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The AfricaConnect project aims to establish a high-capacity Internet network for research and education in Southern and Eastern Africa to provide the region with a gateway to global research collaboration.

Within the framework of the Africa Caribbean Pacific Islands (ACP) program, and as part of the EU-Africa strategy developed by the EC and the African Union Commission (AUC), AfricaConnect builds on the roadmap prepared by the FEAST study. 

The AfricaConnect project has a total budget of €14.75m, with 80% of the funding provided by the EDF (European Development Fund) following an agreement between the ACP secretariat and the EC, and the remaining funding has been contributed by the Southern and Eastern African NRENs wishing to participate in the project. The project will last four years and will consist of two phases, the first of which is to plan and procure the network, followed by an operational phase to start in year 2 of the project.

Thanks to the interconnection with its pan-European counterpart GÉANT, AfricaConnect will allow researchers, educators and students across the region not only to collaborate among themselves but also to engage in exciting joint projects with their peers in Europe and in other parts of the world.

AfricaConnect seeks to address the findings of the FEAST Study and the objectives and priorities of the ACP Connect Programme, to contribute to the modernisation and development of education and research in Sub-Saharan countries. It aims to improve connectivity for research and education within sub-Saharan Africa by providing research networking infrastructure within the region, and organising a direct interconnection of the resulting regional network to GÉANT, AfricaConnect will also build the capacity of other sub-Saharan countries that are not ready by the start of the project so that they are enabled to later join the network.

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Co-funded by the European Union, AfricaConnect2 follows the successful completion of the AfricaConnect project which helped establish a regional gateway for collaborative research and education (R&E) in Southern and Eastern Africa. It also builds on theEUMEDCONNECT project, which has provided a research and education network for Northern Africa and the Middle East since 2004.

A continuing success story​

The UbuntuNet network is the regional R&E internet network in Eastern and Southern Africa. Through the procurement and deployment of high-speed in​ternet connections across the region, between 2011 and 2014, the AfricaConnect project significantly contributed to the UbuntuNet network. 

Through its connections to the GÉANT network,​ the UbuntuNet network enables thousands of researchers and students across the region to exchange data and to collaborate more efficiently with their European and global counterparts in international R&E projects.

Implementing the UbuntuNet network meant establishing points of presence (PoPs) in major cities across the region and interconnecting them with broadband cross-border links. Historically, all intra-regional traffic had to travel via routers in London and Amsterdam – incurring delays and additional costs. Scientists, researchers and students in sub-Saharan Africa are now connected directly, able to share data quickly and to collaborate more efficiently with each other and with peers in the rest of the world. ​​

Joining forces across Africa

AfricaConnect2 also builds on the achievements of the EUMEDCONNECT project. Co-funded by the EC, EUMEDCONNECT – now in its third phase – has provided a high-capacity dedicated internet network for the R&E communities across the southern and eastern Mediterranean region since 2004. The North African project partners (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia) are now joining the pan-African programme to work towards the successful delivery of AfricaConnect2 along with the other African regions.

EU supports connectivity projects i​n Africa​

​The European Commission has successfully supported the creation and consolidation of regional R&E networks and their interconnection to the pan-European GÉANT network in different parts of the world, such as in Latin America, the Mediterranean, Asia, Central Asia, the Caribbean and, most recently, in ​the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood. 

AfricaConnect, and now AfricaConnect2, reflect the EC's objective to firmly place the African continent onto the global connectivity map for research and education.​​​​​​

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