What if a wall could restore degrading land or save biodiversity? Imagine that it stretched from Senegal to Djibouti, was about three times the size of the Great Barrier Reef, and made entirely of trees and vegetation. With an influx of funding from a coalition of international development banks and governments, that wall is one step closer to becoming reality.

In 2007, the African Union launched the Great Green Wall initiative, as part of Declaration 137 VIII. The goal was to restore Africa’s degraded landscape by planting vegetation about 10 miles wide and over 4,000 miles long in the Sahel region, at the southern edge of the Sahara desert.  The goal has since evolved to address not only degradation, but land use, peacebuilding, and climate change. Continue Reading Africa’s Great Green Wall

In Episode 12 of our Inside Privacy Audiocast, together with special guest Advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, we discussed the Information Regulator’s mandate, and the implementation of data protection legislation in South Africa.  Now, with less than a month to go before South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (“POPIA”) is set to go into full effect on July 1, 2021, it is critical for organizations operating in South Africa to ensure that they are ready if and when the Information Regulator comes knocking.

It is only when organizations start their POPIA journey that they realize just how wide the POPIA net is cast, and that very few businesses fall outside of its reach.  The road to POPIA compliance should be viewed as a marathon, and not a sprint.  While implementing and maintaining an effective POPIA compliance program will take continued effort and resources well beyond the July 1, 2021 go-live date, here we outline five steps to which companies subject to POPIA should give their attention in the short term. Continue Reading Final Countdown to POPIA Compliance – Five Critical Steps to Take Before July 1st, 2021

Can African governments head off a sustained spike in the spread of COVID-19 and recover economically in 2021? How will the Biden administration engage the continent? Will companies implement more effective due diligence efforts in their supply chains to prevent human rights abuses? What impact will efforts to battle corruption and mitigate climate change have in the coming year? Covington’s Africa Practice offers insights on these questions and other key issues that will define 2021 on the continent.

COVID-19 Recovery: Since Africa confirmed its first COVID-19 case in February 2020, every country has been affected, leading to over 100 million cases and two million deaths. The World Health Organization applauded African governments for their swift responses which curtailed wide-spread infections but contributed to the region’s first economic recession in twenty-five years. Over the last month, Africa has been hit hard by a second wave of COVID-19. Daily case rates have increased to almost twice the rates in July and August 2020, prompting South Africa, among other nations, to re-impose severe measures aimed at preventing deaths. Continue Reading Top Issues to Watch in Africa: 2021

Recently, there has been a significant level of attention given to data protection and privacy matters on the Continent, and in the just the past year, we have seen new laws proposed or enacted in places like Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and of course South Africa, although prior to that, places like Morocco, Ghana and Mali sought fit to regulate in this space, passing their own data protection laws. In 2014, the African Union adopted its convention on cybersecurity and data protection, which 14 countries have signed, and a number have ratified. As things currently stand, nearly half the countries making up the region have enacted comprehensive data privacy laws. The data protection landscape in Africa is a fascinating place, reflecting some interesting trends.

Today’s episode is Part II of our “View from Johannesburg” series and features Dan Cooper and Robert Kayihura. Click here to view Part I of our series and download our Key Takeaways from the episode.

Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast offers insights into topical global privacy issues and trends. Subscribe to our Inside Privacy Blog to receive notifications on new episodes.

A growing number of African countries have begun to ease COVID-19 related regulatory restrictions. Some countries, such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Senegal resumed international flights in August, while other countries like South Africa and Nigeria are only now opening their borders. For a continent that slipped into recession for the first time in a quarter century due to the pandemic, the reopening is a welcome step toward restoring economic growth across Africa.

This is a significant development considering the swift action that many African governments took in the early days of the pandemic. Many African nations introduced some of the world’s most stringent regulations that placed restrictions on the movement of people domestically and halted international travel from high-risk areas, including Asia, Europe, and the United States. The World Health Organization has praised Africa’s coronavirus response, attributing it to the significant decrease in infection rates over the past few months. Given the relatively low number of infections, a number of government’s across the continent have begun easing COVID-19 related restrictions and re-opening economies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control, the number of daily confirmed cases has been on the decline for about two months, with the continent accounting for just under 5 percent of cases globally and 3.6 percent of deaths, from a population of more than one billion people. Continue Reading African governments ease COVID-19 restrictions and reopen economies

On June 22, 2020, the South African President announced that certain provisions of POPIA would take effect on July 1, provisions which most regard as essential to the statute, such as those imposing conditions on the lawful processing of personal information, procedures for handling complaints, and general enforcement provisions. Only days later, the South African Information Regulator issued his own statement welcoming the coming into force of these crucial provisions, including those giving the regulator the power to impose administrative fines of up to 10 million ZAR (or over 500,000 Euros). Although there will be a 12-month grace period, organizations subject to the law are acting now.

