Smart Africa Alliance (SA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA/RAPDP) to provide institutional support and build enforcement capacity of African national authorities.
Initial discussions between Smart Africa and NADPA/RAPDP began on November 26, 2021 in Benguerir, Morocco on the need to join forces as a region to enforce harmonization of data protection laws as a matter of regional interest.
After fruitful deliberations, the two parties met in Dakar, Senegal to affix their signatures to a Memorandum of Understanding opening a new chapter in a pan-African roadmap towards achievable data protection goals.
The Memorandum of Understanding entered into force on March 10, 2022, laying the foundations for genuine pan-African dialogue and cooperation.
Specifically, NADPA/RAPDP and SA come together to support national data strategies and enforcement of data protection regulations to create a harmonized framework for data protection policies and regulations in Africa.
It will support African states in preparing or updating privacy and personal data protection legislation, and in setting up data protection authorities;
The MoU will help develop and conduct joint capacity building modules for African Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) through the Smart Africa Digital Academy (SADA) where possible and develop initiatives for enhanced legal collaboration between African data protection authorities to support the digitization of the continent.
The Executive Director of the Data Protection Commission of Ghana and Chairperson of the African Data Protection Authorities Network, Madam Patricia Adusei Poku, hinted that the organizations have taken the next step and are now ready to enter into such a partnership which would not only achieve the commitments made by one from the point of view of data governance and legal harmonization of data protection, but also for the development of regional training and certification for professionals African data protection experts, in order to fill the skills gap in the field of data protection in Africa.
Commenting on the strategic signing of the MoU, Smart Africa CEO Lacina Koné expressed her excitement to work with NADPA/RAPDP to build capacity in data protection policies and scale up pan-African collaboration. She further noted that the MoU will help facilitate and expedite legal harmonization and collaboration among Member States, a move in line with the Malabo Convention as well as the new continental data policy framework of the African Union Commission.
Mr. Awa Ndiaye, President of CDP Senegal, said that the MoU represented a strategic framework for designing and sharing between key players in the protection of personal data.
He added that this was in line with initiatives to make Africa a safe and conducive space for digital transformation.