IGF 2022 Day 3 Open Forum #77 Implementing the AU Data Policy Framework

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to this session on the AU data policy framework.  We will focus mainly on the recently adopted AU data policy framework.  So we have two panelists, we have a number of panelists that will join us online.  So I kindly invite Alison and to join us.  I think we need to start on time because it is only one hour, and I hope the online speakers are connected.

Okay.  So as I mentioned, we have this session.  It is about the AU data framework, and it's discussing Africa when it comes to data usage and ownership and also how data will support the development of the digital economy in Africa and help us to move towards this model digital society.

So with the panelists, we have six panelists with us.  We have two that are with us here and we have four additional panelists that are joining us online.  So in alphabetical order, I have with us Dr. Guichard Tsangou, and we have the project manager in charge of data governance at Smart Africa and we have online, the director the national protection authority of Uganda.  And we have Dr. Alison Gillwald who is the Executive Director of Research ICT and we have Mr. Torbjorn Frederiksson, the eCommerce and digital economy branch division on technology and logistic of UNCTAD.  And last but not least, we have our last panelist.

As I mentioned, the discussion is about the AU data policy framework.  This document was ‑‑ is strategic framework was developed by the African Union Commission, with support and in collaboration with all original organizations as we had the task force and we went through discussions and also collaborative work.  We also had online open consultation that was open to all stakeholders before we moved with our draft, taking it our Member States for the first review and validation before formal examination by specialized technical committee and the adoption of the strategic framework by the AU summit in February of 2022.

Now the document is available online.  The strategic framework aims to set our priorities, our vision, our principles with regards to data.  We aim to harness the transformative potential of data to empower our countries and citizens to save the rights of the individuals and also the rights of our countries in global digital economy and we aim to achieve equitable opportunities to all African citizens in the digital space.  And so the object sieve to port or provide guidance to Africa to create a comprehensive coherent and harmonized data systems across the country that will enable us to efficiently use data enable the data to flow across the border in support of trade and data‑driven businesses.

The policy framework is now in the second phase.  It is the implementation phase.  We come up with an implementation plan that was discussed with our countries and now it's validated and also we propose the capacity assessment tool that will help the countries to help assess their data landscape.  For us as continental organizations, it will help us to identify the individual needs of countries and also the collective needs to build on that to come up with dedicated programs and initiatives.

We have six distinguished panelists in how to implement this and also how to find, like the adequate global net systems that will fit of Africa context and respond to African needs and with this we can start with our first question, and it's addressed to Mrs. Stella.  I would like to hear from what the adoption of this framework represents for them and also what are the challenges in implementation and domestication, and personal and nonpersonal data and there's many aspects that have been addressed in this framework.

Stella, over to you.

>> STELLA ALIBATEESE:  I am I'm very happy to be here and thank you for this invitation.  I'm very happy to be talking about domesticating the AU data policy framework, because I believe it's a good way for us in harmonizing within the region how we deal with data and how we secure that data.

What this means to us as Uganda, or even other countries, in terms of domestication we need to make sure that we provide for these he recommendations within our various policies in.

Many cases, we may need to review existing policies or even to prepare a standalone policy.  For Uganda, I know we have studied on the national data strategy, and recently we had a workshop about maybe a month ago where we were considering who are the stakeholders to involve, what are the key issues, and I had the benefit of also presenting the AU data policy framework and what the lessons are for Uganda.

So within that national data policy, it will be very critical for us as a country to provide for the recommendations that have provided within the policy framework.

The beauty of the AU data policy framework is that the recommendations are very clear.  The framework provides actions, AU has done an implementation plan, and is also providing for M&E which I believe will really support the different countries in domesticating this framework.

Beyond the policy development of course once you are done with the policy development, within Uganda, when we develop policies at national level, they are required to be approved by the cabinet.  The cabinet is the highest decision‑making body for government.  One cabinet approves that policy, then it makes it much easier for the implementing ministry to cascade it to the other ministries, knowing that this policy framework requires a lot of collaboration, across different sectors.  We would also expect that once the policy is approached, then we would also review our standards.  What kind of standards do we have that supports the framework if they need an amendment, this is the time to do those amendments and, of course, ensuring that we involve as many stakeholders as well.

