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Entry into force of the Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Data Protection



The African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection (the “Malabo Convention”) is set to enter into force after Mauritania became the 15th state to submit its ratification on May 9, 2023. This means that the Convention will enter into force on June 8, 2023.


Context of the Malabo Convention


This is an important milestone in the African continent's efforts to address cybersecurity and data protection issues. The Convention, which the AU Assembly adopted in 2014, aims to create a comprehensive legal framework for e-commerce, data protection, cybercrime and cybersecurity on the continent. Once the Malabo Convention is operational, all 55 AU Member States are required to have national laws in each of these policy areas that conform to the various standards and principles set out in the Convention.


However, it took nine years for the Convention to obtain the 15 national ratifications necessary for its entry into force, which delayed its implementation. While the convention is generally seen as a political milestone for the African continent, it has also come under criticism as a legal instrument. Concerns include that the convention lacks important detail and does not provide mechanisms to support its implementation.


Excerpt from the ECDPM weekly report.

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