Close to 30 participants, drawn from the Board of Directors, Members, Partners and Secretariat met for an in-depth conversation to chart a new path for WACREN and make it future-fit.

The three-day exercise to plan for the next three years was held in the Gorée Island in Sénégal. Brilliant exchanges of ideas, perspectives and opinions characterised the Strategy Planning Session at the famous Senegalese island. The beauty of the discussion was the openness and forthrightness. 

Key highlights of the sessions include group work and presentations on the strategic planning process and open floor conversations on critical areas that WACREN should prioritise in its strategy from 2022 to 2024.

The CEO of WACREN, Dr. Boubakar Barry, said the exercise with its outcomes has formed a solid foundation on which the Secretariat can develop a strategy document to guide the steps of WACREN for the next three years.

The Board Chair of WACREN, Dr. Venant Palanga, commended all participants and delegates for the open and cordial sharing of ideas, perspectives and opinions to move WACREN forward in the right direction.

As part of  the strategy session, WACREN introduced seven NREN Ambassadors who would work towards enhancing advocacy for RENs in the region. 

The Ambassadors include Prof. Aderemi Aaron-Anthony Atayero, former Vice-Chancellor of Covenant University – Nigeria; Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund – Nigeria; and Prof. Octave Nicoué Broohm, former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Togo.

The other Ambassadors  are Prof. Bakary Cissé, PADES Coordinator at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mali; Prof. Tiémoman Koné, Director General of the Virtual University of Côte d’Ivoire; Rev. Prof. Edwin J.J. Momoh, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, EBKUST, Sierra-Leone; and  Mr. Moctar Yedaly, former Head Information Society Division at the African Union Commission.

The Ambassadors who made it to Sénégal met the Board and the Secretariat of WACREN in Dakar to begin formulating an advocacy action plan that would also feed into WACREN strategy for the next three years. 

At the meeting, the Ambassadors unanimously agreed that the complexities characterising the WACREN region called for a cogent, well-informed approach to advocacy if national RENs are to carry out their mandate successfully.

They promised to bring their expertise, experience and influence to bear in attracting the attention and courting the support of policy institutions, decision-makers and funding bodies for national RENs.