African Union Commission Digital Trade Dialogue

African Union, Virtual

African Union Commission

The eTrade Alliance and the African Union Commission co-hosted a Digital Trade Dialogue on September 22nd, 2021, with African policymakers and data protection officers and leading technology companies to discuss a future regional data transfer regime for Africa, how to advance MSME ecommerce under this regime, and how to implement a robust, trade-creating African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Discussions included:

 

  • New research on the importance of data transfer issues for African MSMEs’ ecommerce;

 

  • African Union and UNECA's ongoing work to promote digital trade and MSME ecommerce in support of economic recovery;

 

  • Data transfer policies and technologies conducive to MSME ecommerce, including business and policy perspectives on models around the world; and

  • Ideas for a Data Transfer Roadmap for Africa.

Welcoming Remarks (10 minutes) 

  • John Kelley, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Mission to the African Union (USAU), and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

  • Tapiwa Cheuka, Trade Policy Officer of the African Union Commission (AUC)

 

Setting the stage: ongoing work to enable digital trade and MSMEs in ecommerce:

 

Introduction to the eTrade Alliance’s work, importance of data transfer issues for African MSMEs’ ecommerce (5 minutes) 

  • Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group and Technical Director, eTrade Alliance

 

African Union and UNECA ongoing work to promote digital trade and MSME ecommerce in support of economic recovery (15 minutes)

  • Souhila Amazouz, Senior Policy Officer, Department of Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission

  • Jamie Macleod, Trade Policy Expert and Lead on Ecommerce, UN Economic Commission for Africa

  • Mulualem Syoum, CEO, AeTrade Group

  • Moderator: Carl Manlan, Vice-President, Social Impact, CEMEA, Visa

 

Panel discussions on data use cases and policy options:

 

Panel 1: Data transfer policies and technologies conducive to MSME ecommerce: business and policy perspectives on models around the world (1 hour 15 minutes)

 

All players in ecommerce ecosystems – marketplaces, logistics providers, banks, Fintechs, and payment providers – use data to improve their customer service, innovate new services, and mitigate fraud. A growing body of research squarely sides with the notion that free exchange of data across borders lowers costs for local companies that use cloud computing services, improves customer service, promotes innovation, and fosters cybersecurity. This panel highlights concrete data use cases from a range of African businesses, and discusses policies that enable companies to access and benefit from data. This panel also discusses emerging regional data transfer regimes and privacy-preserving technology solutions around the world, in order to support African governments’ aspirations for digital trade and secure and robust digital ecosystems.
 

  • Reshma Bharmal-Shariff, Partnerships Director, Impact Projects, Ringier One Africa Media

  • Serge Ntamack, Government Affairs Director, Microsoft

  • Nono Malefane, Senior Director, CEMEA Government Engagement, Visa

  • Nigel Cory, Associate Director, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)

  • Deborah Elms, Executive Director, Asian Trade Center

  • Henning Soller, Partner, McKinsey & Company

  • Drudeisha Caullychurn-Madhub, Commissioner, Data Protection Office, Mauritius

  • Mamoudou Niane, Director of Legal Affairs Personal Data Protection Commission, Senegal

  • Moderator: Kati Suominen, Founder and CEO, Nextrade Group

Panel 2: Data Transfer Roadmap for Africa (1 hour 15 minutes)

 

This panel reflects on the prior panels and discusses data transfer models conducive to MSME ecommerce and digital economy in Africa, and the processes by which optimal models could be adopted and implemented.   

 

  • Alastair Tempest, CEO, E-Commerce Forum Africa

  • Alison Gillwald, Executive Director, Research ICT Africa

  • Deborah James, Director of International Programs, Center for Economic and Policy Research

  • Michael Muchiri Murungi, Government Affairs & Public Policy Lead for Eastern Africa, Google

  • George Owuor, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa Public Policy, Mastercard

  • Olufemi Daniel, Lead, Data Regulations Monitoring and Compliance, National IT Development Agency, Nigeria

  • Moderator: Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director, TRALAC

 

Open dialogue and reflections on next steps (15 minutes)

African Union
Virtual Event
September 22nd, 2021
Bring together policymakers, regulators, and leading technology companies to discuss a future regional data transfer regime for Africa, how to advance MSME ecommerce, and promoting an African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Policymakers, regulators, leading technology and ecommerce ecosystem companies
African Union Commission
Country
Target Audience
Objective
Dates
Program Type
Partners