Dr. Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former minister of Information and communication (2011 – 2015) has been appointed as the Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet. She will be taking over from Dr. Bitange Ndemo, former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and communication. Her role will be to provide the organization with strategic policy guidance and she will lead high-level international advocacy efforts to help A4AI drive down unacceptably high broadband prices, and bring billions of people online, fast.
The A4IA is a global coalition working to make broadband affordable for all. The organization works closely with governments, companies and civil society, and uses a blend of research, advocacy and on-the-ground engagement to create policy and regulatory change that pushes broadband prices down.
Under Dr. Johnson’s tenure, the creation and implementation of the National Broadband plan began; the percentage of internet users in Nigeria nearly doubled from 24% (2010) to 43% (2014); and Nigeria became the first African nation to join AI4A in 2013. These are just a few bits from her testimonial and they have earned her goodwill with the AI4A.
Dr. Johnson spoke on her appointment, saying:
In this era of technological innovation, it is simply unacceptable that policies and regulations still conspire to keep Internet access unaffordable for billions. Today, an entry-level mobile broadband package costs the average African over 15% of their monthly earnings, while an average European would pay just 1%. That affordability gap helps to explain why over 80% of European households are online, compared to just 11% of African households.
I’ve seen firsthand the incredible power of the Web to improve health, education, economic and development outcomes, particularly for women and rural populations, and I’ve also seen how smart, collaborative policymaking can drive prices down fast. Now, I’m excited to be able to use my experience and networks to accelerate the progress A4AI is already making.