Since we were given limited time, there's certain aspects things like the data infrastructure, things like the resource mobilization, all of these require funding and for us in Uganda, for you to get funding author those initiatives you have to make sure that these recommendations are embedded within the national development plan.  If you have anything that you want to implement and it's not in the national development plan, then most likely you will not be able to get the resources.  So in a nut shell, for us to really implement this framework, we need to update our policies or develop our new policy we need to develop our standards that will enable this interoperability and be then we need to make sure that those items or recommendations that require funding provided for within our national development plan.  Thank you, Souhila.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you very much, Stella for respecting the time and also for highlighting that you already started, like, introducing the data policy framework at national level, and also highlighting the actions that need to be taken at national level in order to domesticate the framework.  And we take as a recommendation, the need to align the actions and the recommendations of continental frameworks to the national development plan and to facilitate their implementation at the national level.  We will have the opportunity to hear from you and during the question and response session.

So with this, I am moved to the second question, which is our second panelist who is Mr. Guichard Tsangou.  We would like to hear from the regional organizations what are the capacities that are needed to enable the regional economic communities to support their Member States and also if need be to develop, like, regional data markets.

Mr. Tsangou, you have the floor.

(No audio)

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: I don't know if Mr. Tsangou is connected.  Maybe we can come back later.

>> Hello.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Just to let you know that Mr. Tsangou is speaking French and I will summarize his intervention for those of you who don't understand French.


(Speaking French).

>> GUICHARD TSANGOU:  (Speaking French).

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Maybe I just try to mention of Mr. Tsangou highlighted that regional building communities are the building blocks of African Union and we need to work in close collaboration to implement the AU data policy framework, taking into account that data is strategic resources.  He highlighted a number of frameworks that have been developed by the region and some of them have been implemented, namely he talked about the Digital Transformation Strategy for Central Africa region, master plan for development of infrastructure, broadband infrastructure and to ‑‑ and to interconnect the different countries of this region, and also the need to have regional and operationalize the regional exchange point and need to have a regional data center and also he mentioned a number of model laws, like model law on the personal data protection, on cyber criminality, and also on ‑‑ he ‑‑ the perspective of developing a regional strategy for Central Africa region.

I think we do understand that the regions within the continent, they all have their specificities.  So when we talk about Central African, East Africa and Southern Africa region, there are some differences.  They are all within the context of Africa and African Union, but we need to take into account the context and the need of each region.

He mentioned that to enable this regional economic communities to support or to implement the strategic framework, we need to build capacity and also the need to realign all the regional frameworks to the continental frameworks because the data policy framework was recently adopted.  So the next step for the regional economic communities is to align their model laws and their policies to this framework.

I think we heard from the regional perspective.  We have a speaker from the implementing part of the African Union, I don't know if she's connected or not, otherwise, we can have her once she is ready.

We have also with us from the regional perspective, we have a representative of Smart Africa which is quite present in the digital development landscape.  We have Mrs. Aretha Mare.  Maybe the question that we ask is how Smart Africa can support, like in identifying the barriers, like the barriers from the legal, from the regulatory perspectives that can help us, like, that we need to ‑‑ we need to address in order to enable data to flow across the continent in support of the development of our digital economy and society.

Please, you have the floor.

>> ARETHA MARE:  Okay.  Good morning, everyone.  And thank you to the AU and GIZ for inviting Smart Africa for this panel.  I will start by sharing a brief background for where Africa is.  Smart Africa is a Pan‑African portion with about 35 Member States at present, and we have several projects all focusing on digital transformation.

So I will share beginning of 2020, we conducted this data protection and privacy frameworks, looking at harmonization challenges and also how we can enable cross‑border data flows.  We also did a survey to Member States around various topics to deal with data governance.

What we found out, one of the key factors that effects cross‑border data flows is a lack of trust.  Looking at the data protection laws, there are a lot of commonalties and similarity between the frameworks than there are divergences.  Starting where we are, in terms of assessing what the adequacy provisions are.

And then the second thing that I want to mention is a lack of infrastructure.  So from basic infrastructure itself, digital infrastructure and also data infrastructure, so when we look at data centers, Africa has about 1% of multi‑tenant data centers and we have a project on data centers that's working towards establishing T4D data centers on the continent.

And then looking at interoperability of systems we have the Smart Africa Trust alliance which is working towards enabling the transfer or the sharing of data between countries without necessarily having the data move from the countries themselves.

