wo is whoEnabling Virtual Research and Education Communities (14-18 March 2016)
The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) held its 2nd Annual General Meeting in Dakar Senegal this week – in collaboration with the Senegal Research and Education Network (snRER).  The events began with key side events in partnership with global partners in the research and education arena. These events included:

  1. Promoting Open Science in Africa
  2. Federated Identity Management – What, Why and How
  3. Federated Identity and Services in snRER

WACREN’s mission is to build and operate a world class network infrastructure, develop state of the art services, promote collaboration among national, regional, international research and education communities and build the capacity of the REN (Research and Education Network) community.

Realizing the widening digital divide between African higher education and their counterparts in the more developed countries largely due to the prohibitive bandwidth prices and poor ICT infrastructure, in 2005 the Association of African Universities (AAU) member institutions tasked the AAU Secretariat to devise means of assisting them access bigger bandwidth at discounted prices. The Association’s response was the creation of the Research and Education Network Unit (RENU) that has spearheaded the creation of national and regional research and education networks (NRENs and RERNs) such as the UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN.

WACREN and UbuntuNet Alliance have assisted several universities across the continent increase their capacity and power to negotiate substantially discounted prices with the Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa. In addition RENU trained several network managers, published literature including a manual, brochures and policy briefs on NRENs and produced policy briefs for university leaders, ICT managers in Africa and other ICT users.  The AAU Secretariat will continue to work with regional RENs in these two aspects.

The AAU Secretariat would like to congratulate WACREN on this milestone.