Harmonising Data Protection Laws: African Authorities sign MoU with Smart Africa Alliance
Smart Africa Alliance, a Rwandan-based ICT firm, chaired by President Paul Kagame, will provide institutional support and enhance the enforcement capacities of African Data Protection Authorities.
The Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Smart Africa Alliance in Dakar, Senegal, to advance the enforcement and harmonisation of personal data protection laws in Africa.
According to details of the agreement, the Smart Africa Alliance, a Rwandan-based ICT firm, chaired by President Paul Kagame, will provide institutional support and enhance the enforcement capacities of the African National Authorities.
Per the MoU, NADPA and Smart Africa Alliance are coming together to:
- support national data strategies and enforcement of data protection regulations in order to create a harmonized framework for data protection policies and regulation in Africa;
- support African States in preparing or updating legislation on the protection of privacy and personal data, and in establishing data protection authorities;
- develop and conduct joint capacity building modules for African Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) through Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) whenever possible;
- develop in place initiatives for enhanced legal collaboration between African Data Protection Authorities to support the digitalization of the continent.
Patricia Poku, the Executive Director of Ghana's National Data Protection Commission and President of NADPA said “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 harmonization 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 harmonization and legal collaboration between our countries members state.