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Ethiopia parliament okays data protection legislation as digital ID efforts ramp up

Ethiopia parliament okays data protection legislation as digital ID efforts ramp up

A piece of legislation which sets out a robust legal template for data protection in Ethiopia has got the nod of the country’s federal House of Representatives.

According to local media reports, the Personal Data Protection Proclamation (PDPP) was passed on April 4.

Ethiopia’s National ID Program (NIDP) hailed the move in a post on X, calling it “an important step” that sets up the country on the part of better safeguarding the data privacy of citizens and ensuring international compliance as it looks to swell up its digital ID issuance numbers.

TV Brics reports, citing a partner media organ, that the legislation was examined and approved during the 20th session of the House of People’s representative.

The House’s Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, Employment and Technological Affairs, which played a headline role in the process, emphasized the important of the legislation especially at a time when the country is in the fast lane of its digital ID and digital transformation drive.

The PDPP was sent to parliament for review last October by cabinet after it okayed the document during its 25th regular session, Fana Broadcasting Corporation recalls. The legislation also got inputs from the public and other important stakeholders.

After lengthy discussions, the Proclamation was approved by a majority vote of legislators present, who recognized the pertinence of the legislation and how it will go a long way in instilling a culture of responsible data collection and processing.

The document is designed to mitigate the risk of personal data breaches in the country. It includes a number of important features such as mechanisms to ensure the protection of individual and data subject rights. The PDPP also outlines measures in relation to data collection, storage and processing obligations, limitations on data collection and use, data controller obligations, data security measures, and cross-border transfer of personal data, among other aspects.

Ethiopia’s personal data protection Proclamation comes in at a time when the country is bent on issuing more digital IDs to all categories of citizens. A tender for “procurement of printing service” for the national digital ID, Fayda, launched recently by the government closes on April 10.

One of the groups of people receiving the Ethiopia Fayda digital ID are refugees, with the government recently announcing that 1.1 million digital IDs will be issued to them in the next year.

The deputy Director General of the Refugees and Returnee Service (RRS), Biruhtesfah Mulugeta reiterated, as cited by ENA, that the digital ID is to facilitate the way these forcibly displaced persons get access to important social and economic services. The official explained that the refugee digital ID is different from the national ID, and is linked to the government refugee management system.

Ethiopia started issuing the refugee digital ID earlier this year.

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