IT framework needed for EA Protocol

August 12, 2010

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – As East Africa whirls towards a consolidated regional market following the implementation of the East African Common Market protocol, experts are calling for the development of regional standards and regulations to create an enabling environment that will facilitate the growth of e-commerce in the region.

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) Kenya Chapter Chairman Roy Akalah said the growth of mobile banking and intense competition in the banking industry in Kenya and East Africa at large has created a growing need to ensure systems are reined in by controls that meet business objectives.

“Everyone is aware of the need for information security in today\’s highly networked business environment. Information is arguably among an enterprise’s most valuable assets, so its protection from predators from both within and outside has taken centre stage as an IT priority,” said Mr Akalah.

“In addition, information assurance is the bedrock upon which enterprise decision-making is built. Without assurance, enterprises cannot feel certain that the information upon which they base their mission-critical decisions is reliable, confidential, secure and available when needed. Hence, the need to establish harmonised regional standards and regulations for the operation of e-commerce services in the region,” he added.

Mr Akalah was addressing journalists at a Nairobi hotel ahead of the two day ISACA Kenya Chapter E-commerce Conference scheduled to take place between September 13 and 14 at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.

The conference will help experts to understand the nature of e-commerce models, risks and threats in this new industry, and to evaluate mitigating strategies and build relevant governance frameworks around e-commerce for the region.

“It is important for the industry to understand the risks and effects of this new phenomenon that is rapidly becoming the core of the East African economy as more people embrace e-transactions. Unlike more developed economies, these technologies are actually leapfrogging older technologies and creating challenges unseen elsewhere in the world,” said Mr Akalah.

Speaking at the same event, Security Risk Solutions Limited Director Jona Owitti added: “It is important for key stakeholders to understand the various strategies to mitigate these risks while at the same time implementing recognised governance models. We believe the conference will provide the right forum for such crucial deliberations and strengthen the e-commerce economy to take East Africa to the next level.”

The conference will bring together key stakeholders including banks, mobile operators and regulators – into an open forum to discuss the underlying threats and opportunities of e-commerce. The conference is being organised with support from the USAID Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Program (COMPETE) in partnership with the Kenya School of Monetary Studies. USAID COMPETE is working with ISACA to promote regional standards for e-commerce including adoption of COBIT, ISACA’s best practices for IT management, and ISO 27002 standards for IT governance and information security management within the EAC. In addition, ISACA Kenya has collaborated with key information security experts from around the world and the region to provide possible solutions to these problems.

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