Dr. Nancy J. Hafkin has been working to promote information and communications technology in Africa and other developing areas, with particular emphasis on gender, for more than thirty years. She was chief of research for 12 years in the program for women and development at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa — the first international women and development program in the world — and went on to head the ECA program to Promote Information Technology for Development in Africa, where she worked to establish the African Information Society Initiative (AISI) -- eight years before WSIS. The program worked to set up the first electronic communication networks in a number of African countries and went on to convince African governments of the importance of the Internet. In 2000 the Association for Progressive Communications established the annual Nancy Hafkin Communications Prize competition.
She has written widely on information technology, gender and international development, including Gender, Information Technology, and Developing Countries: An Analytic Study, Cinderella or Cyberella: Empowering Women in the Information Society and Engendering the Knowledge Society: Measuring Women’s Participation. Most recently she contributed the chapter on gender issues to the World Web Foundation volume edited by George Sadowsky, Accelerating Development Using the Web: Empowering Poor and Marginalized Populations. Nancy has a Ph.D. in history (Africa) from Boston University.
She is an Executive Board member of the international NGO PACT Inc. and serves on the advisory boards of a number of initiatives to encourage the use of the Internet for education in Africa. She is the mother of a son and a daughter and the grandmother of Dameon Berhanu, age 3.