The former Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Youth and current Special Advisor at SMART Africa, has been named as Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for the Affordable Internet (A4AI).
In a statement, A4AI said that Jean Philbert 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 as Minister of ICT and Youth in Rwanda, Nsengimana championed several flagship initiatives including Transform Africa and YouthConnekt Africa.
He led the design and implementation of Rwanda’s ICT priorities through SMART 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.
“Nsengimana joins us at a time when our work is becoming ever more urgent. Growth in internet access and use is slowing dramatically, and our latest Affordability 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, we need policy change to advance affordable access now more than ever,” reads part of the statement released by A4AI on Nsengimana’s new role.
Commenting on his new role, Jean Philbert 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,’’ he added.
The Executive Director of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Sonia Jorge said: “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.”
Nsengimana replaces Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former Minister of Communication Technology, who served as A4AI Honorary Chair from 2014 until 2018, and who assumes a new role on the Web Foundation Board of Directors.