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Legality of Electronic Signatures in Zambia: Understanding the Framework  

Legality of Electronic Signatures in Zambia: Understanding the Framework  
Legality of Electronic Signatures in Zambia: Understanding the Framework  

In the rapidly evolving landscape of digital transactions, the acceptance and legal validity of electronic signatures are crucial for modern businesses. In Zambia, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2021 provides the regulatory framework for electronic signatures. This ensures the legality and security of electronic transactions in the country. 

Understanding Electronic Signatures 

The Act defines an “electronic signature” as any sound, symbol, process, or other data created or adopted by a person intending to sign a data message. This broad definition encompasses various facts of electronic signatures, including standard, digital, and advanced signatures. 

  • Standard electronic signatures are widely accepted and legally recognised in Zambia for signing electronic documents. 
  • Digital signatures transform an electronic record using an asymmetric cryptosystem and a hash function, providing higher security and authentication. 
  • Advanced electronic signatures are based on certificates unique to the user, capable of verification, and under the signer’s sole control. They are linked to the data, so any alteration would invalidate the signature. 

Section 6 (2) of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act clarifies that an electronic signature holds legal force and effect, regardless of its electronic form. Moreover, the Act specifies that where a signature is required by law and the law does not specify the type of signature, an advanced electronic signature fulfils the requirement. 

Certification Authority and Cryptography Services 

The Act establishes provisions for certification authorities responsible for managing and issuing certificates and public keys. Entities offering cryptography services must apply for registration with the National Root Certification Authority, ensuring compliance with prescribed standards and procedures. 

Documents Requiring Advanced Electronic Signatures 

Certain documents in Zambia require advanced electronic signatures for validity, including those needing notarisation, acknowledgement, verification, or oath. Additionally, an advanced electronic signature certification is necessary to meet legal requirements when providing electronic copies of physical documents. 

Limitations 

While electronic signatures offer convenience and efficiency, certain documents in Zambia cannot be signed electronically. These include wills, declarations of trust, powers of attorney, and contracts or transfers involving immovable property. 

Recognition of Foreign Certificates 

The Act also provides provisions for recognising licenses, accreditations, or recognitions granted to foreign certification authorities by foreign countries, enhancing the interoperability of electronic signatures across borders. 

Conclusion: 

Zambia’s Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2021 establishes a robust legal framework for electronic signatures, ensuring contractual legality, security, and reliability in electronic transactions.  

SigniFlow Software, in compliance with this framework, facilitates secure and legally binding electronic transactions for businesses operating in Zambia. 

If you are ready to make the change from traditional to electronic signatures, book your free trial or contact us.  

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Disclaimer: The information in this BLOG is provided for general informational purposes only and is the opinion of the author only. No information contained in this blog should be construed as legal advice from SigniFlow or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this blog should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.