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Lusaka, Thursday, November 24, 2016: A high level cyber-security training and awareness workshop for senior policy makers and experts has been conducted in Burundi. Its aim is to equip them with the skills to produce effective cyber security strategies, policies, legislation and institutions.

The training which targeted policy makers, lawyers and Information Communication Technology (ICT) experts was conducted by the COMESA Secretariat through its division of infrastructure.

Burundi Minister of ICT Honorable Nestor Bankumunkuzi opened the workshop and stressed the importance of having legal and secure ICT services in Burundi.

Addressing the participants during the workshop, COMESA Telecommunications Mr Leonard Chitundu said Cyber-attacks and crimes carry significant risk for public safety, security of nations and the stability of the global community as a whole.

“As the use of cyber space and ICT networks by individuals, business, governments and other organizations increases globally, online threats from criminals, hackers and other agents have become more pronounced,” he said.

He observed that even though Member States are aware of the extent to which cyberspace vulnerabilities can prevent them from maximizing the benefits coming from the use of the internet, they often suffer from limited resources or lack of expertise to implement cyber security policies, laws and institutions.

The training covered the development of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CIRTs) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) regulations in accordance with best practices in cyber security. Issues related to law enforcement, prosecution and judicial matters required to combat cybercrime including cooperation between governments and Private and international cooperation were also covered.

Burundi faces challenges regarding cyber security such as inadequate local expertise, policies and legislation related to cyber security. There is also general lack of confidence in online services such as e-commerce, e-government, m-banking and e-banking.

“The lack of cyber security legislation, public awareness and institutional and infrastructure for CIRTs and PKI makes the country vulnerable to attacks and can act as a safe haven for cyber criminals,” Mr Chitundu said.

“As COMESA, we believe this awareness training will build capacity and help resolve challenges in human resources development, institutional reform, organizational adaption of cyber security and increase their access and ability to fully benefit from ICTs.”