The Annual ICT Connected Summit plenary session on "Data Protection: Shaping a common regional data policy

The Annual ICT Connected Summit 2023 Kicks Off at Diani

By John Walubengo

Every year, during Easter week, as it has been slightly over the last decade, the ICT Authority of Kenya, currently headed by the CEO, Mr Stanley Kamanguya, invites delegates from the public and private sector, academia and civil society to convene and discuss contemporary issues affecting ICTs in the East African region.

With over a thousand delegates, the 2023 ‘Connected Summit’ – as it has come to be known – is no different. It is hosted by the ICT CS, Eliud Owalo, and ably assisted by his two principal secretaries Eng John Tanui and Prof. Edward Kisiangani. The summit was declared officially opened on Monday by the Prime Cabinet Secretary, the Right honourable Musalia Mudavadi. 

The summit’s theme ‘The Digital Economy – Endless Opportunities and Shaping Our Future,’ could not have come at a better time. The digital economy is rapidly transforming our world, bringing new opportunities and challenges for governments, businesses, academia and individuals alike. 

From smart cities to artificial intelligence, data privacy to cybersecurity, and digital trade to the future of work, the digital economy is proving to be a complex and rapidly evolving landscape that requires careful consideration and strategic planning.

These were just some topics explored at the three-day ICT conference, attended by delegates from the government, private sector, academia, civil society, and parliamentarians. 

Thematic Discussions

As digital technologies become more central to our lives, a robust and reliable ICT infrastructure becomes increasingly important. Though leaders at the summit discussed the challenges facing ICT infrastructure development, such as funding, access, and regulation, and explored strategies for ensuring that ICT infrastructure is equitable and benefits all members of society.

Another important topic discussed at the conference was Smart Cities. The concept of smart cities, which use technology to improve efficiency, sustainability, and quality of life, has gained momentum in recent years. The summit provided a platform for experts to share their experiences and insights on smart city development, including the potential risks and downsides of smart city development and strategies for ensuring that it is inclusive, sustainable and benefits all members of society.

The break-away sessions on Data privacy and cybersecurity were hot topics discussed at the summit, with some delegates having attended the pre-summit training. As personal data becomes more valuable and vulnerable to abuse, ensuring strong data privacy protections and cybersecurity is crucial for protecting individuals and organizations from harm.  

Thought leadership

Thought leaders at the summit, including the Data Commissioner, Immaculate Kassait, the CEO of KICTANet, Grace Githaiga, ISACA President Anthony Muiyuro, and others, led a panel that discussed the key privacy concerns related to digital technologies and explored strategies for protecting data privacy and mitigating cybersecurity threats.

The summit also explored the topic of digital trade. Digital trade is an increasingly important part of the global economy but raises several complex regulations, taxation, and intellectual property issues.

Experts at the conference discussed the challenges facing digital trade and explored strategies for ensuring that digital trade benefits all members of society, including workers and small businesses.

Overall, the ICT summit provided a valuable platform for experts and thought leaders to share their insights and experiences on the digital economy and its impact on society. By exploring key topics such as ICT infrastructure, smart cities, data privacy, cybersecurity, and digital trade, the conference highlighted the opportunities and challenges facing the digital economy and the need for strategic planning and collaboration to ensure that the digital economy benefits all members of society.

As we continue to navigate the complex and rapidly evolving digital landscape, events such as the ICT conference remind us of the importance of staying informed, engaged, and proactive in shaping our digital future. 

We look forward to implementing some of the key insights from the summit and a bigger and better summit next year.


John Walubengo is an ICT Lecturer and Consultant. @jwalu.


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