And then the second area ‑‑ the third area that I want to talk about is the lack of adequate technical capacity, looking at skills itself.  I think as Africa, we have to work towards creating an Army of data professionals so that we are able to innovate using data.

And then, moving also to the Data Protection Authorities, we see that most of them are not well resourced.  So in terms of technical capacity, itself and also in terms of funding.  So if we have Data Protection Authorities that are well resourced then we also have better enforcement capacities and then Stella mentioned the issue of developing data policies in line with the recommendations that are in the data policy framework.  So it's one area.  I'm glad that Uganda is on its way.  I know also Sierra Leone, and we are working with Senegal and Ghana to develop their strategies.

And I know South Africa was working on one.  I'm not sure if was approved yet.  I will stop here.  And then I will wait for questions.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  We will have the opportunity to take questions from the floor.  And thank you for highlighting the work that is being done by Smart African Alliance if building the human and institutional capacity of African countries in order to enable them to put in place the necessary means and tools to respond to the digital challenges.  And it's good to mention that some countries they have already started developing their national data strategies and they are inspired by the AU data policy framework.  And I think for us, we take it as very good progress.

Now, we move to Dr. Alison.  I think we mentioned that one of the main objectives of developing this strategic framework is to achieve a high level of harmonization, of our data governance systems to enable data to flow within countries and also between countries, and to support the development of IntraAfrica digital market to support development and the integration and the agenda of the continent.  So from your perspective, how can we achieve this harmonization, taking into account the complexity of Africa with countries, with different levels of digital transformation and also data readiness.  Please.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you very much, Souhila.

Thank you.  So I think the most important thing with the issue of harmonization is that this is, you know, not only a political imperative, in terms of agenda 63 and various commitments to harmonizing our, you know, universal human rights frameworks and our peoples rights frameworks on the continent and various developmental commitments on the continent, but it's absolutely essential to creating this enabling and trusted environment in order for us to harness the benefits of the data economy and of digitalization and dataification that's happening across the continent ‑‑ across the globe very rapidly and without which we are again going to be left behind.  And we are not only going to be left behind.  We will be increasingly harmed by not having a risk mitigation strategy for these very, very powerful forces which have positive implications but also, you know, potentially harmful ones.

The harmonization is absolutely critical in terms of a data environment.  If we are going to get the kind of economies of scope and scale that you need for a data economy, and to, you know, get sufficient participation in that economy, to get sufficient investment in that economy, and to do so, we need to create this enabling and trusted environment.

And it's really this that will enable people ‑‑ all the countries of the continent and the people of the continent to participate more equitably in this, you know, fabulous opportunity but potentially risk environment that is occurring around us.

And that really requires, you know, a principled commitment which the African Union framework does.  It's a high‑leveled principled commitment, that we see, and also creating a rights-preserving environment for users of data on the continent, but also to recreate the environment for data producers.

Too long Africa has been the recipients, data subjects, the excluded from these markets and it's really the commitment to harmonization that will allow us to create this enabling and trusted environment.

However, the document is also ‑‑ it's a high‑level document, it's aligned with other issues across the country and it's a pragmatic document.  I want to say it's much broader than the data protection document.  This is a full data ‑‑ you know, data policy framework for Africa.  So there's a lot of commitments to creating as I say this economic market on the continent, the single economic market that could have more equitable benefits.

Although there's been some work on data protection across the country, and we have our Malabo Convention, and it acknowledges the uneven development that we have across the continent.  We have a realization of these high‑level principles, and we will need different environments as our colleagues have been saying before this.

I think that's a critical aspect.  It allows us while we commit ourselves to the important harmonization principles to in the meantime, adopt certain things that we can do without, you know, all having to commit to those very high‑level principles that we are simply institutionally or economically, whatever, are not able to commit right now.  We can have integrated data systems.

So one the things is that we do commit ourselves to developing regional standards, standards that would allow for integrated data systems.  We have the private sector doing their own thing and others this doing their own thing.  And it would allow us to have the national integrated systems and be interoperable at the continental level.

So many of these steps that we can do, it's absolutely critical for achieving the objectives of not only, you know, deploying data as a strategic asset for private data value creation, which has been the emphasis or the dominant model of value creation globally, but to unlock an enormous potential in Africa and ensure that we leave space and enable and, you know, nurture public value spaces, databases, data commons and these kind of things in the environment, but also making available public data, you know, for ‑‑ used by governments but also by entrepreneurs and start‑ups and those sort of things that could get this data going.

