NREN CEOs Hold Their Second Indaba in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) CEOs from Eastern and Southern Africa convened for their annual meeting on 2nd May 2024 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As is tradition, this gathering offers an opportunity to also hold the “NREN CEOs Indaba” or Management Academy. It is a one-day event organized by the UbuntuNet Alliance and it focuses on addressing the challenges faced by NRENs as they evolve into well-managed community service organizations.

The Indaba serves as a platform for NREN leaders to share experiences and best practices from their respective organizations. Topics discussed at this year’s meeting included:

  • Leadership: Enhancing the leadership skills necessary for guiding NRENs through various challenges.
  • General NREN Management: Strategies for effective management and operational excellence.
  • Service Management: Ensuring high-quality service delivery to member institutions.
  • Innovation: Fostering a culture of innovation within NRENs.

Additionally, the meeting addressed issues faced by emerging NRENs, providing them with insights and lessons from established ones.

This year’s Indaba was the second such meeting, following a similar one held in March 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Addis Ababa meeting provided a forum for CEOs to review their sustainability strategies and explore how to enhance cooperation and synergy within the community. They also shared experiences and discussed initiatives they are currently implementing, focusing on overcoming key challenges such as resource mobilization to continue offering cutting-edge services to their member institutions.

As the AfricaConnect3 project draws to a close, the meeting offered an opportunity for reflection on the achievements made so far and how these can be leveraged to achieve even more in the next phase of the project.

The meeting saw participation from CEOs of nine NRENs: EthERNet (Ethiopia), KENET (Kenya), TENET (South Africa), MAREN (Malawi), ZAMREN (Zambia), RENU (Uganda), ZIMREN (Zimbabwe), TERNET (Tanzania), and BERNET (Botswana). Additionally, two CEOs from BotsREN (Botswana) and SomaliREN (Somalia) joined the meeting virtually.

The UbuntuNet Alliance extends its gratitude to all the NREN CEOs for their continued support and commitment to advancing the cause of research and education networking in the region. The collaboration and shared vision demonstrated at the Indaba are crucial for the sustained growth and success of NRENs in Africa. This annual Indaba not only strengthens the bonds between NRENs but also ensures that they remain at the forefront of innovation and service excellence, ultimately benefiting the broader research and education communities they serve.

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