top of cyber security as a leading regional player.
The regional aspect was clear in the minds of NITA-U officials and the participants considering the gist of the meet – Cyber Defence East Africa Conference 2019.
Speaking on the topic “E-diplomacy Base for Online and Mobile Banking,” Mindaugas Glodas, the Managing Director of NRD Company called for harmonisation of digitised business registers with other countries in East Africa and the relevant government institutions such as the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) and its equivalents in the East African Community (EAC) to work closely. This can include crosschecking the authenticity of business institutions seeking to do business with peers in the region. It was noted in the day one of the conference that the world is increasingly becoming cyber dependent and due to increasing digital dependency and interconnection of people, things and organisations, it is now more critical now than ever before to have robust digital/cyber security solutions.
The NITA-U Manager of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. Caroline Akello Mugisha, laid out the many initiatives government has undertaken and is still rolling out to ease doing business in the country and improve Uganda’s ranking in the annual World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index, including the NITA-U spearheaded E-Government Initiative in which the Uganda government has an official portal which is www.gou.go.ug to transform E-services for citizens. The portal provides all E-Services offered in government and local government bodies under one umbrella.
“Government has also significantly eased the process of business licensing to make it shorter. We now have amalgamated licenses and so licenses have reduced from 700 to 300 and we’re further easing the process,” said Caroline Akello.
Government also set up a One Stop Centre housed at the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) where investors and other business concerns can do a lot of transactions including applying for licenses and paying taxes.
The centre has desks with officials from a number of government institutions concerned with investments and business; including Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
NITA-U Manager of Legal and Regulatory Affairs. Caroline Akello Mugisha, also said that NITA-U and other relevant government institutions such as the ICT Ministry, the mother institution of NITA-U and Parliament, were doing a lot to review, harmonise laws and improve the legal regime to match the current and evolving trends in ICT.
These include the Evidence Law, including the Electronic Transactions Act, which now allows the tendering in court of evidence in electronic or e-form during litigation. Uganda is setting the pace and the leader in this innovation in East Africa
On personal cyber security alertness and awareness, Caroline Akello Mugisha urged members of the public to regularly change passwords, for instance for ATM cards, enrol for SMS alerts from banks to keep track of transactions on personal accounts and always get electronic receipts of transactions, both at the bank/agent counter and ATM booths. The 2019 two-day conference ends on 13th November 2019.