Co-funded by the European Union, AfricaConnect3 builds on the work carried out by AfricaConnect
(2011-2015) and AfricaConnect2
(2015-2019) which contributed to support the creation, development and use of high-capacity research and education networks in Africa.
Through those two successive phases, 19 countries were connected to the three Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs):
Eastern and Southern Africa NRENs form the UbuntuNet Alliance (UA): Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
West and Central Africa NRENs form the Western and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN): Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo
Northern African NRENs are grouped under the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN): Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia
AfricaConnect3 will consolidate and expand the results of previous projects in contributing to enhance human capital development in Africa (the Overall Objective of this Action).
More specifically, it will seek to unlock the potential of education and research through increased access of African education and research institutions to digital infrastructures and technologies (the Specific Objective of the Action).
By facilitating access to educational and research resources and enabling research collaboration, AfricaConnect3 will support the digital transformation of those sectors and digital skills development.
The Action will be managed through four different grant contracts which all contribute to the implementation of a coherent action composed of common work packages.
In order to address the different challenges faced by NRENs and RRENs, the Action will work at different levels:
Output 1: The access to tertiary education and research institutions will be enhanced by establishing secure, adequate and affordable network infrastructures, such as high-speed broadband connectivity
Output 2: The development of Research and Education through dedicated services, applications and user support will be fostered
Output 3: Adequate human resource capacities and expertise will be built within RRENs and NRENs
Output 4: Awareness of the role of digital transformation for education and research will be raised by emphasising the enabling potential of digital tools and their multiplier effect for skills development, employability and economic growth
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 internet 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 in 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.
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
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.
This project has finished.