Press Release: West and Central Africa Connects to the Global R&E Network to Unleash its Potential

Press release: West and Central Africa Connects to the Global R&E Network to Unleash its Potential

 

Cambridge and Accra |15 January 2018

The EU-funded AfricaConnect2 project has just announced that, following the tender call to connect West and Central (W&C) Africa back in June 2016, GÉANT has awarded a 15-year contract to MainOne for connectivity services. By signing the contract through AfricaConnect2, WACREN, the regional Research and Education Network in West and Central Africa, will join the global Research and Education (R&E) networking community. In addition to that, a complementary contract was signed with XON Systems for the provision of equipment.

This comes at the time of an ever-widening digital divide. The slow and sporadic adoption of ICT technologies in W&C Africa has led to one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. In this light, the recent contract announcement will undoubtedly facilitate the digital economy and will allow WACREN to truly unleash its potential and work with its members to meet the needs of its users.

Welcoming the progress of the AfricaConnect2 project and underlining the importance of connecting the region to the global R&E network, Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN said: “The signing of the contracts with MainOne and XON is an important milestone in the journey WACREN has embarked on towards the provision of first-class network infrastructure for the education and research community in West and Central Africa. When the first connections will be up in the first quarter of 2018, the big hole that currently exists in the global research and education networking map will finally be closed”.

Leveraging EU funding, AfricaConnect2 was able to secure a 15-year IRU (Indefeasible Right of Use) and pay an upfront circuit provisioning cost. This supports the EU objective of creating a sustainable, high-capacity data communications network that serves higher education and research institutions across the region.

Initially, the WACREN network will provide a 10Gbps link from Lagos, Nigeria to London, UK where it interconnects with the pan-European GÉANT network, thus providing access to R&E collaborations with over 50 million researchers, academics and students across Europe. As part of the contract, an additional link will go out from Lagos terminating in Accra, Ghana. The implementation of this contract will not only connect the first two countries in West and Central Africa but will also form the building block for the WACREN backbone in support of R&E communities across the entire Central and Western part of the African continent.  

MainOne, the company which was awarded the contract for the provision of network connectivity services in the WACREN region after being successful in the highly competitive connectivity tender, is a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions in West Africa.

Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, commended the commitment of WACREN to connect regional researchers to the global research and education communities across the world: “MainOne was born out of a passion to close the digital divide in West Africa and this agreement with WACREN leverages our capacity and provides us the opportunity to get all Research and Educational institutions in West Africa connected among themselves and to the rest of the world. We are delighted to have won this bid and believe we will add value to institutions in our region with our cost-effective and innovative connectivity solutions”.

On the other hand, the contract with XON Systems, an IP equipment provider, completes the first procurement cycle by introducing a 4-year framework agreement under which WACREN is able to purchase the IP Routing equipment required for setting up and running its regional network.

“XON have worked closely with GÉANT in the past on the AfricaConnect projects and we are honoured and privileged to have been selected as the IP-routing equipment supplier of choice to help build the AfricaConnect2 project for the WACREN network”, said Sub-Saharan Sales Manager Dewalt Uys. “By leveraging our vast experience of providing equipment and services to Tier-1 service providers across the continent, we can bring our vendor partnerships, engineering competency and logistics expertise as we help WACREN embark on this formidable and exciting journey.”

Celebrating this achievement, Cathrin Stöver, GÉANT’s Chief Collaboration Officer and the project manager of AfricaConnect2, said: “The global R&E community has just become stronger and more enriched. I congratulate WACREN on this milestone and invite its users to make the most of the unlimited opportunities that this sort of connectivity brings.”

About AfricaConnect2:

AfricaConnect2 is an EU-funded pan-African connectivity project with a total budget of €26.6m covering a period of 3.5 years. It aims to support the development and consolidation of high-capacity regional internet networks for R&E across Africa and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network, creating a continental gateway for collaborative research and education across and beyond Africa.

For more information, visit www.africaconnect2.net

About WACREN:

WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network. The objectives of the organisation are the promotion and establishment of interconnections between national research and education networks in West and Central Africa to form a regional research and education network, the interconnection of this network with other regional and continental networks, and the provision of services aiming at fostering collaboration between research and education institutions in the region, as well as between these institutions and their peers at a continental and international level. To achieve its goals, WACREN works not only with educational and research institutions but also with bodies such as regional economic communities (ECOWAS, ECCAS, UEMOA), telecommunications regulators (WATRA) and a number of national policy and decision-making institutions in West and Central Africa.  WACREN was constituted in 2010 and currently includes 11 participating NRENs in the region.

