More than 25 NREN managers in the WACREN region and beyond converged on Zoom on 9 and 21 October 2020 for a business model webinar.

The webinar – an activity under the AfricaConnect3 project empowered the NREN managers with time-tested, proven strategies to develop tailored business models for NRENs in the region and beyond.Knowledge and experience were drawn from subject matter experts and handlers of business strategies from some selected NRENs across Europe.  

Dr George Konnis (Managing Director, Cyprus NREN) advised NREN managers to explore creative and sustainable business approaches beyond the status quo and convention. 

“Thinking outside the box can ensure that NRENs become very relevant to their respective communities and thereby attracting funding,” Dr. Konnis.

Sabine Jaume Rajaonia (Strategy and International Relations Director for RENATER) challenged NREN managers to show their worth by developing and rolling out apropos services that meet the needs or inspire the user community’s demands.

Leonie Schaefar (Senior Manager, Liaison for DFN – Germany NREN) advised the participating national RENs to access support from the international NREN community in the areas of capacity building and knowledge sharing. This, she said, would make WACREN NRENs stronger against the challenges facing them.

On his part, the CEO of WACREN, Dr Boubakar Barry challenged NRENs to identify the peculiar needs of their user community and fashion out relevant services to meet those needs. He said this would make NRENs very relevant and sustainable for the longer term.

The webinar straddled various interactive features, including peer reviews of business models, peer-to-peer consultation, presentations, and discussions.

Participants learned the pros and cons of various business model approaches and which could apply to their contexts. 

Some NRENs shared experiences on their efforts to be sustainable and business ready.

The two-day sessions were moderated by the CSO of WACREN, Omo Oaiya.