Abu-Ghazaleh: Tunisian Academic and Research Network (RNU) Joins GÉANT and ASREN Networks under the AfricaConnect2 Project

Amman, Jordan, Tunis, Tunisia - H.E. Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) and Prof. Habib Youssef, Director General of Centre de Calcul El Khawarizmi (CCK), the entity responsible for the management of the Tunisian National Research and Education Network (RNU), have signed an agreement under which ASREN will provide a 1 Gbps connection between CCK and the pan-European GÉANT network through ASREN’s Point of Presence (PoP) in London.

RNU is the Tunisian National Research and Education Network (NREN) which provides internet connectivity, applications and services to the research and education (R&E) communities in Tunisia. This agreement will allow researchers, academics and students to get access to the global R&E networking infrastructure, enabling them to collaborate with peers in Europe, USA, Latin America, Asia and Africa, in addition to other Arab countries.

The agreement marks Tunisia’s re-joining the international R&E networking community in the context of the EU-funded AfricaConnect2 project. The project aims to support the development of high-capacity internet networks for R&E across Africa. AfricaConnect2 is managed by networking organisation GÉANT in conjunction with ASREN and regional sister organisations in Eastern & Southern Africa (Ubuntunet Alliance) and in West and Central Africa (WACREN).

Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of ASREN said: “We are pleased to see the pan-Arab research and education network growing rapidly, and Tunisia remains an important country with a high research and innovation profile. The connection with Tunisia will support more regional peering of R&E traffic and stronger research collaborations. ”

Prof. Habib Youssef, General Director of CCK said, “The network infrastructure of the Tunisian National Research and Education Network (RNU) has significantly improved over the last five years. It is now an all-optical network with 20 Gbps capacity in the core and providing fibre optic access to nearly 440 academic institutions and research centres, spread all over Tunisia. This has boosted our international traffic to nearly 5Gbps. We have been working for over three years on establishing direct connectivity to the pan-European network GÉANT, with the objective of giving access for the Tunisian scientific community to the numerous computational resources and rich service portfolio available on GÉANT. It is our hope that these services will further improve the many ongoing scientific and academic collaborations between Tunisian and EU researchers.”  

Mr David West, GÉANT’s project manager for the AfricaConnect2 North Africa cluster commented: “GÉANT is delighted Tunisia is reconnected to the European R&E community thanks to the AfricaConnect2 project and efforts by ASREN and CCK.  A further project phase of AfricaConnect is due to start next year and I look forward to Tunisia making the most of the project funding and support for the benefit of its community and to contribute to many international scientific and socially beneficial collaborations”.