The Africa Law Tech Festival was held from 6th to 11th March and brought together stakeholders from the law and technology spheres. The festival which included a conference, awards, hackathon, academy and concert was hosted by the Lawyers Hub with the support of the Omidyar Network.
The aim of the conference was to unite the law and technology thought leaders from across the continent to discuss Africa’s place in the rapidly changing global technology landscape. It also sought to create a space where conversations around policy issues in emerging technologies and the role of tech in promoting the rule of law, access to justice and law reforms were held.
The festival featured a variety of speakers from across the continent with expertise ranging from public policy to fintech, data protection and artificial intelligence. Just in case you are suffering from a serious case of FOMO, here is how the festival went down:
The academy was held at the Sarit Center and featured conversations surrounding data protection and privacy, democracy and technology, intellectual property, digital identity and artificial intelligence. There were interesting perspectives from Privacy international, Center for Democracy and Technology, Mozilla, Africa legal Network, Center for Intellectual Property and Information Technology (CIPIT) and many more. Liz Lenjo, an intellectual property lawyer also gave a thought-provoking viewpoint on consent.
The global legal hackathon was held on the second day and was hosted by Lawyers hub, in partnership with the Omidyar Network, HiiL and Moringa School. The hackathon had begun with nominations which took place between 15th February and 25th February. Thereafter the participants presented their pitches to the judges who chose the best three.
Ruby the Mediator won the Nairobi chapter of the hackathon. They had presented a simulation game that helped users understand the mediation process, therefore, reducing the backlog in the judiciary and improving access to justice.
They were announced as winners in the Law Tech Concert.
The concert was held on day three. It was a fun-packed family affair and featured musicians who entertained the crowd in different genres of music, ranging from jazz to soul, spoken word and Genge medley. Dubbed #OnlineSafetyForHer, it was held to celebrate International Women’s Day. It sought to demystify digital rights for women considering the growing cases of violence against women and sexual minorities through technology. Issues such as revenge porn, stalking, surveillance, cyberbullying and general online harassment were highlighted.
The Africa law tech Conference was held on day four of the festival at the Radisson Blu hotel in Upperhill Nairobi. The conference brought together thought leaders, tech gurus and public policy experts from the government and private sector. One of the takeaways at the conference was coming up with a policy co-creation brief that focused on the law tech landscape. It was very interesting to see how ideas from different people came to life. For this exercise, participants were divided into four groups tasked to tackle topics on Taxing the digital economy, Digital Identity and Data Governance, Migration Policies and Artificial Intelligence, and come up with policy briefs.
Day five saw us tackle the future of technology in law. Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Noordin Haji recognized the importance of technology in economic and social development. He said that technology is a great tool in creating justice to all, only if used responsibly. Mr Irungu Houghton from Amnesty Kenya emphasised on the importance of data protection, data privacy and democratic participation. James Wamathai from Bloggers Association of Kenya spoke on strategic litigation and the steps that BAKE has taken in ensuring the constitution is upheld.
As the Law tech festival grew to a close, it was emphasized that it is important to simplify the issue of digital rights to ensure that every person can understand and participate easily. Also, it was noted that there was a need for tech practitioners, lawyers and individuals to convene at such events as law and technology could not exist without each other.
Image courtesy of Africa Law Tech.