And getting to the critical part of the harmonization is to get these essential data flows that we need across the continent, in order to, you know, generate ‑‑ kick start this data economy on the continent and, you know, for us all to benefit from this.  Data has no value in and of itself.  If we just hold that data and it's not processed and it's not, you know, used productively, it has no value for you.  So as Africans, we need to ensure that we are, you know, integrating where we are doing this.  If we don't have a data center, we probably can't all afford data centers.  We need to identify how these can be aggregated, and where is the best place to aggregate.

I think harmonization of courses are principle, but there are so many steps that we can do right now, and the exciting part and the pragmatic part of this framework is it is now in the second phase.

It has an implementation phase.  That's been a critique.  Great policy never gets implemented.  Here it is in the implementation phase.  Our colleagues have spoken about the challenges of implementing at the local level but having a framework to do this in which we can peer, in which we can collaborate, in which we can coordinate our efforts will mean that we will be able to move so much more quickly to that.

Thank you.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you very much.  Thank you for highlighting that harmonization is an objective.  And it needs to collective efforts to achieve it and this data policy frameworks lay the foundation with the high-level principles and key actions that we need to take both at national level and continental level in order to develop this consolidated data ecosystem in Africa that will enable data driven economy to develop in our country ‑‑ our continent.

We want to say that the data policy framework takes also into account the international discussions and also what is happening now in the world, like this discussion about the development of the need to have a global approach and also the discussion within the world trade organizations in how to manage cross‑border data flows and with this, we have our last panelist who is Mr. Torbjorn Frederiksson.  He may give us an overview on what the work is ‑‑ of UNCTAD, on the cross-border data flows and the relation with the economic development.  And also, maybe he can maybe advise how Africa can be part of this global discussion, and for us as a regional and continental organization, how we can prepare our countries to be part of this debate.  Mr. Frederiksson, you have the floor.

>> TORBJORN FREDERIKSSON:  Thank you very much, Souhila.  Hello from Geneva.  Let me start by congratulating the AUC for the development of the data policy framework, which can serve as the basis from which to strengthen the data policies throughout Africa.

If well handled, data can address many of the world's and Africa's major development changes such as food insecurity, pandemic preparedness, as well as more transparency, accountable, responsive, and effective governance.

Data can transform research and development.  It can lower the cost, reduce waste and enhance trust and improve the quality of decision‑making at all levels.  But the development gains from data as has been stressed cannot be taken for granted.  If not well handled and if not refined, the growing reliance on data may well result in greater divides and greater inequalities.  And this is what we actually have seen during the pandemic, where the shift to digital has really supported those that are best equipped and best prepared to harvest data.

And even levels of readiness in this area, to engage in advances from the data driven digital economy, we can see that in terms of the data infrastructure, in terms of digital entrepreneurship and skills, as well as in the availability of financial resources and institutional capacities for digital transformation.

The shortage of appropriate skill sets in governance can also result in insufficient representation of technical and analytical expert in legislative and regulatory framework processes and this, in turn, can hamper the ability of governments to identify the opportunities that could be afforded, and the potential risks and threats that could emerge, and that means they will be hampered in terms of regulating both the opportunities and threats.

Now, data policies in Africa are, of course, affected by those implemented elsewhere as well.

So at the same time, the global landscape of data governance that we are seeing now, as of today, is highly fragmented and this risks leading to rising tensions among the main realms of the data governance like China, and the US, and ‑‑ and the EU.  And it can also lead to increased fragmentation of the Internet.

We have seen as the increased use of data localization requirements, as an attempt to try to protect data inside the country, and while that may have justifications, you can reduce the opportunities that the data flows can generate.

So it's against that background that UNCTAD and others have been calling for the development of the balanced global approach to data governance.  That could help secure inclusive development gains and ultimately with we think that the goal is to enable data flow as free as necessary and possible, but while being able to address the various development goals of the actors.

A number of policy areas are relevant, considering this context.  It involves agreeing on taxonomies and access for different types of data and strengthening the measurement of data and their value, and dealing with data as a public good, exploring new forms of data governance, agreeing on rights and principles, as well as standards and the platforms that are well‑placed to harness data, there is a need to discuss international cooperation on the governance of these platforms in the same context.

