Challenges and Prospects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Africa

Policy Brief |

Privacy is a fundamental human right guaranteed by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its article 12 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in its article 17. Further, these provisions have been embedded in different jurisdictions in national constitutions and in acts of Parliament.

In Africa, regional bodies have invested efforts in ensuring that data protection and privacy are prioritised by Member States. For instance, in 2014 the African Union (AU) adopted the Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection. In 2010, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) developed a model law on data protection which it adopted in 2013. Also in 2010, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted the Supplementary Act A/SA.1/01/10 on Personal Data Protection Within ECOWAS. The East African Community, in 2008, developed a Framework for Cyberlaws. Notwithstanding these efforts, many countries on the continent are still grappling with enacting specific legislation to regulate the collection, control and processing of individuals’ data.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. The GDPR is likely to force African countries, especially those with strong trade ties to the EU, to prioritise data privacy and to more decisively meet their duties and obligations to ensure compliance.

See this brief on the Challenges and Prospects of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Africa, where we explore the consequences of GDPR for African states and business entities.

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