Today’s episode is Part I of our “View from Johannesburg” series, and features Dan Cooper, Shivani Naidoo and Ahmed Mokdad.

View our Key Takeaways from the episode.

Covington’s Inside Privacy Audiocast offers insights into topical global privacy issues and trends. Subscribe to our Inside Privacy Blog to receive notifications on new episodes.

 

South Africa Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

On September 16, 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 of Risk Adjusted Strategy as of midnight on September 20, 2020. This is in part in response to the relatively low levels of infections and the government led interventions to combat the spread of COVID-19. While South Africa has confirmed over 650,000 infections and has suffered 15,000 deaths, recent data illustrates that the number of new cases has substantially decreased—from nearly 14,000 new daily cases on July 24, 2020 at its peak, to just 1,555 new cases on September 20.

This announcement comes a few days after the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) announced the extension of the national state of disaster from 15 September 2020 to 15 October 2020, as published in Government Gazette 43713. The reason for the extension of the national state of disaster is to grant government the authority required to continue updating existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken to address the impact of the pandemic. Continue Reading South Africa Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

In a recent client alert, we explored the U.S. Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) June 2020 update to its guidance on Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (the “DOJ Guidance”).

In this series of posts, our Africa Anti-Corruption Practice will be focusing on the key takeaways from the DOJ Guidance through the lens of companies operating in Africa, starting with a foundational question: Why does guidance issued by U.S. law enforcement authorities matter to companies operating in Africa?

Strictly speaking, the DOJ Guidance does not “require” anything of companies, regardless of where they are headquartered, incorporated, or operate. Even for U.S. companies, the DOJ Guidance is not a prescriptive regulation with the force of law. Rather, it is a guidance document that is “meant to assist [U.S.] prosecutors in making informed decisions as to whether, and to what extent, [a] corporation’s compliance program was effective at the time of [an] offense, and is effective at the time of a charging decision or resolution.” This evaluation by prosecutors can impact various aspects of a DOJ enforcement action, including the form of resolution (e.g., guilty plea vs. deferred prosecution agreement), the monetary penalty imposed, and other compliance-related obligations imposed in a settlement (e.g., self-reporting requirements or independent compliance monitorships). Continue Reading Africa Compliance Minute Series – What Does DOJ’s Recent Guidance on Compliance Programs Mean for Companies Operating in Africa?

In a recent contribution to the CovAfrica blog, our Africa Anti-Corruption Practice outlined key considerations for handling internal investigations in Africa.  Here we take a deeper dive into one of the most important, and challenging, aspects of internal investigations – remediation, drawing on a longer article we recently published in Global Investigations Review’s 2020 Europe, Middle East, and Africa Investigations Review.

Key Takeaways:

  • Taking corrective action during the course of an investigation can put a swift end to any ongoing misconduct and help a company avoid further losses or liability.
  • A company will often have enough information early in its investigation to take steps to mitigate the risk of continued harm to the company.
  • Promptly investigating and addressing identified risks can help to narrow the scope of the investigation and save a company time and money.

Continue Reading Africa Compliance Minute Series – Acting Early to Save You Later: The Importance of Taking Corrective Action During the Course of an Investigation

On August 15, 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) announced the extension of the national state of disaster. The national state of disaster was declared under Government Gazette No 43096 of 15 March 2020 (and extended by Government Gazette Nos 646 of June 5, 2020 and 765 of July 13, 2020), from August 15, 2020 to September 15, 2020. The reason for the extension of the national state of disaster is linked to the need “to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”. On the same day, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a decision to transition the country from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 of the Risk Adjusted Strategy, following consultation with the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet and the President’s Coordinating Council.

Government Gazette No. 43620 sets out the revised restrictions that will govern this period effective 00H01 on August 18, 2020. The following restrictions have been lifted: Continue Reading South Africa Eases COVID-19 Restrictions with the Transition to Alert Level 2