The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has announced that Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the former Minister of ICT and Youth in Rwanda and current Special Advisor at SMART Africa, will join A4AI as its Honorary Chairperson.
Mr. Nsengimana has 15 years of experience in the private sector, international development and academia. A respected policy leader in Africa and beyond, he is involved in a number of high-level initiatives working toward universal access, including the World Economic Forum’s Internet for All initiative. In his capacity of Minister of ICT and Youth in Rwanda, Mr. Nsengimana championed several flagship initiatives including Transform Africa and YouthConnekt Africa.
He led the design and implementation of Rwanda’s ICT priorities through theSMART Rwanda Master Plan, which, among other issues, focuses on broadband for all and digital literacy. The plan is credited with enabling Africa’s largest national 4G LTE network rollout, which now covers 95% of the Rwandan population, and the world’s first commercial use of drones for delivering live-saving medical supplies.
Mr. Nsengimana joins A4AI at a time when their work to advance affordable access is becoming ever more urgent. Growth in internet access and use is slowing dramatically, and A4AI’s latestAffordability Report shows that over 2 billion people do not have access to affordable internet. As the global digital divide deepens and entrenches offline patterns of inequality, policy to advance affordable access is now more important than ever.
Remarking on his new role, Mr. Nsengimana said:
“Internet affordability is one of the most significant — but solvable —barriers to achieving access for all. This deep conviction has driven my work over the last 15 years, and I am excited to continue and amplify this work as the Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Over the years that I have worked in ICT, I have witnessed the power of internet to grow economies and empower communities — and the vital need for affordable internet access globally. I look forward to working with the A4AI team and its partners to make this a reality.”
A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge added:
“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with Jean Philbert in this capacity, and to benefit from his extensive experience, strategic advice and leadership as we move A4AI to the next phase of our work to advance affordable internet for everyone.“
Mr. Nsengimana replaces Dr Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former Minister of Communication Technology, who served as A4AI Honorary Chair from 2014 until 2018, and who will continue to support A4AI as she joins theWeb Foundation Board of Directors.
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Andrew Rugege, ITU Regional Director for Africa
January 18, 2019
On behalf of the ITU Regional Office for Africa, I wish to add my voice to others in congratulating Jean Philbert on his role as Honorary Chairperson of the A4AI. His passion for affordable Internet has been unparalleled and his unique focus for universal coverage especially for rural Africa is commendable. I look forward to continue working with Jean Philbert as we share the commitment to bring broadband to the smallest villages in Africa.