Data details

Data protection and privacy key for Africa digital space

Countries across Africa are at varying points towards enacting the Data Protection and Privacy laws

In Summary

• Good laws help countries harness opportunities in the digital space

Telkom Kenya CEO Aldo Mareuse launching the telecommunication data center in Nairobi/FILE
Telkom Kenya CEO Aldo Mareuse launching the telecommunication data center in Nairobi/FILE

The right approach to data privacy is critical to building trust in new technologies and systems, but there is a need to accelerate the progress, according to  new survey .

It says the huge opportunity of digital transformation has led many countries to start considering data privacy laws, while those with existing approaches are appraising theirs. 

The report advises Kenya to protect individuals while allowing organisations the freedom to innovate and secure positive outcomes for society.

 

"Data privacy laws should put responsibility on organisations to identify and mitigate risks while remaining flexible, neutral and allowing data to move across borders easily," part of the report reads.

Countries across Africa are at varying points towards enacting the Data Protection and Privacy laws, with less than 15 out of 54 countries in the region having passed a Data Protection Law, the report titled Guiding Principles for Smart Data Privacy Laws, said.

Last year Kenya consulted on a draft Data Protection Bill and Policy, whose adoption would make a significant step in helping Kenya seize opportunities arising from digital transformation.

“Establishing the right approach to data privacy is critical to Kenya’s digital transformation,” said Jean-Francois Le Bihan, public policy director, Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA.

Without adhering to guiding principles, it adds, poor data privacy enforcement could put at risk the $ 214 billion mobile economy that Africa has potential to reach by 2020.

It adds that the law should embrace the concept of accountability and encourage companies to adopt responsible data governance practices to identify and mitigate privacy risks.