Energising Africa's Digital Economy: Cross-Border Data Flows and the African Continental FTA


Kyle de Klerk


The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest free trade agreement in the world by number of members and geographical area covered. It spans 54 African countries, 2 with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.5 trillion and 1 billion consumers. Although initial trading under the agreement officially commenced in 2021, there are still ongoing negotiations on several outstanding protocols. 

This issue of Trade Hot Topics provides an overviewof the ongoing debate regarding cross-border data flows and their restriction. It examines this debate in light of Africa’s digital needs and explores how cross-border data flows are regulated in the multilateral
trading system and other large regional trade agreements, as well as by different African countries. It concludes with some recommendations for the negotiations on the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol.



10 July 2023

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