Launch of AfricaConnect, the Regional Connectivity Ramp-up Initiative

Date posted: November 29, 2012

The 2012 Africa-Euro Cooperation Forum on ICT saw the European launch of AfricaConnect, a high-capacity internet network for academic and scientific collaboration for sub-Saharan Africa.

The AfricaConnect project has seen the establishment of UbuntuNet, a high-capacity regional data network for academic and scientific collaboration in East and Southern Africa, and improved the volume and reliability of connectivity within the region and to the global research and education community.

The specific fields of research activities for the network are Health, Bio-Medical Sciences, Climate, Agriculture, Education and Environment.

Launched in Africa two weeks ago on November 15 at the UbuntuNet 2012 conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the network connects the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It also connects African and European partners via GÉANT, the pan-European (Germany, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Netherlands) research and education network.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Francis Tusubira, CEO of the UbuntuNet Alliance, stated that the network is not only intended to help science, but “change lives”.

“We can not forget that this is not only about networks. It is about people and the change we can bring to communities,” said Dr. Tusubira.

He added that borrowing from the meaning of the word Ubuntu, the project is centred around mutual responsibility in community welfare and people committing to change to “remove the isolation of researchers in Africa.”

AfricaConnect is intended to enable researchers and academics in Africa to collaborate seamlessly with each other and with research and education institutions around the world. The network supports data-intensive and time critical applications, provides fast access to web-based resources enabling research centres and universities across the region to participate in joint projects.

The project is funded by the European Commission and African partners in collaboration with DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) and the Ubuntu Alliance.

Further information is available at www.africaconnect.eu