The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) held its 1st Annual General Meeting on the 3rd July 2013 at the National Universities Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, with ngREN, the Nigerian NREN, as host. The AGM was preceded on 2nd July by a meeting of WACREN’s Board of Directors.
The opening ceremony of these events was chaired by Prof. Ruqayyah Rufa’i, Honourable Federal Minister of Education of Nigeria, in the presence of Senior Staff Members of the Ministry and Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National University Commission of Nigeria.
Highlights included the adoption of a Constitution, announcement of the appointment of a full-time Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of a newly constituted Board of Directors.
Dr. Boubakar Barry who was announced as the new CEO will resume office on October 1st 2013. Dr. Barry holds a PhD in Nuclear Electronics and a Master’s Degree in Nuclear Physics from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany. He is currently the Coordinator of the Research and Education Networking Unit (RENU) at the Association of African Universities in Ghana, which has largely contributed to the emergence of National and Regional Research and Education Networks in Africa. He is also a Lecturer of Computer Networks and Electronics at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD), and Chairman of the Network Information Center (NIC) of Senegal, which manages the country-code Top Level Domain .sn.
The report of the Search and Nomination Committee established to manage the transition was unanimously endorsed by the out-going board and the AGM. The Committee, chaired by the out-going WACREN Chairperson, proposed several amendments to the size, composition and powers of the organs of WACREN. It also identified a Chairperson for the first Board of Directors under the new Constitution who was announced at the AGM as Dr. Nii Quaynor by the out-going Chair, Prof. Tiémoman Koné.
Dr. Quaynor, an inductee into the 2013 Internet Hall of Fame is recognised as one of the individuals instrumental in the early design and development of the Internet. He pioneered Internet development and expansion throughout Africa for nearly two decades, establishing some of Africa's first Internet connections and helping set up key organizations, including the African Network Operators Group. He also was the founding chairman of AfriNIC, the African Internet numbers registry. He earned a PhD in Computer Science in 1977, from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and helped establish the Computer Science Department at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, where he has taught since 1979. He was the first African to be elected to the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and served as an at-large director of ICANN for the African region from 2000 to 2003. Dr. Quaynor was a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on ICT, Chair of the OAU Internet Task Force and President of the Internet Society of Ghana. In 2007, the Internet Society awarded him the Jonathan B. Postel Service Award for his pioneering work in advancing the Internet in Africa. He is also a member of the IGF Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group (MAG)
The nomination committee will continue it's work with the community at large to identify suitable candidates for the remaining seats on the board and finalise the process by August 31st 2013.