Launch of the Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data


Datasphere Initiative


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To catalyze experimentation and facilitate cross-border data flows across the continent, the Datasphere Initiative has launched the Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data.

Announced on July 12, 2023, at the Africa Law Tech Festival in Nairobi, the Forum will convene leaders in government, industry, academia, civil society, and the technical community, to build a pan-African community to enable innovative cross-border data governance solutions. 

Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the multistakeholder process will invite local, regional, and global experts to explore the ways in which regulatory and operational sandboxes could facilitate responsible unlocking of the value of data for all. 

A range of partners from across the region are joining the effort including: Centre for the Study of the Economies in Africa (CSEA), African Center for Economic Transformation, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, Lawyers Hub, Telesto Strategy, Africa Parliamentary Network on Internet GovernanceSmart Africa, African Development Bank, African Data Leadership Initiative (Digital Impact Alliance), Impact Hub Accra and Transform Health

“The recent adoption of the African Union Commission Data Policy Framework has reinforced the region’s appetite to harness a regional-wide approach to data governance. We are thrilled to launch this initiative with regional partners to experiment with innovative frameworks for responsible data sharing in Africa” said Lorrayne Porciuncula, Executive Director, Datasphere Initiative.

With a rapidly growing population of 1.4 billion people and huge growth in data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence, Africa holds great potential to be transformed by data. Yet uncertain regulatory climates, fragmented regional policy approaches, limited capacity, and investment in data ecosystems risks holding the continent back. 

The Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data will spur greater economic and social integration towards an African single digital market providing a space for capacity building, sharing of good practices, and active testing. Through a Datasphere Academy, Regulatory Roundtables, Sectoral Working Groups, and a Sandboxes Lab participants will learn, convene, ideate, and experiment around the potential of sandboxes to responsibly unlock the value of data in Africa. 

In a report launched last year, the Datasphere Initiative highlighted how Sandboxes can help bridge the gap between stakeholders and sectors by creating collaborative environments to experiment with new means of governing data through a multistakeholder approach. 

An upcoming Global Sandboxes Forum will showcase the lessons and developments from the Africa Forum, with the aim of positioning the continent as a leader and a standard-setter in digital governance.

  • Read more about the Africa Forum on Sandboxes for Data here
  • Share your interest in joining the effort as a partner or participant here
  • Watch the recording of the online kick-off workshop here

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The Datasphere Initiative is a global network of stakeholders fostering a holistic and innovative approach to data governance to build agile frameworks to responsibly unlock the value of data for all.

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