Executive Director


Alison Gillwald (PhD) is the Executive Director of Research ICT Africa (RIA), an African digital policy and regulatory think-tank based in South Africa. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Cape Town’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance where she supervises doctoral students undertaking transdisciplinary research on the digital economy and society in Africa. She co-led the Data Justice workstream of the Data Governance working group of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) and serves on the Digital Inclusion Roundtable of the UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation. She leads the Research ICT Africa team that provided technical assistance to the African Union Data Policy Framework and the implementation and capacity-building plan.  She was recently commissioned by UN Women to produce a background paper for CSW on RIA’s work on intersectional digital inequality and data injustice. A former regulator she was appointed to the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) in 1997, having headed the policy department at the first broadcasting regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority established in 1994. She has advised the South African Presidency, the National Planning Commission, the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, in addition to the African Union Commission, SADC, CRASA and the SADC Parliamentary Forum. She has been commissioned by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Bank and the African Development Bank to undertake research and provide technical assistance to inform policy across several African countries and collaborates with networks across the Global South to build an evidence base for policymakers and regulators. She is published in the areas of digital policy, regulation and data governance.


By Alison Gillwald