Standard Chartered has partnered with @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University to launch a mentorship program targeting women with junior level experience seeking an entry into careers in Cybersecurity.
In a press statement to newsrooms on Thursday, September 22, the decision was reached after in-depth research and industry consultations that highlighted a wide skills and gender gap in the cybersecurity space.
Speaking during the launch, Kariuki Ngari, Standard Chartered Bank CEO (Kenya and East Africa Cluster) noted that there is a shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals globally and the African continent only has 10,000 certified cybersecurity professionals.
Mr. Ngari stated that women in the field of cybersecurity account for only 24 percent of the overall workforce with Africa and the Middle East having the lowest representation at 10 percent.
“Technologies are coming together to create a completely new “exponential” and convergent world creating a very different way of interacting. This new world has resulted in a dramatic increase with Africa emerging as a favourite target of cybercriminals, with costly consequences. Cyber security mentorships that build capacity are critical for survival in this new world order," he said.
Speaking during the launch, Dr Joseph Sevilla, Director @iLabAfrica- Strathmore University mentioned that the most recent National Cybersecurity Report showed that during October – December 2020, the National KE-CIRT/CC detected 56,206,097 cyber threat events which was a 59.8% increase from the previous period.
"With increasing cyberthreats and limited talent in the workforce, we need to break entry barriers and provide technological and systemic structures that support the growth and competitiveness of cybersecurity professionals. This is more so for East African women in cybersecurity. With this program, we are creating a space for women in cybersecurity to get access to the support, skills, knowledge, and networks necessary for professional growth and we hope to see increased interest and adoption of cybersecurity roles by women in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. We also hope that this is only a first of many to come especially with Kenya cited as a regional innovation and technological hub," Sevilla stated.
The program targets 100 women participants residing in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania and will be administered virtually with a structured and self-paced learning model with mentorship circles and fireside chats as key parts of the program.