A Virtual Workshop on Collaboration between AfriGEO & AfricaConnect3

 Wednesday, 19 August 2020
 10:00am – 11:30am GMT
The main objective of this workshop is to provide insight on potential collaboration between the African Regional Research and Education Networks, with the support of the AfricaConnect3 project, and the African Group on Earth Observation (AfriGEO).
AfriGEO and AfricaConnect3 Collaboration
Among other activities and objectives, AfricaConnect3 project aims to support the African regional research and education communities (like AfriGEO and its member institutions) through the provision of dedicated and high bandwidth internet access via the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of each country in Africa. A dedicated activity for this purpose was included in the description of action in the AfricaConnect3 contract. This activity is led by the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) in collaboration with sister regional African RENs (UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN).
Representing UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN, ASREN will cooperate with AfriGEO Secretariat to approach all research centers and universities to explore the status (and opportunities) of connectivity and access needs for these institutions. It is also important to explore the presence of an NREN in the country where that center/university is located and if it is connected to that NREN. It is crucial for the regional centers to be connected to the research and education networks in order to be able to utilize the regional internet links. They will also promote the deployment of shared services for these communities starting with eduroam and federated access including eduGAIN.
Advocacy will be conducted for the needs of AfriGEO in terms of data exchange and access mechanisms. It is necessary to lobby at the level of EU, AUC and other potential support organisations for a new project dedicated for these communities and for providing them with a cloud-based platform.
Workshop Objectives
  • Provide AfriGEO with insight on research and education networks and their role in supporting the developments of research and education.
  • Assess the GEO and AfriGEO community needs and demands in terms of connectivity, access to resources, computing and storage etc.
  • Present the services provided by research and education networks to support the collaboration between research and education communities, like eduroam and eduGAIN.
  • Present the AfricaConnect3 project with a focus on supporting and engaging with research and education communities especially AfriGEO.
  • Discuss collaboration opportunities.
  • Prepare the AfriGEO community to the survey on the status of connectivity and services provided by NRENs and the actual needs and demands for connectivity, services and capacities.
Target Participants
AfriGEO member institutions, universities, and regional research centers. This includes managers, directors, IT directors, researchers and academics.
  Welcome & Opening
 - Stephanie Truille-Baurens, International Cooperation Officer, European Commission, Belgium
 - Phoebe Odour, PoC AfriGEO Secretariat, RCMRD
 - Yousef Torman, Managing Directer, ASREN - representing African RENS 
  Phoebe Odour, PoC AfriGEO Secretariat, RCMRD, Kenya
  Tiwonge Banda, Projects Manager, UbuntuNet Alliance, Malawi
  Chris Atherton, Research Engagement Officer, GÉANT, UK
  Luis Eliecer Cadenas, CEO, RedCLARA, Chile
  Vanessa Ntinu, Advocacy and Donor Engagement Officer, GEANT, UK
  Yousef Torman, Managing Director, ASREN, Jordan
  11:10   AfriGEO Community Stories (Connectivity Challenges & Needs)
  Discussion, Q&A
About RENs in Africa:
Research and Education Networks are dedicated networks to support and satisfy the research and education demanding needs for resources, applications, massive volumes of data, high performance, grid and cloud computing, and content. NRENs are a vital component in e-learning, e-science and e-research strategies.  Three Regional Research and education represent the African Research and Education Networks:
  1. The Ubuntunet Alliance (UA) www.ubuntunet.net
  2. WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network www.wacren.net.
  3. ASREN: the Arab States Research and Education Network www.asrenorg.net
The three African RRENs are working very closely to support the developments on NRENs in the African countries and to help them to connect to the global research and education networks so that African research and education communities can collaborate with research and education communities around the world and can have wider access to research and education resources and services. There are over 120 NRENs worldwide, 38 of them in Africa.
The African RRENs are also coordinating and working with the pan European Academic and Research Network (GÉANT), the largest regional research and education network connected to all research and education networks around the globe. https://www.geant.org/
About AfricaConnect3:
Following the success of AfricaConnect1 (2011-2014) and AfricaConnect2 (2015-2019), AfricaConnect3 Project started in November 2019 as a continuation of the European Commission to support the developments of research and education networks and infrastructures in Africa with more focus on users and research and education communities to satisfy their needs in terms of services and applications. To support the African RRENs, the European Commission decided to sign the AfricaConnect3 project contract directly with UA, WACREN and ASREN to cover the services for their respective regions in addition to GÉANT for network capacity and cloud infrastructures procurement. https://www.africaconnect3.net/.
About AfriGEO:
The African Earth Observation community is continuously growing and is establishing its presence in the region and in the global arena, taking also benefit from the national and regional programs and from the on-going cooperation initiatives with a great number of external Partners.  The AfriGEO initiative, developed within the GEO framework, will strengthen the link between the current GEO activities with existing capabilities and initiatives in Africa and will provide the necessary framework for countries and organizations to access and leverage on-going bilateral and multilateral EO-based initiatives across Africa, thereby creating synergies and minimizing duplication for the benefit of the entire continent.
AfriGEO is a member of the global Group on Earth Observation (GEO) that works on providing supporting decision making through the provision of coordinated, comprehensive and sustained information. AfriGEO will link earth observation resources worldwide across multiple Societal Benefit Areas like biodiversity, disaster resilience and water resources management.