Enforce data protection laws to uphold right of citizenry -Veep

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has urged African governments to uphold the right to privacy of their citizens by passing and enforcing data protection laws. 

He said the ongoing digitisation of economies worldwide required the release of personal data that must be shielded against abuse by unscrupulous persons for personal gains. 

In a speech read of his behalf at the opening of the first Africa Region Data Protection and Privacy International Conference in Accra yesterday, he said it was inadequate that less than 15 African countries had data protection laws.

The participants at the conference

About 1,000 data protection experts on the continent and beyond have gathered in Accra for the five-day conference, on the theme “A conference in Africa, by African Authorities, focused on Africa”. 

They have, since Monday, been deliberating on contemporary national and global issues in the data protection sector and promoting the enactment of Data Protection and Privacy Laws in all African countries. 

It is being organised by the Ministry of Communications through the Data Protection Commission (DPC) and Network of African Data Protection Authorities (ADPA). 

Dr Bawumia, represented by the Minister for Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, further urged African countries to ratify various international treaties and conventions on data protection. 

He said it was crucial for them to do so because data had become the bedrock of the rapidly changing world as well as the key to the sustainable development of every country. 

Highlighting the progress Ghana was making in data protection, he said aside the passage of the data protection law which set up the commission, she is one of four African nations that had ratified the African Union’s Malabo Convention on cyber security and personal data. 

Additionally, Dr Bawumia said the country was preparing to assent to the recently modernised “Council of Europe’s 108+” document on data protection that currently has only four African countries acceding to it. 

In order for Africa to maximise the opportunities that come with digital economy and minimise its threats including abuse of personal data, he rallied the continent to put premium on data protection. 

The United Nations Rapporteur on Right to privacy, Prof. Joe Cannataci said data protection required serious attention because it bordered on people’s rights to privacy and freedom. 

To this end, he offered to help countries to pass the laws or review existing ones to help the continent strengthen its data protection regime and protect rights to privacy of their citizens. 

The Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in a speech read on her behalf, called on all stakeholders to collaborate and surmount emerging challenges in data protection. 

For Executive Director of DPC and Vice President ADPA, Ms Patricia Adusei-Poku every country owed it a duty to its residents, to uphold their security and ensure their personal data do not fall into the wrong hands.


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