Exploring the Intersection of Criminal Justice and Technology at the Africa Law Tech Festival

By Mercy Tania

On July 11, the Criminal Justice Club members embarked on a remarkable journey of discovery as they attended the Africa Law Tech Festival, a gathering of thought leaders, professionals, and students from over 20 African countries. The theme of the Festival, "Digital Trade in Africa: The AfCFTA and the Single Digit Market," offered a captivating insight into the evolving intersection between technology and the field of Criminal Justice.

This annual event, hosted at the Sarit Expo Center, proved to be the largest Law & Tech Conference in Africa, drawing more than 2000 delegates to explore the implications of digital trade on the continent. The festival's multifaceted approach to conferencing provided a unique platform for our club members to actively engage in meaningful conversations with experts and thought leaders. We found ourselves immersed in discussions on how technology significantly influences our daily lives and the urgent need for robust rules and regulations to govern its usage, not only in Kenya but across all African nations.

A particularly vital aspect of the Festival centered on digital policy themes, reflecting a commitment to address the rapidly evolving tech landscape in Africa. It emphasized the importance of driving new innovations and informing policy-making processes on the continent, a crucial endeavor in the age of digital transformation. Despite being a Criminal Justice Club, we were pleasantly surprised by the Festival’s multidisciplinary nature, as it provided valuable opportunities for students from various academic disciplines. Those focusing on majors such as International Business Administration, Software Engineering, International Relations, and Information Systems Technology discovered how their fields intersect with law and technology.

The event served as an eye-opener, igniting new interests in combining disciplines and broadening horizons within the Criminal Justice field. The benefits extended beyond our academic pursuits, as the Africa Law Tech Festival also provided a glimpse into potential job opportunities in different organizations. We had the privilege of interacting with representatives from the Office of the Data Protection Office, who shared valuable insights into available job opportunities within their offices. It was a valuable experience for all club members, regardless of their majors, as it highlighted the diverse career paths available in the legal and tech sectors.

The Festival's discussions delved into pivotal questions shaping Africa's digital landscape. Participants explored harmonizing legal frameworks for a single digital market while safeguarding consumer rights, balancing data governance and privacy with innovation, enforcing intellectual property rights in the digital space, strengthening cybersecurity for secure transactions, and implementing inclusive strategies to bridge the digital divide and offer equal opportunities in the digital market. These conversations highlighted the significance of the intersection between law and technology, leaving attendees with a deeper understanding of the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead in the digital era.

The event was a catalyst for new opportunities, expanding our interest in the fields of law and technology. It reinforced the significance of staying abreast of technological advancements in the criminal justice field, and we left the festival empowered to contribute meaningfully to the future of law and technology in Africa.

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