HewardMills, the Data Protection Officer service provider, along with the Data Protection Commission and Cyber Security Authority (CSA) recently took part in a timely panel discussion on the growing need to strengthen data protection and cyber resilience in Africa.
On the panel was Ms. Patricia Adusei-Poku, Executive Director of the Ghana Data Protection
Commission (DPC), Ms. Jennifer Mensah, Lead for Legal and Compliance at the Ghana Cyber Security
Authority, and Mrs. Justice Helena Inkumsah-Abban (RTD), Chair of the Board of the DPC.
The panel was chaired by Dyann Heward-Mills, the CEO of HewardMills, who began by setting out
the legislative landscape for privacy and data protection in the UK, the EU, the US and Ghana; and
asked the esteemed panellists for their thoughts on how to diminish the risk of digital colonialism
and boost data protection rights and cyber capacity on the continent as the tech sector continues to
The panel covered the need for data to be retained as an asset and the culturally appropriate
execution of laws modelled on the draft General Data Protection Regulation, to ensure robust
principles are applied. They also covered online child protection, the benefits associated with
standardising national IDs in the ECOWAS region and advantages of a regional data governance and
accreditation of the cyber security workforce in Ghana and Africa generally.
Ms. Adusei-Poku explained that Ghana’s data protection laws had been largely transcribed from EU
law, as with other Commonwealth countries. She further added that Ghana was a signatory of the
Budapest Convention on cybercrime and Convention 108 on data processing and explained the ‘three Ts’ strategy underpinning the DPC’s proactive engagement with businesses on data protection in Ghana: Transparency, Trust and Transformation. She said that Ghana now has over 1000 trained data protection professionals compared to none when she took office – a phenomenal feat.
Ms. Jennifer Mensah explained how the agency was seeking to increase awareness of key risks faced
by businesses and individuals through its National Cyber Security Awareness Month and increase
expertise through accreditation of cybersecurity professionals and establishments as well as the
licensing of cybersecurity service providers.
She explained that, as a signatory of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and other international instruments, Ghana collaborates with international partners to promote the cybersecurity of the country. Ms Mensah further explained that the CSA had a child online protection division and is proactively engaged in educating the public and school children on cyber threats. The CSA also provides an incident reporting point of contact of 292 available for reporting cyber issues.
Mrs. Justice Inkumsah-Abban (RTD), Chair of the Board of the DPC, expressed concern about the
risks posed by technology to privacy and child online safety. Dyann HewardMills, CEO, HewardMills commented: “It was a real honour to chair this esteemed panel of powerful African women and be part of a broader, timely, conversation on how to advance security, privacy and data protection in Africa for the benefit of consumers and businesses alike.
As a company, HewardMills is proud to have data protection and cybersecurity practitioners in Ghana
and sees itself as a first mover on the continent.”
HewardMills, a global Data Protection Officer service that advises fast-growing tech and life science
businesses on data protection and cyber security issues was founded in the U.K. and Ireland in 2018.
Its Ghanaian roots run deep and its senior leadership team are passionate about strengthening links
with data and cyber security professionals across Africa. The global team were in Ghana celebrating
five years in business.
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