On 18 December 2018, a new €37.5 million contract agreement between the European Union and the three regional Research and Education Networks (RENs), namely UbuntuNet Alliance, West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) and the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), in partnership with Europe’s leading collaboration on e-infrastructure and services GÉANT, was signed under AfricaConnect3.
Following the success of predecessor projects ‘AfricaConnect’ and ‘AfricaConnect2’, the aim of the subsequent project is to support high-speed connectivity in Africa and provide services to National Research and Education Networks or research and education across Africa.
Domenico Rosa, Head of Unit for Strategic Partnerships EU-African Union and EU-ACP at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Development and International Cooperation says: “Through this connectivity project, we are creating new opportunities especially for Africa’s dynamic and innovative youth. It will crucially contribute to job creation, one of the major goals of the Africa-Europe Alliance”.
Matthews Mtumbuka, CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance also highlights the importance of the project: “What we can do now with this project would otherwise have taken decades. It really helps leapfrogging connectivity in Africa”.
The programme also aims to facilitate cooperation between students, scientists and researchers from both continents and to promote a true partnership.
Under AfricaConnect3, which will run for four years until 2023, the EU contribution is worth €30 million, while the three African regional RENs are providing €7.5 million.