The Open Government Partnership (OGP) has published a report of its findings on the adoption of data protection laws by its member countries in Africa and has recommended the strengthening of data protection on the continent.
The report finds that African countries are lagging behind this global trend, with only 52 per cent having data protection legislation in force and, that of OGP’s fourteen African members, ten states have enacted data protection legislation, including: Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tunisia. It adds that Malawi and Nigeria, have draft legislation, while Liberia and Sierra Leone have no law at all.
The report acknowledges that global adoption of data protection legislation has been slow with only 66 per cent of countries in the world having legislation in force, while an additional 10 per cent have draft legislation.
All the 14 African OGP member states recognise the right to privacy domestically, the report says, adding there is growing consensus that the right (as well as the right to be free of unlawful discrimination, bias, or any other denial of due process) must evolve to include considerations of data protection.
Importantly, it was noted throughout the report that the regulation of data protection must strike an appropriate balance with important human rights, such as access to information and freedom of expression.
The report analysed the context and major barriers to effective data protection in the 14 African OGP members and made informed recommendations that strengthen data protection. In doing so, this report focuses on three thematic areas that are of particular interest to OGP: transparency, accountability, and participation and within these thematic areas, it analysed 18 focus areas, consisting of common mechanisms included in data protection legislation that enable an effective framework and contribute to greater transparency, accountability, and participation.
The full report with details on all the findings and recommendations are available and can be downloaded here.