CEO TECHNOLOGY SERVICE PROVIDERS OF KENYA
Ms. Fiona Asonga is the Chief Executive Officer at the Technology Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK).TESPOK is a non -profit organization representing the interests of Technology Service providers in Kenya and also runs the Kenya Internet Exchange Point and Industry Computer Security and Incidence Response Team (I-CSIRT). The Kenya Internet Exchange Point is the facility which keeps internet traffic in Kenya and ensuring security of the cyberspace is important to the role TESPOK provides on the collaborative platform. The Industry Computer Security and Incidence Response Team (I-CSIRT) brings together cyber-security representatives of service providers and co-ordinates cyber security issues with relevant government entities through the National Computer Security and Incident Response Team (KE-CSIRT).
In addition, new developments like the Global Roaming Exchange at the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP), an international routing hub for the continent’s mobile technology, have facilitated the entrenchment of mobile into consumer and commercial life, not least in the area of finance, banking and tax administration.
A major user is the Kenya Revenue Authority’s Integrated Tax Management System, which is heavily dependent on KIXP for availability of its services to the public and at the various custom points,” Asonga adds.
A second major use is the necessity for digital communications such as meetings and conferences as well as learning programs arising out of the closure of learning institutions following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has seen learners continue to access learning material and keep themselves busy. E-learning in Kenya and all kinds of webinars have quickly become the norm rather than the exception, thanks to services provided by TESPOK and its member organizations. These needs have occasioned an increase in local internet traffic.
The service providers have had to contend with the need to upgrade their connections so as to maintain the required quality of service parameters for the end users, the CEO states. TESPOK also offered Kenya Institute for Curriculum Development (KICD) learning content a free port at the KIXP for ease of access to educational materials by learners across the country.
“TESPOK is the partner behind the scenes making sure that communication continues uninterrupted,” Asonga adds.
“We are ensuring individuals can continue to work from home, households can call hotlines and receive the required assistance. The telecommunications network owners and the KIXP have adapted the unsung hero’s role that is crucial in our country’s efforts to combat the covid-19 disease outbreak and keep the economic and social activities live.
As members of both the European Internet Exchange Point Association (EIEPA) and Africa Internet Exchange Point Association (AIEPA) TESPOK is borrowing from the experiences of both on and off the continent to ensure they stay ahead of the industry needs and customer expectations.
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Asonga played a pivotal role in facilitating online access to as much relevant content as was possible through the KIXP. This involved helping the ISPs increase capacity to ensure that they maintain the good reliable online services to their respective customers.
In addition, TESPOK has had to liaise with security agents for movement of teams across the country to provide much required support to keep communication up and undertake unplanned infrastructure upgrade. This resulting from the unforeseen traffic demand to areas that previously had low internet traffic throughput such as residential area and some academic institutions.
TESPOK is leading infrastructure owners to work together with the Expressway road contractor in ensuring that the critical communication services remain up for all sectors of the economy. The Expressway touches on critical communication backbone that not only serves Kenya but landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.
The focus of the association is not only on protecting the investors in the sector but also ensuring the consumer can benefit from good quality uninterrupted communication regardless of how simple or complex the online activities may be.
Fiona Asonga has been in the ICT industry since 2005 and during this period, she has represented Africa from 2011 to 2018 as an elected representative of the Number Resource Organization where her role involved coordinating Internet Numbering Resource issues across the five Regional Internet Registries. During the same period, she also doubled as a member of the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Address Supporting Organization- Address Council where co-ordination of the development of Global Numbering Resource Policy Development takes place.
She has been a leadership trainer at the ICANN Leadership Academy from 2015 to 2017. In 2018, she was engaged by the Internet Society to develop training material for the Collaborative Governance Project that saw her offer training globally and at USTTI on Multistakeholder engagement.
Fiona Asonga is part of the team of consultants currently engaged to assist the Ethiopian Communications Authority in their ICT sector liberalization efforts.
Fiona is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Strategic Management at USIU-Africa. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in international business administration (IBA) also from the USIU-A.
She holds additional post graduate certificates in Information Communications Technology from Cisco; Cyber security – Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams trainings in Kampala, Nairobi and Los Angeles; ICT Assisted Development from London, UK; Telecoms Regulatory Training from London, UK.
Fiona Asonga’s role in policy and regulatory matters has had her acquire certificates in Policy Development and Advocacy from International Center for Parliamentary Studies, Training and Consulting Associates and Business Advocacy Fund. She also holds a certificate of Competence in the European Union General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Leadership certificates from the Collaborative Boston Institute and ICANN.
Fiona other achievements include:
- 2017 Recipient of the Africa Avante Garde Awards for support of the African domain and the African Union Commission’s efforts.
- 2018 As a consultant of the Internet Society developed a training program for Collaborative Governance that has been used to improve on stakeholder interaction during multi-stakeholder engagements.
- 2018 – 2020 Member of the ICANN GNSO Expedited Policy Development Process seeking to align the domain name community to the European GDPR.
In all these, Fiona Asonga has provided transformational leadership in the areas of ICT Industry leadership, lobbying and advocacy, data management, cyber space protection, policy formulation and advocacy.