Hundreds of thousands of researchers, lecturers and students in Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire will now be able to take their research and education to the next level as the national RENs in the three countries have successfully connected to the WACREN backbone and ready to relay digital services institutions of higher learning and research centres.

The connections by RBER (Benin), FasoREN (Burkina Faso) and RITER (Côte d’Ivoire) come under the just-ended €26.6m European Commission co-funded AfricaConnect2 (AC2). AC2 was a project aimed at advancing research and education in Africa by connecting national research and education networks to a world-class data communications network.

WACREN’s engineers have successfully completed tests on the 10-year long-term leased links to WACREN PoPs in Abidjan, Cotonou and Ouagadougou last month.

The circuits will potentially connect more than 100 higher education institutions in the three countries to themselves, regional peers in WACREN, and the global community through a peering with the pan-European GÉANT network.  

A major milestone in the WACREN region, it is expected to enhance academic continuity, knowledge discovery and exchange at a more secure environment, affordable cost and faster pace.

The CEO of WACREN, Dr Boubakar Barry congratulated the three NRENs for opening their countries to unlimited possibilities that the connection will offer the growing academic communities in their respective countries.

“We at WACREN commend RBER, FasoREN and RITER for this milestone. They have put their countries on the world stage of research collaboration. It is our hope that the academic community in these countries will exploit the diverse advanced services, resources and opportunities that come with the connection”. 

RBER, FasoREN and RITER are the latest countries to be connected to WACREN, joining GARNET (Ghana), NgREN (Nigeria) and TogoRER (Togo). Mali is next to connect to the WACREN backbone.