Mauritania submitted on May 9, 2023, the draft ratification of the Malabo Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection. It thus becomes the 15th State to have ratified the convention. The ratification is expected to enter into force on June 8, 2023.
This advance by Mauritania marks an important step in the African continent's efforts to resolve cybersecurity and data protection issues. The Convention, which the Assembly of the UA 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, the 55 AU Member States are mandated to have national laws in each of these policy areas that are consistent with the various standards and principles set out in the Convention.
The Convention has generally been seen as an important political milestone for the African continent, it has also attracted criticism as a legal instrument. Points of concern include that the Convention lacks important details and does not provide mechanisms to support its implementation.