Workshop N° 6: International Transfers of Personal Data and International Co-operation


As part of the series of online workshops around personal data protection launched by the Council of Europe in support of the Network of African Data Protection Authorities, the sixth workshop about «International Transfers of Personal Data and International Co-operation " will take place on 07 April 2021.


Common to every country in the world, is the flow of personal data across borders. Data flows have a vital role in modern digitally connected societies helping to foster social and economic progress, from eCommerce and finance, to health care, to social media and instant messaging services, to apps for news and apps just for fun. It is vital that while data flows support innovation and progress, risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals are appropriately considered and safeguarded.


While 145 countries have adopted data protection laws not all of these provide for their territorial scope, international transfers of personal data, adequacy of other countries data protection laws, or international co-operation in an equivalent or interoperable manner. Moreover, not every country that has adopted a data protection law has established an independent data protection authority.


32 African countries have so far adopted data protection laws with at least currently five further countries progressing draft data protection bills. These developments are shaped by national, regional and international data protection frameworks and by digital economy policy objectives and initiatives, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Cross border transfers are of vital importance in many ways across the continent of Africa and beyond.


This workshop seeks to explore key challenges, issues and considerations related to the transfers of personal data between African countries and beyond the continent of Africa. The workshop will also explore the status of co-operation between African data protection authorities (DPAs) and between those authorities and DPAs in other regions.


The workshop will ask what is working well? How can key concerns and challenges be best addressed? For example, are there opportunities for strengthening co-operation on developing best practice on international transfers - from risk-based criteria and standards to tools for ensuring transfers achieve an appropriate level of protection (through model contracts or risk assessments and audit mechanisms?). Can and should African DPAs rely on the cross-border transfer standards of other regions? How can DPAs best co-operate on enforcing rights and freedoms across borders? These are some of the topics the workshop will explore.


Below is the workshop program:


GMT +1

7 April 2021


Opening session – Welcoming remarks and workshop goals

Marguerite Ouedraogo Bonane, Chair of the African Network of Data Protection Authorities and President of the CIL, Burkina Faso Sophie Kwasny, Head of the Data Protection Unit, Council of Europe


Setting the scene

Patrick Walshe (Privacy Matters) and Sylvia Appiah (Information Governance Solutions), Council of Europe lead experts


Harmonising Data Protection laws across Africa – benefits for international transfers and co-operation


Intervention by Patricia Adusei-Poku, Executive Director at the Data Protection Commission, Ghana


Cross-border transfers: law and reality, examples from Kenya


Intervention by Awa Ndiaye, President of the Commission for the Protection of Personal Data, Senegal


An appropriate level of protection in international transfers of personal data & regulatory co-operation.


Intervention by Drudeisha Madhub, Data Protection Commissioner of the Data Protection Office, Mauritius


Illustration of the cooperation between DPAs.

Chawki Gaddes, President of the National Authority for the Protection of Personal Data (INPDP), Tunisia. Discussion on a concrete example of a memorandum of understanding established between the INPDP and a European Data Protection Authority.


Comments and open discussions between Participants

Facilitated by the Council of Europe lead experts, Patrick Walshe and Sylvia Appiah


End of workshop