The Lawyers Hub launches the Africa Privacy Report 2023/2024

Lawyers Hub
13.02.24 07:05 AM Comment(s)

On January 29, 2024, the Lawyers Hub released its much-anticipated Africa Privacy Report for 2023/2024. The report was launched during a LinkedIn Live event, where participants had the opportunity to provide their reviews of policy trends and digital frontiers in the Data Protection Landscape in Africa. The webinar was attended by participants from various corners of the continent, with the most notable countries being Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Gambia, and Ghana. 

The webinars were filled with highlights and action points, serving as invaluable resources for participants. One major highlight noted was the enforcement of the Malabo Convention, a significant regional treaty on data protection. With ratification by Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, and the Central African Republic, the convention officially came into force on June 8, 2023. The report details the Convention's journey since its adoption in 2014, marking it as a crucial milestone for shaping Africa's approach to data protection. Additionally, participants pointed out that in 2023, six more countries enacted data protection legislation or approved data protection bills during the same period, showcasing a broader commitment to enhancing privacy frameworks.

The discussion also sheds light on the increased regulatory activities and compliance efforts in the data protection domain across African nations. For example, participants from Mauritius and Nigeria indicated that their countries have established Data Protection Offices, each operating under different models. Furthermore, participants indicated that Kenya's expansion of regional offices, the launch of its Data Protection Registration System, and Senegal's issuance of guidance on biometric data processing demonstrate the diverse strategies adopted by countries to strengthen their data protection frameworks and address emerging privacy challenges.

Another significant aspect highlighted in the discussion is the surge in data privacy fines issued by Data Protection Authorities across six different African countries in 2023. Kenya emerged as a frontrunner in enforcement actions, imposing penalties on various sectors. Despite the high number of penalties, the combined monetary value in Kenya was less than individual fines in South Africa, Nigeria, and Angola. This information underscores the increasing focus on enforcing data protection regulations and the varying approaches among African countries in addressing privacy violations.

The conversation also delves into the monitoring of online digital lenders and their data practices, emphasizing the diligence of regulators in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda. Additionally, we highlighted the growing engagement and limited adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in certain countries, with challenges related to infrastructure, data ecosystems, education, and governance frameworks still prevalent.

Lastly, the discussion pointed out the rising cyber threats across the continent in 2023, with a notable increase in cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure, financial institutions, governments, and businesses. Despite the challenges, the activation of the Malabo Convention was highlighted as a positive step, offering a unique legal instrument that combines cybersecurity, cybercrime, electronic transactions, and data protection. The participants suggested that African nations have the opportunity to leverage the convention for mutual legal assistance treaties, facilitating information exchange and collaboration in addressing cyber threats. 

The discussion encapsulates significant strides in Africa's data protection landscape as revealed in the Africa Privacy Report for 2023/2024. The report highlights significant advancements in data protection across the continent. For a comprehensive understanding of these developments and their implications, we encourage readers to explore the full report.