Data protection in Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic: Old problems, new challenges and multistakeholder solutions

Data protection in Africa can still be described to be in its nascent stage. Most African states do not have a data protection law. Countries on the continent are divided along the lines of countries with a data protection law, countries with fragmented frameworks, and countries without any semblance of a law. Out of the 55 states on the continent, only 28 countries have a data protection law, of which 15 have set up data protection authorities (DPAs) to enforce the law.

The focus of this paper is two-fold. The first objective is to consider the status of data protection in Africa, while the second objective focuses on the impact of public emergencies like the covid-19 pandemic on data protection in Africa. This is done by considering both international and national contexts of data protection in Africa. The countries being focused on are: Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa and Mauritius. The choice of national contexts is premised on language and differences in legal systems across each of Africa’s sub-regions.


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