The need for data security in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been stressed by stakeholders in the cybersecurity space.
This was one of the resolutions at the second (Virtual) Africa Data Security Conclave, which held recently with over 200 attendees from various African countries and the rest of the world.
Speaking, professor of Law at the University of Lagos and chairman, Board of Directors of Taxaide Technologies Limited (Taxtech), Prof Abiola Sanni (SAN) stated that “It is no gainsaid that the world’s largest economic free trade area that the AfCFTA has created needs to be fully conscious of the data security issues that awaits it especially in the aspects of its Trade in Intangible Services and the attendant consumption of personal data in the zillions of bytes. Along with the challenges are also the opportunities for Governments, Citizens, Businesses and Practitioners alike; all of which we seek to fully explore in this year’s Conference.”
He added that “The conference was aimed at providing thought-provoking and enlightening conversations that will enable us to achieve, foster and embrace more strategic approaches towards the promotion of Data Security in Africa for the promotion of a Continental Free Trade Area.”
The event featured over 20 speakers comprising policy makers, captains of industry, legal luminaries and other stakeholders from Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and the rest of Africa with professional backgrounds in law, cybersecurity, and data protection.
Some of participants were Patricia Adusei-Poku, President of the Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA); Aissatou Sylla, Senior Associate, Hogan Lovells, France; Alice Namuli Blazevic, Associate Partner at Katende, Ssempebwa & Company, Uganda; Esther Lugoe Mengi, Lead Cybersecurity Specialist Serensic Ltd, Tanzania; Olufemi Daniel, Head of Regulations Monitoring and Compliance at the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria; Group Executive Director African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Policy Network Ghana, among others.
This year’s conference themed: ‘Data Security Considerations for a Continental Free Trade Area: The Challenges and Prospects’ was structured along four distinct lines of interventions which were; emergence and implementation of a uniform framework for personal data security in Africa: Recommendations from the First Africa Data Protection Conclave; the Enforcement of Data Protection Measure in AfCFTA member states – Compliance levels, issues arising and enforcement strategies; Africa Continental Free Trade Area and cross-border Personal Data transfer: Impacts, Implementation and Challenges; and Data Protection and Cyber Security in the Growing Digital Economy across Africa.