UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking receives substantial funding from European Union under the Africa Connect Programme now in its third phase, AfricaConnect3.  This round of funding (2019-2023) builds on the successes under the first two phases (see below) and seeks to facilitate continued and expanded access to educational and research resources and enabling research collaboration, thereby supporting the digital transformation of those sectors and digital skills development.

Specifically, the funding will enable UA to:

  1. Upgrade and expand its research and education network and e-infrastructures – This shall enhance access to tertiary education and research institutions by establishing secure, adequate, and affordable network infrastructures, such as high-speed broadband connectivity.
  2. Deploy Research and Education services and applications – This shall foster the development of Research and Education through dedicated services, applications and user support.
  3.  Build Capacity with UA and its Member NRENs –This shall ensure adequate human resource capacities and expertise.
  4. Advocate for the digital transformation  for education and research – This shall raise awareness of the role of digital transformation of education research by emphasising the enabling potential of digital tools and the multiplier effect for skills development, employability, and economic growth.



The Alliance actively seeks and implements as well as participates with partners in funded projects that meet our vision and mission.  These include:

  1. Ecosystem Strengthening as a Catalyst for International Collaborative Development of Emerging Digital Technologies and X-Data Applications Tackling Socio-Economic Challenges in Kenya and South Africa, 1/2023-12/2023.
  2. Orchid Global Participation Fund 2/2023-2/2024.

The Journey: Past Projects

AfricaConnect 2 (2015-2019) consolidated the network by upgrading it to higher capacity, extended to connect 5 additional countries and made the network resilient by procuring diverse links to increase availability.  Countries connected under AfricaConnect 2 were Burundi, Malawi, Somalia, Tanzania,and Zimbabwe.  Links in Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia were upgraded. The largest benefit of the AfricaConnect programme has been the significant drop in connectivity services for research and education institutions.

AfricaConnect (2011-2015) laid the foundation for the UbuntuNet Regional Backbone network and resulted in significant price reductions for internet services in Zambia and Uganda and several-fold increase in available internet bandwidth. Countries connected under AfricaConnnect were DRC, Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Mozambique.


Partner with Us

With an exponential population growth in Africa that should reach 2.4 billion people by 2050, investing in human capital is essential. Youth unemployment is a critical issue affecting many African countries, and tertiary education and research are sectors which should play a key role in addressing this problem by fostering the development of human capital and skills and contributing to economic growth and to the creation of societal opportunities.

African researchers and students are not active contributors and users of world research and innovation due to the absence of affordable connectivity and services. Africa contributes to less than 2% of the world’s research output and has only 91 researchers per million people compared to 4,272 for North America and Western Europe (UNESCO, 2019). If properly harnessed, the Internet can provide both students and lecturers with a wealth of invaluable educational resources. Lecturers can use the Internet to prepare lessons, disseminate information to students and assess them, and students can access online content to extend their range of learning.

UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking provides high performance communication networks to NRENs who in turn provide the same to their in-country research and education communities.

Help us to continue to provide these essential services that have made connectivity affordable to thousands of institutions and millions of faculty and students in Eastern and Southern Africa. Reach out through the contacts below.

For More Information about Funding UA or on-Going Projects Contact:

Eliakim Okundi
Project Manager