The International Bar Association (IBA) African Regional Forum has released a new Data Protection/Privacy Guide for Lawyers in Africa, in recognition of growing requirements for safeguarding of personal data in accordance with legal principles across the continent. The guide was developed in the context of the European Union’s data protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which lays out rules and conditions around the collection and processing of personal information from individuals who live in the EU. Since the implementation of the GDPR data controllers in both Europe and Africa have called for the implementation of similar standards in Africa. However, there has been little guidance given to legal practitioners as to how to comply with the directives.
Pieter Steyn, the immediate past Co-Chair of the African Regional Forum and the Guide’s project lead said: ‘The aim of the IBA African Regional Forum’s new guide is to provide vital support for practitioners navigating the complex and changing world of data protection law. Comprehensive and practical in design, the guide will aid lawyers in advising clients and ensuring compliance by their practices with the fast-evolving and increasingly expansive areas of data protection and privacy laws’.
The new guide has drawn on international best practice guidelines and data laws already adopted in African nations. Chapters include:
- Data protection in Africa;
- Data protection principles;
- Individual rights;
- Data controller/data processor obligations; and
- Regulator powers;
Babatunde Ademola Ajibade, SAN (PhD) FCIArb, Chair of the IBA African Regional Forum and Managing Partner at SPA Ajibade & Co in Nigeria, commented: ‘Data protection is of great importance to us all. There are many related rights for individuals, including the right to access, rectification and erasure, all of which must be safeguarded by individuals who have a firm understanding of their legal and moral obligation to ensure the necessity of protection. I am delighted that the IBA African Regional Forum is at the forefront of an initiative to provide guidance to lawyers and bar associations on the new data protection regimes across the continent and the importance of protecting personal data and privacy for individuals and business.’