Data Governance & Trust
Cross-border Data Flows and Trust
Data Free Flow
Data Localization, Data Residency, and Data Sovereignty
Data Privacy and Protection

Organizer 1: Susan Waweru, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner - Kenya
Organizer 2: Sumaiyah Omar, Lawyers Hub
Organizer 3: Boniface Gathee, Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

Speaker 1: Kassait Immaculate, Government, African Group
Speaker 2: Ridwan Oloyede , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 3: Rosemary Koech, Civil Society, African Group


Mwenda Gitonga, Government, African Group

Online Moderator

Boniface Gathee, Government, African Group


Sumaiyah Omar, Civil Society, African Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

A. How can we promote data free flow in Africa in the context of the various national data protection laws and the AfCFTA?
B. What proposals can be developed to enhance Africa's effective engagement in digital trade and data free flow with its various trading partners?
C. What solutions can African countries develop and adopt to promote the nexus between data sovereignty and data free flows?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The session will refine the participants' understanding of the African perspective on data free flow with trust from the government perspective, private sector practice, academic thesis and civil society concerns. The session will also illuminate African positions on digital trade and data transfers particularly in the operationalization of AfCFTA. The conversation will also provide a landscape view regarding the opportunities available for digital trade capacity building and the promotion of data subject rights against the backdrop of the DFFT concept.
The session will also strengthen the African perspective on DFFT by identifying emerging issues affecting the continent and making concrete recommendations on what should and could be done. Finally, the conversations happening around data free flow in Africa shall be brought to par with the global narrative.


To date, 36 out of 54 African countries have passed or are in the process of passing data protection laws. These laws set out different governance mechanisms for data transfer outside of the respective jurisdictions. For instance, countries have opposing viewpoints on cross-border data flows, typically hovering between values of data privacy, national security and economic interests. This increasingly conflicting maze of rules, principles and norms has led to a trust deficit among digital economy stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the passing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and the digitization of African economies has created a unique opportunity for the commencement of conversations around the importance of free flow of data for digital trade and what that means in light of the various data protection laws.
This session is meant to facilitate a pan African multi-stakeholder discourse on the concept and implementation of Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) in line with the OECD initiative led by Japan. The idea of DFFT is to counteract the balkanization of data governance fostering a more trusted and interoperable global governance system that enables cross-border data flows.
The panel shall bring together government, civil society, private sector and academia in Africa. The diversity of the panellists emanates from their various activities as champions of data free flow with trust in Africa thus enriching the global conversation. The session will help identify emerging trust issues, strengthen and enhance engagement on linking the AfCFTA to data governance and help develop a pan African narrative on data free flow with trust.

Expected Outcomes

1. Follow Up Events: Regional dialogues with various partners and stakeholders such as NADPA, African Data Protection Authorities, AU-EU D4D Hub to further continue with the discourse on this subject.
2. Session report as baseline to conduct further research and publication on the concept of data free flow with trust from an African perspective.
3. Catalyze the discussion on the adoption of data free flow solutions to be implemented in Africa. Such as development of standard contractual clauses.

Hybrid Format: To increase online participation, organizers will distribute via different platforms and communication channels the information about the panel discussion and how participants can join the Official Online Participation Platform. At least 15 minutes will be reserved for a Q&A session, and the moderator will ensure that participants have equal opportunities to contribute. A note-taker will summarize the key points on a virtual whiteboard for online participants and regularly post polls in the chat for a “temperature check” on key issues and the system will be tested at least two times to check the quality of connectivity.

Online interaction in this session will be facilitated by incorporating in real-time the thoughts and questions of the audience expressed in writing in the chat of the online platform provided for the session.

Usage of online polling tool and an online whiteboard to engage audience to gather inputs for session.