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UbuntuNet Alliance, World Bank Power SomaliREN’s Connectivity to the UbuntuNet Network under AfricaConnect2

UbuntuNet Alliance for Research and Education Networking is pleased to announce that it has successfully connected SomaliREN, the National Research and Education Network (NREN) of Somalia to the UbuntuNet network, the data network for NRENs in Eastern and Southern Africa under the €26.6m European Commission co-funded AfricaConnect2 project.

SomaliREN’s connection to the UbuntuNet backbone follows the awarding of a 10 year contract to telecom network provider Somcast Networks LLC to provide an STM 1 circuit from the UbuntuNet Alliance’s Point of Presences (PoPs) between Dar es Salaam and Mogadishu.

The contract was awarded to Somcast Networks after the World Bank paid SomaliREN’s AfricaConnect2 Advance Payment to UbuntuNet Alliance in November 2015 under a $3.5 million project aimed at providing connectivity to the country’s higher education sector.

The NREN’s connection to the UbuntuNet network brings to 8, the total number of NRENs connected to the regional research and education backbone after KENET (KENYA), MoRENet (Mozambique), RENU (Uganda), RwEdNet (Rwanda), TENET (South Africa), TERNET (Tanzania) and ZAMREN (ZAMBIA).

Welcoming the development, UbuntuNet Alliance CEO, Dr. Pascal Hoba said: “UbuntuNet Alliance is proud to confirm that despite various challenges, SomaliREN is now connected to the UbuntuNet Network. It is exciting to welcome our colleagues from the Somali Research and Education networking community; we sincerely believe that this connection will stimulate collaborations between Somalia and the global R&E community.

Connecting SomaliREN is part of our strategic vision and mission to connect all NRENs in Eastern and Southern Africa between themselves and to others parts of the continent and the global R&E community.  On behalf of UbuntuNet Alliance, I would like to thank the  European Commission, the Africa Connect2, the World Bank, Somcast LLC  and the government of  Somalia for their respective contributions that have been so critical for this achievement,’ said Dr. Hoba.

His counterpart, Abdullahi Bihi Hussein, CEO of SomaliREN says: “We are pleased that SomaliREN is finally connected to the UA regional backbone. It is a dream come true for our NREN as well as the Somali higher education and research community and institutions. This marks the beginning of the realization of a grand vision to connect all our research and education institutions among themselves and with their global partners so that access to research and education facilities and resources is achieved. We thank all partners for making this possible despite the challenges and limitations imposed by the realities on the ground. The UbuntuNet Alliance, the EU, the World Bank Group, the KTH and Al-Azhar Skolan in Sweden, the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Technology of the Federal Government of Somalia and our own community comprising of the member institutions of SomaliREN have all contributed to the achievement of this remarkable milestone.”