Twenty-one years ago, Cape Verde was the first African country to adopt a comprehensive data protection framework. Since then, data protection regulation has developed and evolved across the continent – from personal data protection to the regulation of the digital economy, from the national and sub-regional to the regional level. "The African Union has recently made great strides. The timing of this conference couldn't be better", explains Patricia Boshe, research assistant at FREDI. In July 2022, the African Union published the AU Data Policy Framework – thereby placing a focus on further development towards a pan-African data governance system. Whether the legal framework for dealing with data should be supplemented or redrawn, and if so, to what extent – not least in view of the use of modern technology in African countries – is a topical question that is yet to be answered.
"The conference provides a unique setting for an in-depth exchange on data protection regulation in African countries. It is a platform to discuss data protection laws and strategies with and from a pan-African perspective", says Professor Moritz Hennemann, director of FREDI and holder of the Chair of European and International Information and Data Law at the University of Passau.
International academics and practitioners in the field speaking at the conference will highlight and evaluate the developments of the past two decades in this world region and the countries in it, as well as internal and external influences, the enforcement of data protection laws and political perspectives. Furthermore, other data-related topics relevant to the continent will also be discussed; in particular data governance, data localisation and the digital economy.
The conference will take place in hybrid form (in-person and virtually) and will be held in English. For the programme, speakers' profiles and the registration form, visit the conference website.
"Our three-part conference series aims to create a forum to highlight questions of data law, data governance and data policy from a global perspective", says Hennemann. The third and final part of the series, on comparative data law, is scheduled to take place in 2023.