Executive Director


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) and holds an adjunct professorship at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance (University of Cape Town), where she convenes a transdisciplinary PhD programme focusing on ICT policy and regulation. A former regulator she was appointed the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) having headed the policy department at the first broadcasting regulator, the Independent Broadcasting Authority established in the wake of the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994. She also served as chairperson of the South African National Digital Advisory Body, which reported on digital migration in 2001; the board of the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation; and is currently deputy chairperson of the SA National Broadband Advisory Council.

She has provided technical assistance to several African countries, and regional bodies, advising the Ministry of Communication on the South Africa’s Broadband Plan: SA Connect and for the African Development Bank and Government of Mauritius on the i-Mauritius broadband policy. She has worked extensively with multilateral agencies such as the International Telecommunications Union, UNCTAD and the World Bank. She served on the first ITU Task Force on Gender Issues set up in 2001 to develop gender-aware guidelines for policy-making and regulatory agencies and on the Partnership on Measuring the Information Society Task Group on Gender to develop standard indicators for measuring gender inequality in relation to ICT and which drew extensively on the sex disaggregated statistics and gender modelling in relation to ICT access and use undertaken by Research ICT Africa for more than a decade across Africa.

In 2019 she was appointed Deputy-Chairperson of Giganet. She sits on the board of the South African Tertiary Education Networks (TENET). She is an Associate Editor of the International Telecommunication Union  journal, Discoveries, and is on the editorial board of Digital Policy.

By Alison Gillwald