South-South: WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance formalise collaboration

WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance recently signed an Operational Collaboration Agreement. The two recognize that they have common needs in their endeavors to interconnect their regional networks to each other; to major research and education networks; and commodity Internet Exchange Points in and outside Africa. They also indicate their willingness to make their infrastructures and services at locations abroad available to each other’s members on a cost recovery basis.

The agreement describes the geographical area which locates UbuntuNet Alliance in Eastern and Southern Africa, which is defined as comprising the DRC and Sudan and all Africa countries that lie either to the east or to the south of DRC and/or Sudan, together with the island countries in the western reaches of the Indian Ocean. Western and Central Africa is defined as the region comprising all African countries that lie south of Morocco, Algeria or Libya and also lie to the north or to the west of Sudan and/or the DRC.

NigerREN holds First General Assembly

The First General Assembly of the NigerREN was held on Saturday, December 15, 2013 at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the University of Niamey.   Professor Habibou Abarchi, Rector of the Université Abdou Moumouni and chair of the NigerREN board of directors presided over the meeting which was attended by representatives from the Universities of Maradi, Niamey, Tahoua, Zinder and Say.  

Other participants included officials from research institutions,  major public schools, private higher education and the head of the National Museum Boubou Hama.  The Secretary General of the Ministry in charge of ICT and telecom operator SAHELCOM were also present.

Professor Abarchi emphasized that with the impending connection of member institutions to national fiber optic backbone in 2013, the NigerREN community should actively seek to exploit this opportunity to maximize the ICT benefits.

The Nigerian REN emerges

The National Universities Commission (NUC) of Nigeria has started a procurement process for a backbone for the Nigerian Research and Education Network (ngREN).  In this initial campus interconnection phase, the project office is inviting bids for IP/MPLS based network infrastructure and services linking 27 Federal institutions.  In a complementary World Bank international competitive bid, ngREN is also looking to procure a network management centre in Abuja and multimedia infrastructure and services . 

ngREN benefits from an NUC collaboration with the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in its Tertiary Institutions Access Program to develop a broadband network to support teaching and learning with voice, data and multimedia services.   Under the auspices of its Universities Inter-Campus Connectivity (UniCC) project, the first phase of ngREN support from the USPF will establish optic fiber links between 17 selected universities and their corresponding medical colleges and teaching hospitals.  

The project has invited bids for installing ducting with fiber optic cabling and equipment with a strategic intent to ensure that where feasible, main sites and their alternates are connected via ngREN owned ducting and cabling infrastructure.  The NUC STEP-B Project manager and Head of ICT Projects, Dr Joshua Atah who is also a member of the WACREN infrastructure committee in a recent meeting spoke of the palpable excitement in the community at the prospect of high capacity links between their campuses and to the global research and education community.

TogoREN is born

After several years of collaboration, the TogoREN  was finally born on  July 13, 2012 at the University of Lome in the presence of the academic communities of Lome and Kara, and officials of private higher education and research managers in Togo.

The opening of the seminar was chaired by Professor Gbeassor,  former Minister of Higher Education and Research and current Director of Research. 


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