WACREN’s three-member delegation, led by CEO Dr Boubakar Barry, had an engaging week in Kampala at UbuntuNet Connect 2023. The team, consisting of Dr Barry, Chief Strategy Officer Omo Oaiya, and Communication and Marketing Officer Effah Amponsah, commenced the week with a session at the Project Management Board of the AfricaConnect 3 project.

The highlight of the week was the two-day conference, where Dr. Barry participated in a panel discussion on the origin and future of research and education networks (RENs) in Africa. Joined by Dr. Yousef Torman and Dr. Tusu Tusubira, with moderation by Prof. Madara Ogot, the session provided valuable insights into the historical development of RENs and the visionary perspectives shaping their future in Africa.

In a parallel session themed “Cloud-Based Solutions and Connectivity,” Mr. Oaiya presented a case study titled “Democratising the Use of Video in African Higher Education Institutions: The Africa Digital Campus.” The focus was on how WACREN is adapting existing video solutions to benefit educators and the learning community through National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). This innovative video solution aims to address the unique challenges of integrating video into African higher education, fostering partnerships with key stakeholders in the research and education sector.

During another session, Mr Amponsah delivered a presentation titled “Playing our Part – How African RENs are Contributing to Meeting Global Goals.” The essence of the presentation centered on how African RENs are generating value and contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The expectation is that this presentation will stimulate further discussions within NREN structures, leading to policy considerations and implementations supporting SDGs.

The well-attended conference served as a platform for key stakeholders from within and beyond Africa to explore ways of fostering innovative research and education communities across the continent.