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Diplo Africa Newsletter

January-March 2024

The first quarter of the new year started off well with diverse events that have resulted in beneficial engagements with Diplo alumni and many other stakeholders!


‘The impact of AI on data collection, exploitation, protection, and privacy in Africa’ webinar held in January saw high registration numbers and respectable attendance. The session was opened by Sorina Teleanu, who spoke about how bottom-up AI can empower small communities and the latest Diplo publication ‘Stronger African Voices’. Mercy Mutemi noted that data protection has a critical place in the AI era, using the example of banking applications which check the credit scores of customers who wish to take a loan. John Walubengo spoke about making non-personal data available, especially in the agricultural sector where data exists as hard copies in government ministries. Moctar Yedaly gave a summary of the Malabo Convention whose need was highlighted by intra-Africa trade. The convention has three parts; electronic transactions, personal data protection, and cybersecurity. Tyrus Kamau indicated that there is a lot of data available being produced for both good and bad intentions. Therefore, there is a need for regulation and awareness building by the Office of the Data Commissioner. He also stated that AI is accelerating the digitisation of businesses in the African continent and that there is a need to exploit opportunities that enable computers achieve cognitive skills. There is a need to harness this technology for education and healthcare. With intra-country data sharing, protocols for sharing are necessary. 

All panellists agreed that AI is as good as the data it is fed and Africa can be a rising star in the era of AI.


In February, Diplo’s African Initiative Coordinator, Mwende Njiraini had the pleasure of having a conversation on data and AI with Prof. Ciira Maina of Dedan Kimathi University in Kenya who is running Data Science Africa (DSA) and is a part of the International Computational and AI Network (ICAIN).

The conversation was enriched with insights from Mercy Mutemi and Mwenda Tevin, both Diplo alumni, the Swiss ambassador to Kenya, Valentin Zellweger, and the deputy ambassador Steve Tharakan.

Photo of the people involved in the conversation on data and AI, held in February 2024.

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The National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee of Kenya (NC4), is a multi-agency entity that coordinates cybersecurity matters in Kenya. The NC4 has recently received funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat, course and content design support from Diplo, and content support from Italy’s National Cybersecurity Competence Centre to run a Cyber Diplomacy Course. The course is for senior officers from ministries and agencies with cyber diplomacy related mandates such as foreign affairs and cybersecurity. The course is intended to stimulate cyber diplomacy awareness within the Kenyan public sector and equip officers from relevant ministries and agencies with basic cyber diplomacy knowledge.

The course was opened by Col. Dr. James J. Kimuyu, Director of the NC4 Secretariat and Prof. Jovan Kurbalija, the head of Diplo. Both emphasised the growing criticality of digital issues for states and the importance of cyber diplomacy to enable all countries to participate equally in shaping the international digital policy and strategy landscape. Participants were urged to fully exploit the opportunity of interaction with seasoned international speakers and experts in this discipline.

The first two days of the course were delivered online. The first day, which was led by Diplo’s Director of Cybersecurity and E-diplomacy, Vladimir Radunovic, focused on building an appreciation of global geopolitics that necessitate national cyber diplomacy efforts. On the second day, Diplo’s Director of Knowledge Sorina Teleanu introduced participants to the impact of AI on global affairs and underscored the need for international policies.

This was followed by a high-level panel of African cyber diplomats moderated by Katherine Getao with experienced Africans Moliehi Makumane (UNIDIR, South Africa), Dr. Kaleem Usmani (MU-CERT / Mauritius), and Daniel Obam (retired public servant with extensive ITU experience, Kenya). The panellists exposed the participants to ongoing international processes, opportunities for African participation, and personal advice on excelling in the international cyber policy domain. 

The final days were delivered in person at a venue in Nairobi. On the third day, Mwende Njiraini gave participants an overview of the multi-faceted world of internet governance while Katherine Getao led participants through a discussion on the application of cyber diplomacy by Kenya followed by a tabletop scenario exercise which gave the participants a taste of a multi-agency approach to managing local cyber incidents with regional and international elements.

On the last day, Director of the Italian NCCC, Matteo Lucchetti introduced participants to the impact of burgeoning digital technology on global affairs, the European cybersecurity policy environment focusing on the Budapest Convention, and the challenges of emerging technology with a flavour of emerging European Commission policies toward regulating this space. The day ended with feedback from participants about the course and closing remarks from Ivan Sang representing the Commonwealth Secretariat, Lt. Col. Ben Kiplagat representing NC4, and Katherine Getao representing the content providers. The participants expressed appreciation for the course and stated that: (a) they had gained a broader understanding of the management of national cybersecurity, (b) they felt more equipped to represent Kenya in regional and international cyber policy engagements, (c) they appreciated the importance of a multi-agency approach toward solving cybersecurity issues, and (d) they would appreciate more training in order to achieve technical and diplomatic competence in the cybersecurity domain. Participants were issued with course certificates in a simple ceremony.

Diplo’s Africa Office was proud to have led the design and execution of this important course which we are confident will be of great benefit to the Kenyan public sector!


On 19 and 20 March 2024, Diplo ran a high-level dialogue in Geneva for diplomats from UN Missions of several countries. A total of 45 diplomats attended the training which was hosted at the World Meteorogical Organisation (WMO) with stunning views of Lake Geneva and the Swiss mountain ranges. The training was funded by the British Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).

The training aimed to equip diplomats with a practical understanding of emerging digital technologies and digital technology issues which are of relevance to diplomats including data, AI, and internet governance. The sessions were interactive and accessible and demonstrated Diplo’s practical approach to digital technology training.

Several Diplo facilitators from around the world led the training and the diplomats who attended the course appreciated the training and requested more access to digital skills and emerging technology training for diplomats.

Interested in publishing internet governance-related blog posts to our Africa digital diplomacy and governance page?

Contact Diplo’s African Initiative Coordinator, Mwende Njiraini.