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Bulelani Jili

Visiting Fellow


Bulelani Jili is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, where he is a Meta Research Ph.D. Fellow. His research interests include ICT development, Africa-China relations, cybersecurity, and privacy law. He is also a Cybersecurity Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Scholar-in-residence at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and a Research Associate at Oxford University.

He has advised leading think tanks and watchdogs like Freedom House and supported the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Human Rights Initiative at a large, which investigates the spread of facial recognition technology in Africa. His recent paper, Chinese surveillance tools in Africa, particularly discerns the exportation of Chinese surveillance technology in Africa. He has also written about the Chinese guiding cases system (Peking University Law Journal, 2019) with Guo Li, Professor of Law and Vice Dean at Peking University Law School.

His writing and work have appeared in leading publications and think tanks like the African Affairs, Mail &Guardian, Theory, Culture and Society, Financial Times, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Africa is a Country, The Elephant, Nature, Atlantic Council, and African Center for Strategic Studies. He is also a regular panelist and speaker at international conferences.

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 holds an A.B. honors, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (College of Social Studies), from Wesleyan University (CT), where he was a Pfeiffer Scholar.

Bulelani Jili