For more information, visit www.wacren.net

About GÉANT:

GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community. 

For more information, visit www.geant.org

About MainOne:

MainOne is West Africa’s leading connectivity and data centre solutions provider. We are the first choice for wholesale internet, enterprise services, cloud solutions and managed data services for businesses with global scale ambitions. We operate the only Tier III-certified data centre in West Africa with ISO 27001 and PCI DSS. Our cost-effective and innovative solutions are such that businesses that partner with us are fully empowered to meet the needs of today’s market and also prepared for tomorrow’s growth opportunities.

For more information, visit www.mainone.net

About XON Systems:

XON Systems Ltd established in 1996, designs, builds, operates, and manages information and communication technology (ICT) solutions created specifically for customers. We are a level 2 B-BBEE business that embraces social responsibility and upliftment.

For more information, visit www.xon.co.za

Press Contact
WACREN Media
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
+233 205228693

 

2nd WACREN perfSONAR Training Workshop - Accra, Ghana - October 9-13 2017

WACREN organizes its 4th regional capacity building workshop in Accra, Ghana from the  9 - 13 October 2017

The workshop will be organized in collaboration with International Networks at the Indiana University, Ghanaian Academic and Research and Education Network (GARNET), the University of Ghana and AfricaConnect2.

 

Goal:    Focused on perfSONAR measurement meshes, participants will learn how to set up a new mesh and what it means to have a measuring point participate in a mesh.  These NREN and campus network administrators will also be connected to the WACREN regional perfSONAR deployment.  

Engineers from NRENs who have subscribed to the AfricaConnect2 project and will be connected to WACREN are the priority.   Others will include participants from the 1st WACREN perfSONAR workshop or experienced network engineers who have successfully deployed perfSONAR in their home organisations.  All participants will require exposure to network monitoring, network performance measurements and perfSONAR.  

Expected Outcomes:  Measurements will be taken by participants from NRENs connected to the WACREN network as well as those from countries connected via other international transit. These participants would then be able to quantify the network reliability and performance improvements with the WACREN network compared to commodity Internet services.  

Language:  Conducted in English with bilingual trainers

Logistics:

  • All participants will have to secure funds for their travel, including visa fees where applicable.
  • International participants will be provided with free accommodation (from 8th October to 14 October 2017)
  • Lunches and coffee breaks will be provided for all participants for the duration of the workshop.

€26.6m Africa and EU Internet Project will Transform African Science and Education

PRESS RELEASE

€26.6m Africa and EU internet project will transform African science and education

AfricaConnect2 to create first pan-African research and education network

Accra, 15 December 2015:
African research and education network associations WACREN, the UbuntuNet Alliance and ASREN have partnered with their European counterpart GÉANT in a €26.6m EU co-funded project to provide dedicated high-speed internet all over Africa.

This follows the success of the AfricaConnect project which contributed to the creation of a high-speed R&E network in Eastern and Southern Africa between 2011 and 2015.

AfricaConnect2 will develop high-capacity internet networks across the entire African continent and connect them to the European GÉANT network, allowing students, researchers and academics in Africa and beyond to collaborate. The connectivity boost will not only advance research and education locally with opportunities like e-learning and cloud computing, but it will equally benefit scientific studies the world over in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, food security, malaria and other infectious diseases.

Professor Jegede from the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria explains: ‘’In my area of research I need access to climate data as well as regional climate models (RCMs) to be able to study different climate scenarios and train students to be able to do so. The AfricaConnect2 project opens up new vista supporting collaborative research across Africa and beyond through timely access to scientific data using high-speed Internet connectivity provided by NRENs. I am very excited to be part of the cooperative whereby acquired data is made available to the global scientific community and for training of postgraduate students in Africa.’’

Accelerating scientific breakthroughs

A central part of the recently announced Africa-EU Partnership, AfricaConnect2 will fulfil both continents wish to connect research and education communities across borders and accelerate scientific breakthroughs. 

“Science, technology and innovation figure high on the African and European agenda as means to attain socio-economic development objectives,’’ says Françoise Moreau, Head of Unit at the EC Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (DG DEVCO). That is the reason why under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, both continents have decided to deepen their cooperation to promote knowledge-and skills based societies and economies. The EU therefore welcomes the start of AfricaConnect 2, which will build upon the successes of AfricaConnect in improving scientific knowledge and will further reinforce cooperation between research communities of the two continents, for the benefits of all.”

