Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told the heads of African constitutional and supreme courts and constitutional councils that constitutions should always be reviewed and updated to keep up with challenges affecting the fast-changing world.
In a speech Saturday during the virtual preparatory meeting Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) hosted ahead of the fifth high-level African Constitutional Conference, El-Sisi asked participating parties to discuss the challenges that face the continent and to work collectively to set joint constitutional rules to support visions.
He said the meeting is meant to bring African judicial bodies under one umbrella.
El-Sisi added that the status quo forces African countries to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic, adding that the digital transformation requires regulating the legal framework to manage cybersecurity and social media platforms.
“The status quo requires us to think collectively in dealing with emerging challenges from the pandemic from a legal and constitutional perspective, and other traditional challenges, led by cooperation for combating terrorism as an obstacle for development and stability,” he said.
Combating terrorism, therefore, requires contributions through constitutional law mechanisms to eliminate imminent threats, especially amid efforts to make Africa a unified and harmonious continent, he said.
El-Sisi said that the unprecedented and accelerated shift towards digital transformation in societies, the rehabilitation of healthcare systems, and the transition towards a green economy were among emerging challenges arising from the pandemic.
He said these changes require “the availability of the [needed] modern constitutional infrastructure capable of dealing with the challenges.”
El-Sisi stressed the necessity of regulating the legal framework dealing with cybersecurity, legal governance for social media platforms and its content, and others related to large databases and personal information of citizens.
El-Sisi highlighted Egypt’s efforts in the past few years to undertake effective steps towards providing the needed infrastructure to achieve the digital transformation of governmental services.
Such steps have emerged as crucial amid the pandemic outbreak, he said.
The president invited the participants to benefit from the digital judicial platform launched in previous meetings for the benefit of Africa.
The fifth high-level African Constitutional Conference is scheduled to be held later this year in Cairo, according to a SCC statement on Friday.
Saturday’s meeting, held under the auspices of President El-Sisi, was chaired by the head of the SCC, Chancellor Said Marei, and attended by senior African judges and international experts, the statement added.
The meeting tackled the agenda that will be discussed during the conference, including the "E-justice in Africa since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic," according to Adel Omar Sherif, the vice-chairperson of the SCC.