Executive Director: Research ICT Africa
Adjunct Professor: Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town
Alison Gillwald (PhD) is the Executive Director of Research ICT Africa (RIA) an African digital policy and regulatory think-tank that works across 20 African countries. She is currently also an adjunct professor at the University of Cape Town’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance where she convenes a doctoral programme in the Digital Economy and Society in Africa and professional development and executive training for policymakers, regulators and parliamentarians in the areas of policy, regulation and data governance.
She has extensive institutional design and organisational transformation experience having been appointed by Parliament to the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) in 1997, after establishing the policy department in the first broadcasting regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority in 1994. Her corporate governance experience extends to the public, private and non-governmental sectors. She has served on the board of the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation; AVUSA, one of the largest listed media and lifestyle company on the JSE; Womensnet and the Media Monitoring Africa (Project).
Alison has served on several national statutory commission and councils including as deputy-chairperson of the National Broadband Advisory Council 2014; the chairperson of the first South African National Digital Migration Advisory Body in 2001; the Ministerial expert group seconded to the Communications Ministry in 2013 to fast-track the South African broadband plan, SA Connect.
She has also served on various international panels and tasks forces including the first ITU Gender Task Force in 1999 and the African Ministers’ Advisory Group between 2000 and 2003. As part of the restructuring the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) she was appointed to the President’s Strategy Panel on Multistakeholder Innovation 2013.
Currently, she is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Digital Cooperation Roadmap Digital Inclusion Roundtable and a member of the data governance working group of the Global Platform on Artificial Intelligence.