President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday signed into law a bill to regulate collection, retrieval, processing, storage, use and disclosure of personal data.
The move was commended by the cloud computing arm of Amazon, which announced that the law paves the way for associated investments that will enable Nairobi join other global cities as an edge location.
This means the capital will host a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds.
The new data law, following President Kenyatta's signing of Data Protection Bill, 2019, establishes the office of the data commissioner and sets out requirements for protection of personal data processed by both public and private entities.
It outlines key principles that will govern data processing, sets out rights of data subjects and assigns duties to data controllers and data processors.
It also sets out conditions for the transfer of personal data outside Kenya and outlines data handling offences and attendant penalties.
The Act further provides for the exemptions to processing of data.
President Kenyatta signed the bill at State House in Nairobi in the presence of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, majority leader Aden Duale, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Attorney-General Paul Kihara and State House Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi.
Separately, he met visiting executives of Amazon Web Services (AWS), an enterprise of American e-commerce giant Amazon that offers cloud computing services, led by Vice President Teresa Carlson.
During the meeting, a follow-up to one that took place when the President visited Washington in 2018, the AWS VP congratulated President Kenyatta on the law and informed him of Amazon's plans to set up an "edge location" in Nairobi.
An edge location is where end users access services located on AWS, a site that CloudFront uses to cache copies of content for faster delivery to users in any location.
Mr Kenyatta welcomed the establishment of an edge location and assured that Kenya has the requisite infrastructure and a young, educated population that will benefit from the business opportunities and jobs that will be created.
“I am delighted to welcome AWS’s investment in Kenya. The launch of Amazon CloudFront will put us in the forefront of accelerated innovation, enabling start-ups, enterprises and our government agencies to focus on building the best user experience,” he said.
“Kenya is an innovator in digital financial services in Africa. Having advanced cloud infrastructure in the country will support our ability to flourish as a nation and reach our potential as one of Africa’s fastest growing digital economies.”
The Head of State noted that Amazon's investment will help strengthen Kenya’s position as a regional business hub.
“This is key for us especially now that we are going digital in almost everything. We are currently building the digital infrastructure. We welcome any support we can get from you,” he told the team.
Ms Carlson said her organisation will also provide training in digital skills and help create quality jobs for the youth in Kenya.
Benefits of the edge location include giving businesses and web application developers an easy and cost effective way to distribute data housed in Kenya to thousands of users with low latency and high data transfer speeds.
The service will allow businesses quick and reliable access to their information, which improves the quality of internet to the end user and help reduce the cost of transferring data.