Linking Africa and Europe

Last week saw an important step in improving research collaborations between Africa and Europe with the announcement of €14.75M of investment in the AfricaConnect project.

Modern collaborative research requires a stable and robust IT infrastructure. However African researchers interested in taking part in global research are finding that the current state of the available infrastructure in Africa is preventing them from being as active in international collaborations as they would like. AfricaConnect aims to remedy this by establishing a high-capacity Internet network for research and education in Southern and Eastern Africa. This will provide the region with a gateway to global research collaboration, making these collaborations as easy as possible.

The project brings together partners from all over Europe and Africa including the continent’s existing National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) alongside some of Europe’s. They are not alone, the project is being managed by DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) with its counterparts the UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN (West and Central African Research and Education Network). These three projects bring significant expertise in providing cutting edge networks and connecting European and African resources.

Over the next four years the project will work on building up the infrastructure so that by the end of the project the African partners will be able to maintain and improve the intra-regional African research network and its direct connection to international networks. The scheme should also accelerate the development of the Information Society in Africa, improving ordinary African’s access to IT and the global network.