WACREN 2016: African research and education communities gather In Dakar

The 2nd annual WACREN conference for research and education (R&E) networking took place in Dakar, Senegal on March 17th-18th following three days of intensive workshops promoting e-infrastructure, federated identity and Open Science in Africa.

Hosted by the Senegalese research and education network (snRER) with the support of the Senegalese Ministry for research and higher education with a theme of enabling virtual research and education communities, the conference was attended by over 200 participants including all West and Central African national research and education networks (NREN), managing directors of the North African and Eastern and Southern African regional networks – ASREN and the UbuntuNet Alliance – , representatives of the Association of African Universities (AAU), the World Bank as well as UNESCO.

The conference was supported by major e-infrastructure organisations, telecom providers and training bodies such as XON, Cisco, MainOne, Thomson Reuters, NSRC and GÉANT. The AfricaConnect2 project which has WACREN, the UbuntuNet Alliance and ASREN as partners building the first pan-African R&E network was a major sponsor of the event and gathered much attention from local NRENs as well as R&E actors in the region and across Africa.

Presentations ranged from NREN survival and sustainability models, taken from the experience of international NRENs and regional organisations such as SURFnet, TENET and the UbuntuNet Alliance to the deployment of valuable services including edugain federated log-in tool, eduroam campus wifi roaming access and cloud computing.

Former UbuntuNet Alliance CEO and winner of the 2015 Network Information and Infrastructure Service Award, Francis Tusubira, offered his vision of the NREN of the future.

In this stimulating and forward-thinking environment academic and technical participants were able to share their challenges and kick-start future collaborations, which goes to show once again that the success of African research and education lies in its people.

Thank you WACREN for allowing this to happen and Congratulations for a great conference!

The conference presentations are available at https://indico.wacren.net/event/20/contributions. You can also access the workshops presentations at the following links; Federated Identity – https://indico.wacren.net/category/21/, Open Science – https://indico.wacren.net/category/23/, TANDEM – https://indico.wacren.net/category/24/

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