It is now widely recognised that the unregulated processing of personal information has had a significant impact on key human rights like privacy, dignity, integrity, personality and autonomy. However, while other regions of the world have taken concerted action to protect the personal rights of individuals by adopting data protection instruments, Africa has generally lagged behind. This is so in spite of the steady growth in access to and usage of ICT and the internet which has facilitated the exploitation of individuals' personal information with the attendant risk of infringement of their rights. An important step to change this situation was taken when African leaders in June 2014, agreed to a landmark Convention on data protection. This Convention has provoked mixed reactions from stakeholders and privacy advocates. While some are sceptical as to the effectiveness of this Convention, others have welcomed it as a cause for celebration of human rights on the continent. This paper assesses the potential impact this Convention will have on the protection of individual's personal data.
This article was originally presented at the 7th International Conference on Information Law and Ethics (ICIL) that was held at the University of Pretoria, South Africa on 22-23 February 2016.