IGF 2023 WS #162 Sandboxes to Solutions: Data Governance & Sharing in Africa


Data Governance & Trust
Cross-border Data Flows and Trust
Data Free Flow

Organizer 1: Sophie Tomlinson, 🔒
Organizer 2: Adeniran Adedeji, Centre for the Study Economies of Africa (CSEA)
Organizer 3: Kashema Bahago, Centre for the Study Economies of Africa (CSEA)

Speaker 1: Uyoyo Edosio, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 2: Bryant Justin, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Melody Musoni, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Adeniran Adedeji, Civil Society, African Group


Bryant Justin, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Kashema Bahago, Private Sector, African Group


Sophie Tomlinson, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. How can we map out the various layers of trust necessary to create a successful sandbox, and what mechanisms can help to establish this trust?
a) among stakeholders b) in the technology c) in a convening third-party interlocutor d) in the chosen governance framework, etc.
2. Why haven’t sandboxes been implemented much in Africa outside of fintech, and how can we export the model to other sectors and use cases that impact the SDGs?
3. What are the key challenges to scaling data solutions developed in sandboxes, and what are some helpful ways to prepare for scalability while piloting?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Participants will gain:
- An introduction to sandboxes and the various forms they can take
- An understanding of the sorts of technological and policy challenges that sandboxes can resolve
- Context on the state of Africa’s digital transformation and the efforts to coordinate toward a connected future
- Various perspectives surrounding the successes and failures of sandbox initiatives that have occurred
- Concrete advice to inform sandbox implementation in any environment


Agenda 2063, the Digital Transformation Strategy, and the Data Policy Framework declare that all Africans should have the opportunity to be included in the digital economy and benefit from datafication. As Africa transitions to a single digital market under the African Continental Free Trade Area, policies and platforms that responsibly enable trust in cross-border data flows are central to extending the scale and scope of value creation.

Sandboxes are a way to accelerate the implementation of the Africa Data Policy Framework through experimentation with different regulatory and operational components toward solutions to problems faced across sectors. They can allow technology and policy development to interact in such a way that can produce a plethora of benefits. For Africa in particular, sandboxes can:

- Promote innovation generally given the provision of safe spaces for testing new ideas
- Reduce barriers to entry and promote more agile governance frameworks within and across borders
- Increase interoperability and spur the creation of continental standards and protocols to facilitate cross-border data sharing
- Identify and mitigate risks, and allow interventions to be tailored to address the most relevant harms
- Foster communities of ongoing knowledge sharing, collaboration and trust
- Bring investment and talent into countries and sectors where value is being unlocked

This roundtable will engage stakeholders in a highly practical conversation on how to measure and leverage creative solutions within sandboxes for data, especially in developing countries where data poverty and infrastructure challenges pose barriers to equitable and inclusive digital transformation. Participants will be invited to share their own best practices on how to design effective sandboxes for data that foster trust and benefit all, and how they can contribute to the Datasphere Initiative Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data, which was announced at the IGF in Addis Ababa.

Expected Outcomes

The roundtable session is expected to produce concrete learnings that will help to undergird the development of future cross-border sandbox pilots in Africa as part of the Datasphere Initiative’s Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data. This roundtable will feed into the Forum’s “Policy Dialogues” track, and participants will be invited to join the Forum to deepen their knowledge on sandboxes at the end of the session. The Forum offers a variety of ways in which participants may engage in the future.

Hybrid Format: 1. Facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees
The remote moderator will actively solicit comments and questions from online participants throughout the session. Organizers will also actively promote the session on social media.
The moderator of the workshop will give the floor to participants by the order they raise their hands, to avoid giving preference to those who are attending onsite. Onsite participants will be encouraged to interact in the chat in order to engage with the online audience.

2. Session design
The session will be an interactive discussion, weaving contributions from online and the room. Online participants will be encouraged to turn-on their videos and introduce themselves so all attendees can see who has joined the session.

3. Complementary online tools/platforms
The organizers will explore using Mentimeter, an online polling tool, to encourage online and onsite participants to answer questions and spark discussion and reactions.