The head of the West and Central Africa Research and Education Network, (WACREN), Dr. Boubakar Barry in January 2016 paid a visit to UbuntuNet Alliance Secretariat in Lilongwe, Malawi where he familiarised with how UbuntuNet Alliance managed the rolling out of the AfricaConnect project with coordination from European Research and Education Network GÉANT, then DANTE.

Dr Barry’s two-day visit came after, UbuntuNet Alliance and GEANT (on behalf of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) and WACREN) signed the €26.6 million European Commission co-funded AfricaConnect2 project which is expected to create a first of a kind pan African research and education network.

And after UbuntuNet Alliance and GÉANT successfully rolled out the UbuntuNet , the dedicated high capacity research and education network for the eastern and southern African region under AfricaConnect, Dr. Barry said his visit sought to appreciate how the Alliance managed various relationships with NRENs that made contributions to the project as WACREN is on the same path under AfricaConnect2.

“We do not want to re-event the wheel. Under AfricaConnect2, WACREN will be going through a process which UbuntuNet Alliance went through under AfricaConnect and it makes sense for WACREN to learn from its sister organisation. This learning process will help WACREN save a lot of time and avoid mistakes,” says Dr. Barry.

Dr. Barry also said the visit demonstrates the strong relationship existing among the Regional Research and Education Networks on the continent saying the networks need to work closely to achieve a common goal.

“UbuntuNet Alliance, WACREN and ASREN are not integrated into one simply because of the size of the continent, but we all have one goal which is putting in place the needed state of the art network infrastructure and services that will allow our communities enjoy an environment that is conducive for quality teaching, learning and quality research. Soon the three regional networks will be interconnected, making the African dream a reality,” adds Dr. Barry.

Meanwhile, the WACREN Chief has called on members from the research and education networking community to register for the upcoming WACREN annual conference to be hosted by snRER, the National Research and Education Network of Senegal 0n 17-18 March this year in Dakar under the theme “Enabling Virtual Research and Education Communities.”

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