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Bulelani Jili is a Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow at Harvard University. His research interests include Africa-China relations; Cybersecurity; ICT development; African Political Economy; Internet Policy; Chinese Business Law; Law and Development; and Privacy Law. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Yale Law School; Fellow at the Atlantic Council; Cybersecurity Fellow at the Belfer Center; and is conducting research with the China, Law, Development project at Oxford University. The project, funded by the European Research Council, is a 5-year, interdisciplinary and multi-sited research project that aims to understand the nature of the order that underlies China’s new globalism. He has also briefed, advised, and worked with leading think tanks, governments, and watchdogs like the American Bar Association, the Atlantic Council, Freedom House, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the US State Department, United Nations, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As a researcher of Africa-China relations, he was named by the Mail & Guardian as one of the most influential young South Africans. His writing has appeared in leading think tanks and publications around the world like African Affairs, Nature, The Cambridge Handbook on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights, Culture, and Society, Mail &Guardian, Africa is a Country, the Elephant, the South China Morning Post, African Center for Strategic Studies, Politico, The Economist and the Financial Times. He is also a regular panelist and speaker at international conferences. He has received numerous prestigious awards, honors, and fellowships. This includes: the Wenner-Gren dissertation fieldwork fellowship, Meta Research PhD Fellowship, Google Public Policy Fellowship, Yenching Scholarship, Merit & Term-Time Research Fellowship, Standard Bank Africa Chairman’s Scholarship Award, Oppenheimer Graduate Fellowship Fund, and Orrick Fellowship. Mr. Jili serves as a committee member at IEEE standards association: global initiative on ethics of AI systems. At Harvard, he sits on the board of director and policy team member on the Harvard COVID-19 Taskforce Students vs Pandemics initiative; Faculty Representative and Department Representative and Funding Committee Member on the Graduate Student Council; Graduate Student Council Executive Board member (as at-Large representative for Interdisciplinary Programs); Contributing Editor at Society for Cultural Anthropology; Resident Tutor at Eliot House (Harvard College); Mentor in the Greener Scott Scholars Program. Prior to attending Harvard, Mr. Jili worked at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, in South Africa, as a Visiting Researcher. He earned an M.Phil. from Cambridge University, where he studied as a Standard Bank Africa Chairman’s Scholar. In 2016, he was awarded a Yenching Scholarship to study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University, where he received a M.A. in Economics. Studying with Prof. He Yafei, former Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Prof. Jiang Guo Hua, he studied Chinese global governance strategies and economic approaches. He took an A.B. honors, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (College of Social Studies) from Wesleyan University (CT), where he was a Pfeiffer Scholar.


NatSec Tech

Bulelani Jili on Technology in Africa

BKC Fellow Bulelani Jili explores the role of technology in Africa-China relations.

Mar 20, 2024
Global Economic Governance Programme

Bulelani Jili: "African policymakers should see digital development, data flows, and data governance as mutually reinforcing."

BKC Graduate Student Fellow Bulelani Jili dicusses internet governance in African countries.

Oct 20, 2023
Tech Policy Press

Kenya Must Update its Regulatory Frameworks to Keep Pace with AI

BKC Graduate Student Fellow Bulelani Jili explains why Kenya needs to update its regulatory framework in light of AI development. 

Oct 2, 2023


Apr 17, 2024 @ 12:30 PM

Global South, Geopolitics, and U.S, Europe, and China’s Competition to Influence Global AI Regulation

State of Play

This pane discussed the evolving state of African AI governance and engagement...