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A one-day conference on banking and information communication technology will be held in Addis Ababa at the beginning of August, with the theme ‘Harnessing Africa’s Digital Future’. The conference will bring together companies from across the world and highlight business and technical opportunities in the growing ICT sector in East Africa and the Horn of Africa.
The summit has been organised by Cyber Security Africa Alliance, a UK based IT security provider, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio telecom, Moti Engineering, Kaspersky and the Information and Communication Technology Association of Ethiopia (ICTA).
It will give participants the chance to learn how to develop and implement strategies to protect systems and maintain customer trust, as well as promoting ICT service usage and offer advice on identifying technical, device, network and hardware vulnerabilities that could compromise security.
It will also cover the impact of regulatory frameworks on e-commerce and managing business risks associated with ICT infrastructure and financial transaction processing, according to Seyoum Bereded, Secretary General of the Information Communication Technology Association.
According to Sammy Kioko, Manager of Cyber Security Africa Alliance, the summit is important not just for Ethiopia, but the whole of Africa.
“We need to share experiences from well developed countries that have already utilised ICT, see what we can learn from them and what to utilise or implement on our continent,” he said. 
The summit will include presentations on ICT best practices, policies and standards, cloud computing and virtualisation, mobile and internet banking, card and payment solutions, ICT infrastructure and security, fraud and risk management, core banking systems, data consolidation, ATM security and GPRS/GSM security.
Ethiopia’s ICT sector has grown significantly in the last decade, with more than 14 billion USD invested in that period. This amounted to 10 per cent of the country’s GDP.
Kioko said Ethiopia’s ICT infrastructure is well-developed, but that it is not being properly utilised.
“The government has done a very good job of spending 10 percent of the GDP. That tells you the government is doing what it takes for them to put up infrastructure for ICT,” he said. “The infrastructure here is well developed, but it is at the same time not well utilized.
Seyoum also believes that the investment Ethiopia has made in ICT sets it apart from the rest of the continent.
“It has more than 17,000km-long fiber optics, for instance,” he said. “But there’s no content passing through it to a huge portion of society as a result of lack of localization [including software and applications well understood by the majority of people].”
For Seyoum, this is a missed opportunity. “It’s like having 17,000km of roads, but no car to drive,” he said.
Even so, he is hopeful that the construction of an ICT park at Yerer in Bole sub city will be a big boost.
“It will bring together all stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, and other big players in the industry,” he said.