Boubakar Barry, the CEO of West and Central African networking organisation, WACREN, points out: ‘’ AfricaConnect2 comes at a time when the demand for adequate bandwidth and network services from researchers, lecturers and students at West and Central African higher education and research institutions is extremely high. There is no doubt AfricaConnect2 will satisfy this demand and benefit the socio-economic landscape in the region.’’

A collaboration between four strong regional partners
AfricaConnect2 involves:
-    WACREN which is building a regional R&E network in West and Central Africa and will connect it to Europe.
-    The UbuntuNet Alliance which operates the UbuntuNet network in Eastern and Southern Africa
-    ASREN which has been connecting Northern Africa following the Mediterranean EumedConnect project.
-    And European networking organisation GÉANT, which will develop new connections with all pan-African networks, bringing the R&E communities between two continents together. 

All three African networking organisations will support local networks at different stages of development and improve regional and international connectivity, encouraging more institutions and countries to join in.
Supporting a network of people
But like its predecessor, AfricaConnect2 means much more than affordable high-capacity connectivity. AfricaConnect2 will also offer capacity building at a regional and continental level, supporting sustainable development and helping build a more inclusive Information Society across Africa.
Cathrin Stöver, Chief International Relations and Communications Officer at GÉANT, comments: ‘’Looking beyond the routers, switches and cables, the secret to a successful project is people. People as a close-knit community, with a pool of well-trained engineers who efficiently manage their networks and support their users to allow them to make a difference. AfricaConnect2’s ambition is to develop and nurture such a community spirit.’’

AfricaConnect2 is due to finish by the end of 2018. The EU development co-operation funds contribute up to €20m, with the beneficiary partners bringing in the remaining €6.6m.
 – Ends –

About WACREN:
WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network. The objectives of the organisation is the promotion and establishment of interconnections between national research and education networks in West and Central Africa to form a regional research and education network, the interconnection of this network with other regional and continental networks, and the provision of services aiming at fostering collaboration between research and education institutions in the region as well as between them and peer institutions at continental and international levels.
To achieve its goal, WACREN works not only with educational and research institutions, but also with bodies such as regional economic communities (ECOWAS, ECCAS, UEMOA), telecommunications regulators (WATRA) and a number of national policy and decision-making institutions in West and Central Africa.  WACREN was constituted in 2010 and currently has 11 participating NRENs in the region.

About GÉANT
GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.

GÉANT has 41 member countries and is owned by its core NREN membership, and also has Associate members including commercial organisations and multi-national research infrastructures and projects.
GÉANT was formed on 7 October 2014, when TERENA and DANTE joined forces and adopted the GÉANT name from the GÉANT Project (co-funded by the European Commission and currently in phase GN4-1), which continues to be a major area of the organisation's work. 

GÉANT manages research and education (R&E) networking projects serving Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries. In addition, it supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific and coordinates Europe-China collaboration.

About the Ubuntunet Alliance:
The UbuntuNet Alliance is a regional association of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Eastern and Southern Africa. It was established in the latter half of 2005 by five established and emerging NRENs: MAREN (Malawi), MoRENet, (Mozambique), KENET (Kenya), RwEdNet (Rwanda) and TENET (South Africa).
The objectives of the Alliance are, on a non-profit basis: to develop and improve the interconnectivity between NRENs in Africa and their connectivity to the worldwide R&E community; to develop the knowledge and skills of ICT practitioners in R&E institutions; and to provide related auxiliary services to participating NRENs. To date, the Alliance’s footprint has stretched across the largest landmass of Eastern and Southern Africa with participating NRENs in 15 countries.

About ASREN:
ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network, is a non-profit international organisation, registered in Germany, and operates under the umbrella of the League of Arab States. ASREN is the association of the Arab region National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), as well as their strategic partners that aim to implement, manage and extend sustainable Pan-Arab e-Infrastructures dedicated for the research and education communities and to boost scientific research and cooperation in member countries through the provision of world-class e-Infrastructures and e-services. The goal is to connect Arab institutions among themselves and to the globe through high-speed data-communications networks; boost pan-Arab collaborative research and education projects and activities; and contribute to promote scientific research, innovation and education across the Arab region.

Press Contact:
GARNET Secretariat
Ghanaian Academic and Research Network (GARNET)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel: +233-26-432-1957

Who's Online

We have 65419 guests and 310 members online

Contact Us

For more information about GARNET, please use any of the following medium.

Postal Address: Box LG 25 Legon, Ghana
Email: info@garnet.edu.gh
Website: 
www.garnet.edu.gh

Connect With Us

We're on Social Networks. Follow us & get in touch.
Copyright (c) Ghanaian Academic and Research Network (GARNET) 2017. All rights reserved.
Designed by mixwebtemplates.com