For example, with regard to transparency, and competition, and taxation.  In order to ensure an inclusive process with representatives of all developed countries, including Africa, we think that the United Nations should play a more prominent role than it currently does.  But even within the UN system, we have discussions in the UN that are also insiders.  We have therefore, pointed to the need for a new United Nations coordinating body or mechanism for data governance, with a clear mapping to work on data with the right skill sets.

It's not going to be easy to find this necessary framework that would require innovative and bold thinking about the form of global governance, and ‑‑ but it will also need Member States, not least from Africa to be fully involved and onboard from the outset.

Determining the way forward will be very difficult, but it's still necessary.  How we deal with data will to a large extent determine if digitalization will bring inclusive and sustainable outcomes or lead to a further widening of the digital divides and income inequalities and African countries need to weigh in on this process on how to shape the future in this area.

Thank you so much.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: We thank you for your participation in this panel, because we do understand that we cannot work in silos and also highlighting that the global data governance landscape is ‑‑ is currently fragmented and there is a need to move towards more balanced approach and inclusive approach and we have seen that the report of UNCTAD of '21, a major recommendation on the UN to play a central role in this move and also the need to create the dedicated body from within the UN to deal with data.

And for us, we as ‑‑ maybe as ‑‑ from the Africa perspective we would advocate and share information from developing countries to enable them to be part of this process.

I think with this, we come to the end of the interventions of panelists, and we open the floor for questions.  We have 15 minutes.  So feel free to raise your questions.  I would kindly invite you to be concise and also to introduce yourself and to whom the question is addressed.

We start with this side and then we'll move to this side.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hi.  Thank you very much, I'm Kevin Zandermn from the Tony Blair Institute.  When you talked about the cross‑border knows you mentioned a particular form with the algorithm travels and it's not data that travels.  I would imagine you are referring to the federated learning techniques.  Could you expand on the state of the implementation of this technology and also the data trustees in Africa.  That would be really great.

And my second question is I have seen in the data policy framework doesn't mention the CA about.  Act or the national intelligence law and I was wondering was this part of the conversation and were there also the African Union is sort of thinking about, for example, following the ex U model with GAIA‑X and trying to build an alternative cloud that's sovereign and that it was not clear from the conversation.  Thank you very much.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  I will propose that we take three questions and then respond to them.  From this side?

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, my name is Martin Holland and we just on Monday released a cross‑border policy report about this state in Africa.  The question I'm having is what the vision is for next year concerning the more experimental interplay of the implementation mechanisms that will be necessary to be agile, to what Torbjorn was referring to and also a contribution that we would like to give, we will announce a cross‑border sandbox for data forum for Africa that will start next year.  But we'll try to bring experts from around the globe, including the Global South on to the continent and also hear, yeah, the big proposition to experiment to go and investigate the questions that also the colleague from the Tony Blair Institute raised.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: A question from this side or maybe we move to the other side.

Yeah.  Another question?

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.  Good afternoon.  My name is Sabina, I'm the executive director of a think tank called Just jobs Network.  Thank you for a stimulating discussion.  I think this panel talked a lot about how to overcome fragmented data systems to create more interoperability and harmonization across data governance, but I'm wondering if you could also shed some light on how we obtain data from tech companies from platforms, for example, if there's any effort underway to broker data sharing agreements to obtain this data, if we are coming from a spirit of using data as a public good for all of the things that Mr. Frederiksson had laid out.

I was wondering in the panel could shed any more light on that.  Thank you.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  I think maybe we can take all the questions ‑‑ the fourth question and we respond, because I think we ‑‑ you can have the floor, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm Charles from Malawi.  Yes, in Malawi, we have a stage where we are developing the data protection law, and we're also developing the data center.  And we also just wanted to learn from you what is the experience of civil society in terms of participation in those processes and also the citizens in such processes.

And I would want to collaborate or speak to different actors that would be willing to support civil society participation in such process through the data protection legislation and also monitoring the process in terms of data ‑‑ the establishment of the data center that we are working on in Malawi.  Thank you so much.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  I think maybe we respond to these questions, and we'll take a second round to the questions.

So I would kindly invite the panelists to respond in two minutes, one of the ‑‑ take one of the questions.  I think the one ‑‑ the first one was addressed to Stella.  I was ‑‑ yeah.  Stella, are you online?

>> STELLA ALIBATEESE:  Yes, I'm online, but the question was for Aretha because it was related to the system about the data sharing without the data moving.

