East African Community develops cyber laws

Deputy Secretary General floats the idea of establishing a Centre of Excellence in Cyber Science in the region ARUSHA, The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Dr. Enos Bukuku has stated that the realization of a solid cyber laws regime in the Community will underpin the implementation of the Common Market Protocol especially on the services, an area of great potential for the region.

Dr. Bukuku, who was addressing participants attending a three-day EAC Task Force meeting on Cyber Laws (Phase II) at the Zanzibar Beach Resort Hotel in the United Republic of Tanzania, revealed that the EAC Cyber Laws reform programme began in November 2006, following the approval of the regional e-government strategy by the EAC Council of Ministers.

He said since then the EAC legal framework for Cyber Laws (Phase I) covering electronic transactions; electronic signatures and authentication, cyber crime, and data protection and privacy had been adopted by the Council of Ministers and was under implementation.

The EAC official said about KShs. 106 billion (approximately $1.05 billion) is reportedly transferred in a month via M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer concept launched in Kenya and which is being replicated across the region.

“This volume of business must be anchored on an effective regulatory framework and a robust cyber laws regime,” asserted Dr. Bukuku.

He saluted the experts, consultants and supporters of the EAC cyber laws development process for making it possible for the region to stand tall in the development of laws that will enable it to tap into the multi-billion dollar e-business world.

The Deputy Secretary General applauded the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for the technical and financial support to the Cyber Laws Phase II Framework that is focusing on intellectual property rights, competition, e-taxation and information security.

Dr. Bukuku appealed for the continued assistance from UNCTAD bearing in mind that Partner States were at different stages of developing national cyber law regimes and therefore capacity building will be required for some of them.

The Deputy Secretary General floated the idea of establishing a Centre of Excellence in Cyber Science in the region as this was a growing field that would require better preparations if the region was to fully exploit the potentials in the e-business sector.

Representatives from UNCTAD including Madam Cecile Barayre-El Shami, and UNECA; Partner States ICT and cyber law experts; EAC Director for Infrastructure, Mr. Philip Wambugu and Senior Communication Engineer, Mr. Robert Achieng are attending the meeting.

SOURCE:- East African Community (EAC) – October 26, 2011