The transformation of the electronic signature in Mali with Mrs. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE

Mali, like many African countries, has undertaken numerous reforms to push for a profound digital transformation of its administration. This quest for both modernity and a certain digital sovereignty that is taking hold in this country and in many others in Africa is motivated by the concern for the confidentiality of strategic data in the public and private sectors. Digital transformation which obviously rhymes with data protection and digital trust. We contacted a central figure in the digital transformation underway in Mali. Interview with Ms. Fanta C. KAREMBE, Director of the Certification and Electronic Signature Service of Mali.

Fanta Coumba KAREMBE has been an engineer in Computer Networks and Telecommunications since 2010 with integration into the Malian civil service in 2013 at the National Directorate of the Administration of Justice. In 2016, Mrs. Fanta C. KAREMBE, like some brilliant young Africans, benefited from the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Public Management option. The MWF is a US government program initiated by President Barack Obama for young African leaders.

In 2018, she was assigned to the Department of Finance and Equipment of the Malian Ministry of Transport as Head of Division of the Documentation and Computer Center. This course was completed by a new assignment to the DSI of AGETIC (Agence des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication) this time as Head of Cyber Threat Analysis and Detection Section. She was promoted in 2020 for her work as Director of the Certification and Electronic Signature Service (SCSE).

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: Tell us about the mission and objectives of the SCSE (Certification and Electronic Signature Service) which was created by law n ° 2016-012 of May 6, 2016 relating to electronic transactions, exchanges and services?

Ms. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: Created by Law No. 2016-012 of May 6, 2016 relating to electronic transactions, exchanges and services, the Electronic Certification and Signature Service (SCSE) is a structure attached to the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy of Mali.

The Certification and Electronic Signature Service is responsible for:

  • the promotion and management of electronic certification
  • the promotion and management of the electronic signature

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: What is an electronic signature and what is it for?

Mrs. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: The electronic signature is the equivalent of the handwritten signature for dematerialized documents and can adopt different formats: text file, spreadsheet, etc... It guarantees the identity of the signatory and the integrity of the documents.

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: Is there a link between electronic signature and electronic certification?

Ms. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: The electronic certificate or digital certificate and public key certificate is like a digital identity card for:

  • identify a natural or legal person
  • encrypt exchanges
  • sign securely online

The electronic certificate is essential to sign documents online via an electronic signature.

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: Mali has been engaged in digital reforms for several years, is there today in Mali a legal framework for public key infrastructures or PKI?

Ms. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: The legal framework for public key infrastructures is being developed. Reforms and review of the ICT sector in Mali are still ongoing and the process is moving forward.

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: What are the advances made and to come in terms of electronic signature in Mali?

Ms. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: Once the electronic signature and certification are operational in Mali, the first activities will be aimed at the total dematerialization of administrative procedures in complete security. The SCSE will also offer its services to the private sector in order to improve the management of their business 'processes'.

Africa CyberSecurity Mag: Digital trust is undoubtedly an important subject when it comes to electronic signature and electronic certification. How can these techniques be the foundation of digital trust in a context of great digital development in Africa?

Ms. Fanta Coumba KAREMBE: Certification and electronic signature are tools that guarantee digital trust. These tools are essential in the development of remote services, personalized and dematerialized services in the public sector and in all sectors of the economy.

The real challenge in terms of digital development in Africa is the strengthening of confidence in digital technologies and this requires:

  • guarantees the security of access and exchanges with a high commitment value
  • guarantees the protection of personal data
  • guarantees the security of each citizen in this area of freedom (cybersecurity) through the fight against all forms of cybercrime

The editorial staff of Africa Cybersecurity Mag