Government now licensing E-CSPs to deliver digital certification services to app developers and consumers – CA




The government has began the process of licensing Electronic Certification Service Providers (E-CSPs) to deliver digital certification services to application developers and consumers, including businesses and individuals. The ICT Authority is the Government Certification Authority for enabling of e-government services.

David Mugonyi, the director general at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) made the announcement on Tuesday March 19, 2024, while opening the second edition of the National Public Key Infrastructure (NPKI) Forum at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi.

(TOP: David Mugonyi, the DG at the Communications Authority of Kenya during the NPKI Forum).

“This gathering is an opportunity to share with our stakeholders the progress we have made towards enhancing our national digital certification framework and explore the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead… Given this progress, we are now shifting gears to increasing capacity building and awareness of the digital certification ecosystem, which is one of the reasons we are holding this forum today,” said Mugonyi.

In terms of progress, stated Mugonyi, Kenya currently has four licensed Electronic Certification Service Providers (E-CSPs), while nine others are in the licensing process, with the Authority keen and looking forward to an increased uptake of the licences.

“To increase consumer confidence in the Internet as a commercial platform and build trust in the rollout of PKI technology, the Authority has invited WebTrust to begin the process of accrediting our Root Certification Authority infrastructure – this is global best practice,” he said.

Due to the importance of digital certification in a digital world, Kenya’s Parliament has reviewed various laws such as the Business Laws Amendment Act of 2020 and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Regulations to allow for digital certification and be aligned with these developments.

Subsequently, the impact of these legislative amendments is three-fold. First, they provide legal recognition of electronic signatures, documents, and registries; and secondly, they increase transparency and protection of businesses. And thirdly, they help put in place a secure and tamper-proof digital identity framework, which will boost consumer confidence.

“With world class digital certification services, consumers are now able to verify the integrity of documents that have been signed electronically, as well as ascertain the identity of the sender. This will make our digital services- public and private -more effective, efficient, trustworthy, globally competitive, and widely accessible,” added the CA boss.

The NPKI Forum – which ran from March 19 to 20, 2024 – and is held annually, will continue to play a leading role in growing awareness and facilitating public discourse on digital certification.

“We welcome and encourage the private sector, academia, the research community, civil society and other stakeholders, to take advantage of this framework and begin to build products and services to bring its advantage to life,” he urged attendees and the forum’s delegates.

In order to secure the country’s cyber space and put in place the framework that facilitates the secure transfer of information required for e-commerce, internet banking and many other applications, the Kenya Information and Communications Act has bestows on the CA the responsibility to develop a national framework for the management of cybersecurity in Kenya.

To fulfil this mandate, noted Mugonyi, the Authority has set up and operationalized the National Kenya Computer Incident and Response Team Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC) to detect, prevent and respond to cyber threats targeted at the country.

“Crucially, we have also led the development, operationalization and management of the National Public Kenya Infrastructure (NPKI) framework to build trust in our digital ecosystem. The NPKI framework combines the regulatory framework and the technology to facilitate the rollout of digital certification services in the country, which we have achieved by deploying the Root Certification Authority (RCA) for Kenya,” he said.

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