By Beatrice Mungai
Since the turn of the millennium, privacy has increasingly become a major concern within the continent. With most governments embracing technology and putting into action projects on E-governance and Digital IDs, as well as the growing interest that Western technology companies have in the continent, long gone are the days when the rhetoric was, Africa is not concerned about privacy. Unlike other cultures, African democracies are mostly viewed as collectivist, with the larger group holding more priority than the individual. This assumption has led to the deduction that in most African cultures privacy would have no place as it would be in opposition with the communal nature of the society.At the face of it, this position seems sound and many academics have stood by this. However, several authors have a different view and Africans seem to be singing a different tune.
Alex Makulilo, who is a Professor of Law at Open University of Tanzania, puts forward that Africa has been unfairly judged and perceived, without proper consideration and scrutiny of the continent’s historical and economic conditions that have affected its culture and development. He extensively discusses the role that trade during the Trans-Atlantic Trade, as well as prior to this, and colonialism had in disrupting the economic and political structures of African societies. This in turn resulted in a paradigm where post-colonial states heavily rely on their former colonizing states not only for financial assistance, but also for development assistance. Quite often, such assistance comes with conditions requiring policy changes. The effects of colonialization affected Africa’s social, economic and political structures, and independence did not improve the situation.Continue reading