(Off microphone comments).

>> ARETHA MARE: Okay.  So this is still a pilot project, it's called the Smart Africa Alliance.  The first one is around digital identity use cases and I know they're working with Benin.  I don't have more information on it.  I will be happy to share contact information and update you later.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Alison, I don't know if you can take some of the questions, namely the data sharing, the need to have data sharing agreements and also the ‑‑ the cooperation with data initiatives in the sandbox and the last one from Malawi and how we can support Malawi in data protection laws and citizen participation.

I put all the questions to Alison, but you feel free to respond to one of them, and we'll hand over to the other speakers as well.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Sure, I will do that.

So the issue that was raised around GAIA‑X and so sorts of things.  Just to emphasize that the framework was a high‑leveled principled document.  So some of those implement questions are not specifically addressed there, they are coming up in the implementation aspects of this.  But currently there was no discussion within the task force around the GAIA‑X and whether we should be doing that.

Likewise, the task force, the framework's commitment is very much towards the kind of policy experimentation that would be suitable for our context and come up with new things and not just stick and paste policy from elsewhere.  So I am sure the regulatory sandbox will have space to do that.  Again, it hasn't been in the implementation sort of box yet.

On extracting data from the big platforms, as I said, the document, the framework ‑‑ you will see it draws on the digital transformation strategy to open the data and the provision of public data.  I think this is a very continental commitment, which can unlock some of the public value.  That's a different question from getting arguably public data but data from big platforms.  This is obviously the bigger discussion around global collaboration and cooperation and how, you know, small country like Malawi or even ‑‑ you know, whatever a country in Africa or an economy in Africa on their own are probably not going to be able to do very much.  So the document speaks very strongly to sort of loud African voices and harmonized positions, caucus positions so that we are actually engaging in these international fora.  Souhila has mentioned that we had a very fragmented approach to in many ways.

A lot of people feel it's not possible and if we look to other examples.  Ten years ago, we never thought that we would get digital taxes and through global regime reform, that's possible now.  So the possibilities of making those requirements of big platforms.  I'm speaking on my own behalf now very much.  But making that a requirement to big platforms using public resources, maybe the Internet, et cetera, I think collectively and collaboratively, that kind of quid pro quo exchange can happen.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you very much, Alison.  I think there is a question on the participation of citizens in the development of national data protection laws.  I think we invite Stella to respond to this question.  We see what ‑‑ how Uganda is handling the development of legislations and how they engage with different stakeholders.  Stella, can you address it in two minutes, please?

>> STELLA ALIBATEESE:  Thank you very much, Souhila, for that question and the gentleman from Malawi.  I believe Malawi, their investigation process is similar to Uganda.  In our case, as you develop our bill, you are required to public the bill and get comments.  It's a requirement even before it is approved.

Even when it was to parliament, which is the last stage, parliament also invites stakeholders, key stakeholders to participate and even the public.  So my ‑‑ my proposal to the gentleman, first of all, is to engage the minister of justice or the solicitor general, whoever is in charge of developing that law, and then even the minister in charge and even the regulators.  I think it's the Malawi communications commission is also heavily involves in this process.

Once you engage them, then you ‑‑ you will be able to know when this publishing is supposed to be done.  I find that the involvement of civil society is very important, especially in ‑‑ as far as it enables the government to also realize how critical these laws are and it also enables wider discussions about issues to do with the privacy, and data protection.

I believe it can be done.  It's just a matter of being aware and when the publishing is supposed to be done and then submitting comments.

I find that when you submit written comments, you are more likely to get feedback than when you wait, you know, to speak.

Thank you, Souhila.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  I think the last question we have is about the ‑‑ sorry.  You want to ‑‑ okay.

>> Yes, just to comment quickly to the question that came from the gentleman from Malawi, on the Pan‑African level, at Smart Africa we have a framework of engagement, and we have a project on data centers, and we also have a project that we did on data protection.  Please you can reach out and we can see how you can be part of this.

And in terms of question that came from Martin, at Smart Africa we are conducting regular training through the digital academy, and we are looking to imply around data sandboxes and hopefully we will be able to engage in that area.

And then we are also working on a data governance blueprint, which is based off recommendations from the continental data policy framework and if anyone who is interested in participating, you can also reach out.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you, Stella.  I think this brings us to the last question, but it is about the extraterritorial data localization.  I think we'll ask Mr. Torbjorn to help us on this.  What are your perspectives, because like, the policy framework highlight, like our ‑‑ our recommendation on data localization, but we don't see it as ‑‑ as a constraint for the ‑‑ for the develop, but it is rather part of the data landscape.

