​Launch of West and Central African Research and Education Network opens opportunities for new and exciting Africa-Europe collaborations

March 22​​, 2018 | Lomé, Togo and Amsterdam, the Netherlands

On the first day of the annual WACREN conference, held in Togo’s capital city Lomé this year, attendees had the honour of receiving Togo’s Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou’s blessing on the official launch of the WACREN network. 

WACREN, the W​est and Central African Research Network, is one of the three regional partners GÉANT cooperates with in the AfricaConnect2 project. Funded by the European Union and in collaboration with ASREN and the UbuntuNet Alliance, the project aims to support the development, consolidation and use of high-capacity national and regional R&E networks across Africa and thus provides the African and European R&E communities with unrivalled opportunities for global collaborations.

Initially, the WACREN network will provide a 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second) link from Lagos, Nigeria to London, UK where it interconnects with the pan-European GÉANT network and from there to over 100 countries worldwide. As part of the contract, an additional link will go out from Lagos terminating in Accra, Ghana. The implementation of this contract represents not only the connecting of two WACREN countries, but also forms the building blocks for the WACREN backbone in support of R&E communities across the entire Central and Western part of the African continent. 

After a glorious welcoming choir, the Prime Minister entered the assembly hall, accompanied by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Togo and the chair of WACREN’s Board of Directors. Welcoming remarks by WACREN’s CEO Dr. Boubakar Barry were followed by a brief presentation by XON, the IP equipment provider of the WACREN network, and an opening address by Prof. Octave Nicoué Broohm, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Togo. Prime Minister Komi Sélom Klassou was then invited to officially launch the network. The symbolic ‘press of the button’ was completed while the attendees watched the process on a large screen behind the stage. 

Connecting via video-conference, GÉANT CEO Erik Huizer ​congratulated WACREN - as well as the network and equipment operators MainOne and XON – on the newly launched network, bringing the West and Central African Research Network into the global R&E networking community. Commenting on the occasion, he said, “GÉANT is committed to our continuous work with Prof. Barry and his team at the WACREN secretariat, as well as our colleagues in the West and Central African NRENs. We look forward to continuous fruitful and constructive collaborations.” He then symbolically raised a glass to WACREN’s success and ended by wishing “WACREN’s backbone to be resilient and its availability high!”

About GÉANT:

GÉANT is Europe’s leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe's economic growth and competitiveness. The organisation develops, delivers and promotes advanced network and associated e-infrastructure services, and supports innovation and knowledge-sharing amongst its members, partners and the wider research and education networking community.

For more information, visit www.geant.org

About AfricaConnect2:

AfricaConnect2 is an EU-funded pan-African connectivity project with a total budget of €26.6m covering a period of 3.5 years. It aims to support the development and consolidation of high-capacity regional internet networks for R&E across Africa and their interconnection with the pan-European GÉANT network, creating a continental gateway for collaborative research and education across and beyond Africa.

For more information, visit www.africaconnect2.net​

About WACREN: ​

WACREN is the West and Central African Research and Education Network. The objectives of the organisation are the promotion and establishment of interconnections between national research and education networks in West and Central Africa to form a regional research and education network, the interconnection of this network with other regional and continental networks, and the provision of services aiming at fostering collaboration between research and education institutions in the region, as well as between these institutions and their peers at a continental and international level. To achieve its goals, WACREN works not only with educational and research institutions, but also with bodies such as regional economic communities (ECOWAS, ECCAS, UEMOA), telecommunications regulators (WATRA) and a number of national policy and decision-making institutions in West and Central Africa.  WACREN was constituted in 2010 and currently includes 11 participating NRENs in the region.

For more information, visit www.wacren.net​