Africa: Senegal plans a national data governance strategy

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Africa: Senegal plans a national data governance strategy

In early March, a forum on digital identity and data governance began in Dakar, chaired by Yankhoba Diatara, Senegal’s Minister of Digital Economy and Telecoms, and hosted by Ghana’s Personal Data Chairperson, Patricia Poku, and Awa Ndiaye, Chairperson of the Personal Data Protection Commission (CDP). The objective of this forum is to highlight the major issues of digital identity and data governance in order to establish a national data governance strategy as well as a strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

The forum, which took place on March 8 and 9, was organized by the CDP in partnership with the African Network of Personal Data Protection Authorities (ANPPA) and the Smart Africa Alliance. It brought together actors and experts from the digital ecosystem as well as data protection organizations from South Africa, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana and Morocco.
The Minister of Digital Economy and Telecoms recalled the importance of this initiative and stated that its objective is to:

“lay down the principles of governance and lay the foundations of a harmonized multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral policy for the use of data conducive to innovation, digital trust, the protection of fundamental rights and economic development.”

He stressed the fact that the data strategy is not well enough taken into account in Africa despite the meteoric development of infrastructure and markets of the economy.

Yankhoba Diatara also recalled the efforts of Senegal to implement a policy of digital sovereignty, including the acquisition of major infrastructure DATA last generation as a supercomputer with a power of 537 teraflops and an integrated storage capacity of 956 terabytes, datacenters type TIERS 3 to ensure the hosting and security of the most critical data. Efforts are also being made to ensure the transfer of data from abroad to Senegal, the country having acquired the data storage infrastructure. In addition, he said he is working on cybersecurity, cybercrime, but also on cyber defense:

“There is an awareness work that has been done by the CDP despite the lack of means noted at this level that must be strengthened. He suggests that there is a real problem of awareness. There is too much data being manipulated, shared and people are not aware that this data is stored somewhere and we don’t know what it will be used for.

According to Awa Ndiaye, President of the CDP, the Forum will allow to concretize the cooperation between the Smart Africa Alliance Secretariat and the African Network of Personal Data Protection Authorities (ANPPA) around a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). She emphasized the notion of ethics, highlighted the disparity between legislations, obstacle to put in place a transparent, secure and trustworthy system. She states:

“In recent months, the work of the Group “Data protection Flagship” initiated by Smart Africa and coordinated by Senegal, have developed guidelines on the protection of personal data in Africa, in order to harmonize our legislation, and strengthen cooperation between African authorities in charge of data protection. The signing of the MOU will thus mark the first step of a collaboration, which we hope will be very fruitful between RAPDP and Smart Africa.”

For her:

“the attribution of a digital identity to each citizen has become a fundamental prerequisite, for the implementation of public policies of States, and for electronic transactions.”

The president of the African Network of Personal Data Protection Authorities (ANPPA), Patricia Poku, insisted on ” the need for Africa to have a common voice for better management and governance of personal data, at times, hosted outside the continent.”

In addition to data protection, another national strategy on artificial intelligence has been initiated with the private sector, OPTIC, and other stakeholders.

Translated from Afrique : le Sénégal envisage une stratégie nationale de gouvernance de la donnée

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