UbuntuNet Alliance has received a grant of SEK4.95 million (about USD580,000) from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to support increased regional and international connectivity targeting universities and research institutions in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
Sida has a long history of building research capacity and improving regional and international research collaboration in Africa. In addition to these three countries, Sida also works with universities and research institutions in Ethiopia and Mozambique.
Asked about the motivation for the grant, Dr Afzal Sher, the Senior Research Advisor responsible for ICT in Sida said: “In the late nineties, Sida recognised the fact that proper connectivity and a good ICT-enabled environment are essential pre-conditions for research efficiency and effective research collaboration. Sida has therefore supported various universities and research institutions in improving both their ICT environments and connectivity as one of the pillars in achieving Sida’s research mission.”
The Alliance will recognise this grant as a contribution from the three Natiobal Research and Education Networks of the beneficiary countries: RwEdNet in Rwanda; TERNET in Tanzania; and RENU in Uganda. The proceeds will be applied as part of the counterpart contribution from the Alliance member NRENs to the EU supported AfricaConnect2 project.
The grant will specifically be applied to a new 622Mbps link running from Kampala to Kigali and Dar es Salaam, and from there to Europe where the Alliance peers with the pan-European research and education network, GÉANT, and also transits to the global research and education community.
Welcoming the support, Dr Pascal Hoba, the CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance said: ‘We welcome this intervention from Sida that will speed up the implementation of this particular link. Sida has been our partner since the founding of the Alliance and has supported and participated in our annual conferences. We are delighted that Sida has moved to this level of support, and look forward to increasing collaboration because, similar to Sida, our motivation is improving research in Africa as a platform for development.’