Fresh agreement in place to better protect personal data in Africa
The Smart Africa Alliance (SA) has signed an MoU with NADPA/RAPDP (Network of African Data Protection Authorities) to bolster enforcement and “harmonisation” of personal data protection laws in Africa.
The MOU is effectively a blueprint for the provision of institutional support and enhance the capacities of authorities to enforce legislation.
The agreement has emerged from discussions which began in Benguerir, Morocco, in November 2021 and is effective from 10 March 2022.
In a joint statement the organisations have pledged to support countries in Africa to prepare or update legislation on the protection of privacy and personal data, and to establish data protection authorities, as well as to develop and conduct joint capacity building modules for African Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) through Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) - whenever possible.
The NADPA/RAPDP and SA also plan to roll out initiatives for enhanced legal collaboration between African Data Protection Authorities to support the digitalisation of the continent.
Patricia Poku, Executive Director of the National Data Protection Commission of Ghana and President of NADPA/RAPDP declared: “Our organisation has reached a new milestone and is now ready to enter into such an ambitious partnership. We are very much excited and looking forward to achieve all our commitments not only from a data governance and data protection legal harmonisation point of view but also for the development of a regional training and certification for African data protection professionals, in order to address the skills deficit in this field.”
Commenting on this strategic MOU signature, the CEO of Smart Africa, Lacina Koné said: “I am very pleased that both Smart Africa and NADPA/RAPDP have come together through this MOU signature. We need to work on our enforcement capacities for our data protection policies and intensify our pan-African collaboration. If not, our laws will remain empty shells. In line with Malabo Convention, but also the new Continental Data Policy Framework of the African Union Commission, this MOU will help facilitate and accelerate harmonisation and legal collaboration between our countries members state.”