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Mauritius first in Africa to sign Convention 108

Mauritius first in Africa to sign Convention 108.

In a move that could lead to a widespread adoption of a global initiative in Africa, Mauritius has ratified the Convention for the protection of individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, also known as "Convention 108".

The East African country is the first on the continent and second non-European state - after Uruguay in 2013 - to sign the treaty, the only existing international agreement which safeguards the protection of personal data.

Several African countries have been working on national initiatives to ensure data protection, though with slight variances. Citing increased online insecurities, Ghana launched its data protection commission to provide citizens with access to their personal information and exercise their right to amend it. Similar initiatives include Kenya's Data Protection Bill and South Africa's Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act.

Implemented by the Council of Europe (CoE), Convention 108 links 49 affiliate state parties, including Mauritius - after accession documents were deposited by the country's Privacy Commissioner, Drudeisha Madhub.

It is the only binding global standard to provide legal certainty and predictability in international personal data transfers.

It complements national initiatives with additional protocols including that which requires each party to establish an independent authority to ensure compliance with data protection principles and rules governing transborder data flows.

CoE notes that Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia have also been invited to accede to the treaty, along with Cape Verde, which has also taken similar action.

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