Ghana : Data protection , Population census and Lunch

I was at a clients on Friday evening whilst the Ghana Census staff came in to gather their data
I noted that the census staff asked a lot more questions than i thought necessary
How many people owned mobile phone’s in the house(i suppose this is for mobile penetration numbers)
What type of roofing agent was used for the house etc

Anyways i digress this brought on a discussion about data protection laws in Ghana and if any existed .I had no conclusive information so i deferred the discussion for another time ….

Fast Forward >> to Monday Morning
Question was still on my mind so I inquired of my facebook friends

Quick question does ghana have data protection laws in Ghana ? , i ask because i wonder how census data is going to be protected

… generating quite an interesting discussion on if data protection laws were important in the African context anyways i decided to actually find information on the subject.

After some digging (well googling actually) ..apparently the government(ministry of communication) is in consultation with stakeholders on Data protection [big smile on my face]

Accra, Aug 24, GNA – Government on Tuesday initiated stakeholder consultation for the passage of Data Protection Bill (DPB) and Electronic Communications Regulations Bill (ECRB) to serve as legal instruments for the safeguarding of personal data and privacy.

The Bill provides for the protection of privacy through the regulation of information processing relating to individuals including the method by which data is obtained, held, used or disclosed.

The stakeholder consultation which was to create a platform for operators to fine-tune the bill and make it relevant to Ghana’s environment, was attended by representatives from the Judiciary, security agencies, telecom operators, media practitioners, representatives from the National Communication Authority and financial institutions

So know we just need this consultation process to be completed quickly and a bill before parliament , that would bring a bigger smile to my face

ok now its time for lunch , catch you later

  1. An interesting topic Ethel with regard not just the protection of data, but as we found out at event Conrad and I covered in London held by UKGov the question goes deeper to assimilation, distribution, protection and collation of data.

    Though you said you digressed with regard questions asked during the visit I would beg to insist this should be looked at further with regard.

    1) Which government bodies if remit went beyond the count/census were involved in preparing questions, both to assess significance of questions asked, and perhaps why opportunity was lost to gain more from this opportunity.

    2) Given that putting aside above analysis, the data in itself however crude, is and can be of relevance and therefore is there input from above parties as to the relevance of said data for benefits in governance and planning etc.

    3) As to your original direction I agree data protection is very importance but does not outweigh freedom of information which especially in Africa on the whole has been our headache for many a year.

    Thanks though for raising awareness of this topic, for having banged my head against red tape with regard data on many occasions in Ghana, especially irritating where due to lack of understanding with regard data, and hope the discussion resounds and outcomes make for a transparency we all crave.

  2. Hi Ethel,
    We just introduced a blog hosting portal focused on the growing Ghanaian online community. Please take a look. We know you already have a great blog going here but we would like you to seriously consider sharing your insights and photos with our growing online community by creating a blog on

    Best regards,

  3. We too thank you for raising the issue on this topic. The whole of Africa needs it.

    But in as much as this is a generation of easily accessible information technology. And International travel amoung Africans is greater than ever before –
    the Ignorance of the internet and information technology amoung Africans is so Detrimental to Africa’s Progress.

    Albeit most people in Africa have access to the internet, they are not accessing this information.

    Companies just get a website and are just content with that. Data protection is not even a thought.

    We are not belittling the value of having a website, because for many Africans this is an immense and important step.

    But the real world in Africa needs to know how to compulsorily interact and protect itself with the virtual world on the web. Africa’s wealth depends on it.

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