Kenya’s Public Sector Digital Skills Training Initiative Raises Concerns Over Cybersecurity

Kenya's Public Sector Digital Skills Training Initiative Raises Concerns Over Cybersecuritywordpress,Kenya,publicsector,digitalskills,traininginitiative,cybersecurity,concerns

Cybersecurity Training Left Out of Kenya‘s Digital Skills Center of Excellence

Kenya is set to establish a center of excellence aimed at equipping public sector staff with the digital skills needed to drive the country’s digitization efforts. The initiative, backed by Microsoft and the United Nations Development Program, aims to provide training in areas such as broadband connectivity, cloud infrastructure, smart technologies, government paperless office strategies, and online platforms for common services. This aligns with one of the objectives of Kenya‘s Digital Master Plan, which aims to enhance government service delivery through the utilization of information and communications technology.

The Absence of Cybersecurity in the Training Agenda

Despite the comprehensive digital training being offered, there is one glaring omission from the agenda – cybersecurity. The Kenyan Ministry of ICT has not responded to requests for comment regarding the inclusion of cybersecurity in the training program. However, cybersecurity researchers argue that addressing cybersecurity is crucial for the success of Kenya‘s digital transformation efforts.

Confidence Staveley, the founder of the Cybersafe Foundation, a non-governmental organization promoting safer internet use in Africa, suggests that the digital training provided by the center could serve as a foundation for building cybersecurity talent in the future. Staveley emphasizes the importance of safe and responsible digital use and highlights the low digital literacy rate among public workers in certain parts of Africa.

With many public workers accustomed to working without computing systems or relying on traditional paper-based processes, there is a need to upskill the workforce to adapt to the digitization of government systems. Staveley commends the initiative to enhance the digital skills of public sector workers but also stresses the importance of incorporating cybersecurity training into the agenda.

Rising Concerns and a Wider Trend

The absence of explicit cybersecurity training in Kenya‘s digital skills center of excellence raises concerns about the country’s ability to secure its digital infrastructure and protect sensitive data. As digitization efforts accelerate, the risk of cyber threats and attacks also increases. Without proper cybersecurity training, Kenya‘s digital transformation could be more susceptible to cybercrime, data breaches, and other security incidents.

This focus on digital skills training without adequate attention to cybersecurity is not limited to Kenya but is part of a wider trend in many developing nations. Governments and organizations are understandably keen to bridge the digital divide, improve connectivity, and empower their workforce with digital skills. However, the importance of cybersecurity is often overlooked or underestimated.

Kenya‘s initiative follows the opening of an ICT center of excellence at the United States International University-Africa earlier this year and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United Nations Development Programme and Microsoft in Nigeria. These initiatives highlight the growing recognition of the need for digital skills development in Africa. It is crucial that cybersecurity becomes an integral component of these training programs to ensure the long-term success and security of digital transformation efforts.

Editorial: The Imperative for Cybersecurity Integration

The absence of cybersecurity training in Kenya‘s digital skills center of excellence is a cause for concern. As governments and organizations increasingly embrace digital technologies, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated. Cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and pervasive, and no organization or country is immune.

While it is commendable that Kenya is investing in digital skills training, failure to address cybersecurity leaves the country vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and other malicious activities. The consequences of such breaches can be severe, undermining public trust and causing significant financial and reputational damage.

Cybersecurity should not be treated as an afterthought or an optional add-on to digital skills training programs. It is an inherent part of a secure and successful digital transformation strategy. Proper training and awareness around cybersecurity are crucial for individuals and organizations to identify and mitigate potential risks.

Addressing Kenya‘s Cybersecurity Challenge

To address this issue, Kenya‘s Ministry of ICT should urgently incorporate cybersecurity training into the agenda of the digital skills center of excellence. This should include teaching public sector staff about the fundamental principles of cybersecurity, the recognition and prevention of common cyber threats, the importance of data protection, and the best practices for secure digital use.

Collaborations with cybersecurity experts and organizations, both domestic and international, could provide valuable input and expertise in designing and implementing effective cybersecurity training modules. Additionally, partnerships with academic institutions could help nurture the next generation of cybersecurity professionals in Kenya.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon other governments, organizations, and stakeholders involved in similar digital skills training programs in Africa to prioritize cybersecurity. Together, they can establish a comprehensive cybersecurity education framework that equips learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to defend against emerging threats.


Kenya‘s plan to establish a center of excellence for digital skills training in the public sector is a commendable initiative. However, the absence of cybersecurity training in the agenda raises concerns about the country’s ability to secure its digital infrastructure and protect sensitive data.

To ensure the long-term success and security of Kenya‘s digital transformation efforts, it is imperative that cybersecurity becomes an integral component of such initiatives. Incorporating cybersecurity training into the digital skills center of excellence is essential to equip public servants with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the evolving cyber threat landscape.

By prioritizing cybersecurity, Kenya can strengthen its digital foundations, enhance its resilience against cyber threats, and inspire other nations to embed cybersecurity in their digital skills training programs. The future of digital transformation in Kenya and beyond depends on our collective commitment to cybersecurity.


<< photo by Mati Mango >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.

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