Rwanda Manual Signatures Eliminated

By the end of this year, most public and private institutions, organizations and enterprises will have to use digital signature under the new technology dubbed “Public Key Infrastructure Technology: PKI), Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the minister of ICT and Youth has unveiled.

The minister revealed this during the awareness workshop in the new technology to be first used by Rwanda in regional countries. The system, he said, will require both institutions and beneficiaries to use digital certificate and will not face forging signatures and stamps contrary to how it used to be in manual ways.

“We are moving to paperless transaction and cashless economy which have to save time and reduce costs. It will increase productivity and efficiency, reducing threats to environment and enabling to secure our electronic documents”, he said.

It will also ensure the signer, that the message was not changed and privacy of information. The system is being developed by MYICT, Rwanda Development Board and Korean Information and certificate Authority (KICA).

Regis Gatarayiha, the head of ICT chamber at Rwanda Development Board said it is the secure backbone for applications such as e- banking, e-government, e-procurement, e-health, e-education, e-Soko ,e-agriculture, mobile banking, e-registration, e-permit which could not be hacked if they are using PKI technology.

 “This is in the framework of Smart Rwanda. PKI technology will ensure online security. We will have to issue digital certificates to act as identity cards on internet so that service providers and beneficiaries will ensure whom they are transacting to and will use digital signature to avoid usual costing movements by transport. The certificate will have one year of expiry and get renewed to avoid any compromise”, he said. Officials say by 2018, the country should have gone cashless and paperless system.

Charles Mugisha, in charge of ICT security division at RDB, said government established a law for electronic message, signature and transacting in 2010, then in 2013 PKI regulations and standards were developed to ensure service provider’s capacity with online security while 2015-2016 saw developed National PKI center to manage the system.

“We have now started integrating pilot application in finance ministry, Rwanda Public Procurement Authority to use digital signature. The technology really ensures security and trust of electronic transaction”, he said.

He however said added existing applications such as e-health, e-education, e-government, e-Soko ,e-agriculture and others were developed when the concept of PKI technology had not yet been thought about and therefore they will need to customize it while future applications will have to integrate the technology.

All entities will be licensed by Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) before starting PKI technology. Government Certificate Authority under RDB will be supporting institutions to embrace the new system by providing digital certificates (certified credentials) to confirm certification holder in online environment. Heads of ICT in institutions, organizations and enterprises have been urged to start preparing plan for the drive.

Rwanda Focus

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