Pantami Urges African Countries to Strengthen Data Protection Mechanism


By Dike Onwuamaeze

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has urged African countries to develop data protection standard across their borders as part of the essential requirements for building a strong and reliable digital economy.

Pantami, made this call when he delivered the keynote address at the First Africa Data Protection Conclave, which was held virtually, recently.

He stated that the need for data protection was the major reason Nigeria launched the National Digital Economy Policy Strategy, which borders on developmental regulation, digital skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital services, soft infrastructure, digital society, emerging technologies and indigenous content creation and promotion.

“We need to ensure that nations build their data infrastructure, mining and security to the highest level because this will be the industry of the future to generate economic growth and build wealth,” Pantami said.

Also speaking during the virtual event, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, emphasised the roles the agency played in developing the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation. which is modelled under the global General Data Protection Regulation.

Abdullahi explained: “Although our Data Protection came a bit late, so far we have achieved several milestones and have recorded unprecedented achievements when it comes to compliance.

“Our model is unique because we also appointed data compliance organisations like Taxaide Technologies Limited.”

He also said NITDA’s overriding goal of making data accessible to the youth segment of the Nigeria’s population was based on the notion that access to data is the key ingredient to building the economy by providing business solutions.

In his contribution, the Managing Director/CEO of Taxaide Technologies Limited (Taxtech), Mr. Bidemi Olumide, the convener of the Africa Data Protection Conclave, said: “We believe this event is testament to the fact that Africa is ready to take its place in the global conversation on data protection and cybersecurity and we look forward to the future editions of the Africa Data Protection Conclave which is billed to be an annual event.”

The event featured more than 25 speakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda among other African countries.

Some of the dignitaries that graced the event were the Chairperson Information Regulator, South Africa, Mr. Pansy Tlakula; the ICT Policy and Project Manager, Africa Union, Mr. Auguste Yankey; the Human Rights Adviser in Charge of African Union Matters, Mr. Chafi Bakari; the Senior Associate, Hogan Lovells, France, Aissatou Sylla; the Associate Partner at Katende, Ssempebwa and Company, Uganda, Ms. Alice Namuli Blazevic; Justice Obafemi Adamson of the Lagos State Judiciary and the Partner AO2LAW, Mr. Oyeyemi Oke, amongst a host of high-level speakers.