NRENs – Connecting Africa to Unlimited Possibilities”: UbuntuNet Alliance, GÉANT and World Bank Hold Joint Session at the Connected Africa Summit 2024

The 2024 Connected Africa Summit, held at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi, Kenya from April 21st to 25th, was a vibrant gathering of African leaders, investors, and innovators. Against the backdrop of harnessing the vast opportunities presented by the digital economy, this summit addressed barriers and pressing issues affecting the African economy. The summit also served as a strategic forum to chart a course towards a digitally empowered and interconnected future for Africa, setting the stage for unprecedented growth and prosperity. It also underscored the relevance of the digital economy in driving economic growth and development.

A note worthy moment at the summit was the joint session hosted by the UbuntuNet Alliance and the World Bank, titled “NRENs – Connecting Africa to Unlimited Possibilities.” Led by esteemed panelists, including Prof. Madara Ogot of the UbuntuNet Alliance, Ms. Ekua Nauma Bentil from the World Bank, Ms. Miriam Chahuruva of the Zimbabwe Research and Education Network, and moderated by Ms. Nicky Wako of GÉANT, the session underscored the critical role of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Africa’s digital journey.

The discussion showcased how NRENs have become the backbone of Africa’s digital infrastructure, catalyzing connectivity and collaboration across the continent. Through initiatives like the EU-funded AfricaConnect project, NRENs have spearheaded the deployment of cutting-edge technologies, ensuring resilient, high-speed connectivity even in remote corners of the continent. Moreover, the panelists emphasized the transformative impact of regional cloud infrastructure, enabling researchers and academics to share knowledge seamlessly and facilitating the dissemination of research findings across borders. As Africa’s youthful population seeks to embrace the digital age, NRENs have emerged as catalysts for education and skills development, equipping the next generation with the tools to thrive in a competitive global landscape.

The Connected Africa Summit 2024 was more than just a gathering; it was a testament to Africa’s resilience, ingenuity, and unwavering determination to embrace the future. As delegates departed Nairobi, they carried with them not only a renewed sense of purpose but also a shared commitment to build a brighter, digitally empowered Africa for generations to come.

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