And I wonder if the global and balanced data governance system will recommend extraterritorial data localization.  And I think it is the main discussion around the data governance and the fragmented frameworks right now.

>> TORBJORN FREDERIKSSON:  Let me try to address this.  They are all connected a sense these questions.  I think first when it comes to the question of platforms, I think this is where it comes to the question of right to access different types of data.  It's one thing to control public data that government has full control over, but when it comes from the citizen, it ends up in the private universe, then the question is how do we regulate what access that the people and the countries have to access this kind of data.

And then there's the question of transparency.  In the financial sector, we have strict rules on how much information that the financial players need to provide to make sure the financial market is working well.  The platforms are not in the digital space, on what they are doing, on algorithms, et cetera, because it's seen as a private asset, and this is something that needs to be discussed.

And I think this has to be raised at the global level because the biggest platforms, they are really ‑‑ they have a global reach.  So it's very difficult for individual countries to negotiate this with each platform.  So there's a need for a global discussion.

Finally, on the question of civil society's role, it's extremely important that the civil society is involved, not just in reviewing specific pieces of legislation, but the broader discussion about how to leverage data for development.  Data are so multidimensional, but also economic implications for human rights and privacy, et cetera, and the civil society has an important role in this context.  And therefore, going forward, in these discussions in countries globally and regionally, we need to have processes that are about multi‑stakeholder and multidimensional when we talk about the implications of data for development.

Thank you again.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  Thank you for emphasizing once again the ‑‑ the need for global discussion.  Data is multidimensional and its nature is cross‑border.  So country cannot manage it by itself but there's many things that need to be discussed and need to be agreed at the global level.  And I think now we see that countries, they are all in the phase of developing their data capabilities and also their data systems, and they hope with this ‑‑ the UN would facilitate this discussion as you highlighted earlier, that you ‑‑ as one of their recommendations is to have UN playing a role to bring all countries together.

I think we can take second round of questions if there is any questions.

Please.  Who has the mic?

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.  I'm an Ethiopian, a government delegate from the information network security administration.  And personally, I'm ail data entry researcher and the problem we have here in Ethiopia is far from the framework that we are talking in here.  What I mean by that is, like, the people in here knows land, water resources very much than the data resources, okay?

Data is far from us.  The community in here, like, takes the Internet as the social media.  Like, social media is the equivalent to the Internet.  We are talking in here something different.  My fellow Malawian there asked a genuine question, okay, how we are going to participate, the people, society and another fellow asked, how to make public property ‑‑ okay, data as public property, right?  Land as public property is our real question, okay, in here.

But data as a property is very far from us, okay?  So how do we reconcile these things?  Okay.  That's my question.  Thank you so much.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.  My name Swanoy, I'm from the judiciary.  It's a good presentation, and I find the policies very good for Africa.  But I have some fears that if we are not customize it, if we don't harmonize it with our own policies and our own legislation, that it will be a problem.  As European point, it clearly is that we have this Malabo Convention, but it has not been signed, ratified, at least by half of African countries.

Therefore, this sensitization workers and follow‑up is critical.  Having a good policy is good by itself, but if that policy is not going to be implemented or customized by these African countries then having policy by itself does not create any values.  Therefore, is there mechanisms that you have put in this policy for the sake of standardization and follow‑up?  I think that's very critical and I think a missing link in this digital ‑‑ this digital ‑‑ creating digital societies in Africa.

The second one is this policy is good policy, but I think we need to have an overarching project that could ‑‑ that could ‑‑ that could help African countries to shave data to use datas, like having an infrastructure, the infrastructure, maybe have the infrastructure that could maybe as an indicator, as a signal for African countries to share datas.  And therefore, what are your thinkings on that.

Last one, is there an element that has been included in the policy to share datas between different sectors like between justice sectors in one African country to another African country.  I can label cooperation, cooperation is also very important.  Thank you.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you.  I don't know if there is ‑‑ maybe you can take last one?  Yes, we take the last question from this side, and ‑‑

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello, everyone.  I would like to ask questions about Central Africa framework.  (Speaking French).

