Africa’s Innovation – July Developments Signal Attention Must Be Paid to Data Privacy Developments in Africa | Perspectives & Events

Africa’s Innovation – July Developments Signal Attention Must Be Paid to Data Privacy Developments in Africa | Perspectives & Events

August 5, 2022 0 By administrator

I. Global Companies Have Identified Africa as One of the Areas of Growth

Recent developments in the region reflect that global companies should be focusing attention on data protection developments in Africa. Tech companies, consumer packaged goods manufacturers, and retailers have focused on Africa as a growth market for their products and services as user adoption in the United States and European Union has flattened.As a result, and in the wake of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), many African countries have heeded the call for data protection laws. Africa is now the largest region with countries that have some sort of data protection law.

And doing business in Africa means the collection of personal information, which increasingly, as in the rest of the world, is becoming regulated. While recent attention in data protection has focused on the United States, the European Union, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America, focus now needs to be directed toward the African continent, which is becoming a burgeoning hotspot for data protection laws and enforcement.

II. At Least 33 Countries in Africa Have Data Protection Laws

While the recent activity in 2022 is important, it reflects an overall trend. As of the end of 2021, at least 33 African countries have adopted comprehensive data protection laws in the wake of the EU’s adoption of the GDPR.2 This represents over 60 percent of the countries in the second-largest continent in the world (with some 1.3 billion residents). The increased attention to data in Africa has also been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, South Africa’s Information Regulator announced that it would begin monitoring the Department of Health’s use and disclosure of COVID-19 information in April 2022.

A. The Majority of Data Protection Laws in Africa Have Data Subject Rights and Enforcement Mechanisms Similar to the Rest of the World’s

The comprehensive data protection laws in Africa share many features that exist in other regimes such as the GDPR, China’s Personal Information Protection Law, and California’s California Consumer Privacy Protection Act and its successor, the California Privacy Rights Act. For example, with respect to the most common rights of data subjects, 33 African countries provide the right to access, 29 provide the right to rectification; 27 provide the right to object; 21 provide the right to be forgotten and the right to information; 14 provide the right not to be subject to automated decision-making; 13 provide the right to restrict marketing; five provide the right to obtain personal data in an understandable form; and three provide the right to data portability, to submit complaints, to obtain compensation from data controllers, and to withdraw consent.

In addition to the above data subject rights, roughly 19 African countries require data controllers to notify the relevant data protection authority, and at…

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