Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) Director General, Daud Suleman, has acknowledged the critical need to develop national data protection laws to align them with international regulatory frameworks, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The laws will safeguard the rights of citizens from exploitation.
Suleman made the remarks during the 5th Digital Financial Inclusion Public-Private Dialogue organized by Comesa Business Council (CBC) held on Tuesday in Lilongwe under the theme: Digital Financial Inclusion for MSMEs in Comesa: Towards operationalization of Regional Digital Retail Payments Scheme.
He said, there are basic laws and conventions that as Malawi need to have in place like the data protection act to protect people including the MSMEs.
“This act is very important because it will ensure that citizens data, their identities become protected such that none can come into the country to exploit the data that belongs to Malawians for other uses,” he said.
Through ongoing efforts, he said, they are enhancing the legislative framework to provide a robust foundation for data protection, enforcement, and accountability.
Suleman said: “By aligning with global best practices, they foster trust in digital transactions, enable cross-border data flows, and ensure responsible data practices among businesses, thus promoting the commissioning of the digital retail payments platform within the COMESA region.”
He added that another piece of legislation that as a country need to put in place is the cyber crime as it is now growing very fast.
Suleman said the growth of digital space cannot be stopped such that countries like Malawi is a member of the global village where things have gone digital and therefore need laws that support digital transformation.
As a country, he said, there is need to be part of new standards of doing things where it can be in line with other nations in the digital space.
Commenting on the theme the Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Teddy Soobramanien, said there is need for governments to adopt the digital retail payments scheme in order to achieve digital financial inclusion in the region.
The retail payment scheme is a powerful tool to empower individuals and businesses in the Comesa region, he said.