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Merci.  I think with this, we will conclude our questions.  I have been told that the last question in French, we need to translate it to English.

It's about how to include the local languages and the reality of ‑‑ in digital content, and to reflect the realities of the Central Africa region.

We have four questions.  I think myself, I will respond to one related to how to customize and how to ensure the implementation of this framework, because you mentioned the Malibu convention, which took time to enter into force and I would say that this time, we moved quickly, like this framework also adopted in February of this year and we moved with the development of an implementation plan and also capacity assessment tool that will be put at the disposal of countries that they can self‑evaluate their data readiness and identify their needs in terms of capacity.

And for us, it will help us to identify the individual needs of countries and from there, we will see what are the collective needs.  And from there we will move towards developing, like, continental projects and initiatives that will help to support countries, and this was mentioned by Aretha.  There's some alignment going on with this framework.

And also, we received a message from ‑‑ she reiterated to work with the countries to support them in the implementation of this framework because they are the implementation and also, I would say that we are working with our partnership to include data and digital in the agenda of our other partnerships with our partners and we have GIZ who supported us for the organization of this session.  And we are mobilizing resources in order to really implement this framework.

And the difference between the Malabo Convention, and this, there are procedures in each country.  That's why it took a long time, but this one is a strategic framework.  It's policy framework.  It's high-level relations.  It will not prevent countries from implementing the national priorities and align to the national needs.  The difference is that we have the policy framework.  It's a high-level recommendations.  It is kind of roadmap, but the Malabo convention is a legal instrument and also we are close to getting this 15 ratifications and the enforcement of the Malabo Convention.  Many countries are already aligning themselves to the Malabo.

I responded to one question, and I will give the floor to up with of the speakers, it's about the ‑‑ how to engage citizens to let them know what is happening about data, the use of data.  I think maybe Alison, you can aggress this.

>> ALISON GILLWALD: Thank you.  I want to in the context of framework because I think the questions that were answered here and in Malawi are really central challenges on the continent.  The problem is that we have over half the continent, you know, not connected to the Internet, although they are affected by this data every day.  They are at risk, through bio ID systems and through all sorts of algorithmic data err they are exposed to data and directly, even though they are not able to control it or whatever it is.

So I think the importance of this document is that I think it looks very different from any other data policy framework in any other region.  It's an African contextualized document.  And before we talk about the data economy, or the data environment, we speak about Africa and we speak about digital readiness and we speak about data infrastructure, and getting people online and skills and awareness and those sorts of things.  We know from research, ICT Africa's own exit surveys that even if people become connected, they don't have the literacy digital skills.  They use them effectively for transactions and actually produce with this data.  We have enormous human development challenge and policy and practice that needs to go across all of these, you know, economy and society where data is affecting everything.

And I think there is ‑‑ this is acknowledged in the document.  There are also some critical principles in the enabling framework around data justice, for example, but I don't think you are finding it in other documents at the moment.  It's saying, you know, as safe and secure environment, so cyber secure in a data protected environment doesn't give you a trusted environment.  You need legitimacy of your institutions.  People need to be able to trust them in order no use them.

I think there's that kind of really trying to understand, you know, the challenges that have faced us in Africa that are well captured in the document.  In relation to the question of the justice data and, you know, across border sharing of information, and that sort of thing, the document recognizes that this is a very complex area.  It's a high-level principle but that they will have to be data regimes in order to ensure that there's research data shared, that there's justice data shared and of course this was developed in the context of COVID, very importantly, that's health information is shared.

So I urge you to look at the document.  Obviously, the challenge is now in the implementation, in the detail, in developing these but I think a lot of these areas are identified in the policy flame work as areas that need to be taken forward in strategy.

>> SOUHILA AMAZOUZ: Thank you, Alison.

I think we ‑‑ we invite Mr. Guichard to respond about the local longs.  Mr. Guichard.

>> GUICHARD TSANGOU:  (Speaking French).


Guichard, the role is to create the enabling environment, but they don't develop the content, but they support countries and provide guidance to countries in order to include and to work with the civil society to take into account all their comments and also to ‑‑ in shaping the local policies and legislations.

I think this brings us to the end of this session.  Join me in thanking our panelists for their responses and also for sharing all the information they have shared with us.  And unfortunately, I cannot give them the floor to conclude as we run out of time, but just I want to thank them.  Thank you for your participation and we invite you to continue the discussion outside.  Thank you very much.