This speech was read by the Chair of WACREN – Dr Venant Palanga. It focused on the value of national RENs and the needed support to advance them.

Ms Eléonore YAYI LADEKAN, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Benin;

Mrs Aurélie Adam Soulé Zoumarou, Minister of Digital Affairs and Digitalisation of Benin;

Pr Alkassoum MAIGA, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation of Burkina Faso;

Pr Adama Diawara, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Côte d’Ivoire

Mr Amadou KEITA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Mali


Mr Hans Christian Stausboll, Representative of the European Commission;

Dear members of the WACREN Board of Directors;

Dear members of the NREN community and of universities and higher education and research institutions in the WACREN space and beyond;

This event marks an important milestone in the existence of WACREN, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. It is also an opportunity for me to express, on behalf of our entire community, our gratitude to the European Commission for its support through the AC2 and AC3 projects, and of course to all our partners, GEANT, RENATER, Ubuntunet Alliance, ASREN, to mention only those.

I cannot pass over in silence, the support of certain governments to their NREN. Our governments must take over to perpetuate the achievements of the efforts of those who believed in the importance of NRENs in the educational and digital ecosystem of our countries.

In the context of our sub-Saharan African countries, it is almost impossible to build a viable NREN without the participation of the State and I would like to thank the States of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, without forgetting of course those of the first countries to be interconnected, namely Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, and to ask them (i.e. the governments of our countries) to continue to support their NRENs The ministers in charge of higher education and research of the established NRENs must be our spokespersons to sensitise their peers in other countries that have not yet joined the network, urging them to do so.

Without dwelling on the benefits of NRENs, I would like to tell you that WACREN is committed to providing quality services to its community and is obviously counting on the support of governments for the development and extension of its network to several other countries, which is the objective we have set ourselves and intend to achieve one way or another.

I would like to reassure our brothers in Mali that they will be connected in the very near future, and of course other countries will follow suit.

Ministers, dear participants, thank you for taking part in this ceremony to launch the national education and research networks of the neighbouring countries of Benin, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire.

I thank you.