African Union

Symposium on the Economic Impacts of Data Localisation in Africa: Data Localisation in Kenya: Potential Economic Impact and Effect on Kenya's Commitments in Various Regional Treaty Frameworks

Kenya should consider the impact of strict data localization measures on digital trade. Kenya should also sign and ratify the Malabo convention before requiring other countries to do so as a means of meeting the adequacy requirement its data protection regulations proposes. This action will signify Kenya’s commitment to intra-African partnership and will enhance cooperation in the continent. In addition, Kenya should consider concluding reciprocal (bilateral) data protection agreements with specific countries to promote trade as it settles its broader international and regional treaty framework position.

Symposium on the Economic Impacts of Data Localisation in Africa: The Economic Impact of Data Localisation Policies on Nigeria's Regional Trade Obligations

The unrestricted movement of data is a key enabler of the digital economy. However, the development of data protection and data localisation policies is becoming one major area of concern for international trade and investment. Among the mechanisms for protecting individuals is data localisation. This requires that data or a copy thereof (both personal and non-personal) should only be stored and processed locally and should not be exported for processing. The import of this, for instance, is that all data generated within Nigeria must be confined to the boundaries of Nigeria, effectively restricting the flow of data. While localisation of data has significant economic and social benefits, it is also associated with several unintended (negative) consequences, especially from an economic perspective. This is especially true for developing countries like Nigeria that is moving towards greater data localisation with several policies skewed in that direction. This contribution briefly examines the implications of Nigeria’s increasing move towards data localisation on its regional obligations for the promotion of free trade in Africa.

Symposium on the Economic Impacts of Data Localisation in Africa: Personal Data Protection and Economic Integration: Options for AfCFTA Negotiators

Rules on cross-border data flows are no exception to this general trend. Moreover, given that the WTO rulebook was mostly written in the 1990s prior to the rise of the data driven economy, multilateral trade rules by and large do not regulate cross-border data flows, a fact which has contributed to rules on this front – demand for which has only increased as economies have become more data intensive – being set nationally and even sub-nationally, but also regionally, and in PTAs and FTAs. At the same time, trends such as the rise of what is often referred to as ‘surveillance capitalism’ has brought the issue of personal data protection on privacy grounds into sharper focus around the world. With this background context in place, this essay looks at the intersection of economic integration and personal data protection with a view to informing ongoing debates on what AfCFTA rules on cross-border data flows might look like.

Symposium on the Economic Impacts of Data Localisation in Africa: Introduction

The limit of cross border flow of personal data is broadly referred to as data localisation and is often justified based on five main concerns. These include the protection of personal data, access to data by local law enforcement, ensuring national security, advancing local economic competitiveness and levelling the regulatory playing field. However, a closer look at these justifications reveal the impact of data localisation on free trade, increase in transaction costs and the efficiency of corporations, stifling of innovation, and hampering of economic growth. With global data flows raising global GDP, it is necessary to ask, what policy trade-offs are necessary to balance the legitimate concerns of countries against the unintended consequences that the impact of data localisation causes? There are four issues relating to the economic impacts of data localisation that emerging regulation in Africa needs to address. These are data ownership and its value, competition, trade, and foreign direct investment.

Matteo Grilli and Frank Gerits (eds.), Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020)

The new collection Visions of African Unity edited by Matteo Grilli and Frank Gerits is very welcome. Pan-Africanism and African unity are highly significant in the modern history of the continent, yet have too rarely received the sustained academic attention they deserve. The editors have done well to establish a diverse set of contributors from Africa, Europe and America, with specialisms in history, law, and international relations. The subject is a broad one, and the chapters reflect this. Many of them are highly engaging and informative and will be of value to scholars interested in the particular facets covered as well as in the broader subject

Review: Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects

The edited volume Visions of African Unity. New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects (palgrave macmillan, 2021) by Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds), is an ambitious and welcome publication on varying but complimentary aspects of Pan-Africanism in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book´s forte lies not only in its historical approach to the topic at hand but also in the bringing together of current research angles on matters of African unity, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the later African Union (AU). Also, the diverse set of contributing authors in terms of geography (Africa, Europe, USA), professional backgrounds, and gender makes this publication a welcome read.

Book Review of Grilli M and Gerits F. Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and the African Unification Project. Palgrave Macmillan (2020) 435pp.

The chapters present a broad lens for understanding how historical conditions have mediated and moderated the business of uniting the peoples of Africa. Issues such as ideological cleavages, trade union politics, interference of external actors in domestic politics, perceptions of civil society and cultural actors on African unification, and transnational institution building in post-colonial Africa are some of points analysed in this book.

Book Symposium Introduction: Visions of African Unity: New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects

This edited volume explores continental and international visions of African unity. Continental integration had many different iterations beyond the OAU and it is therefore approached by contributors not only as a political project, but also as an ideology, a cultural marker and a legal issue. This collection is also a discussion of the place of African unity within the international system, a topic that is underreached despite the archives revealing how officials in the Global North struggled to understand the pan-African and pan-Arab challenges to international relations.