West and Central Africa connects to the global R&E network to unleash its potential

26 January 2018

Internet

Cambridge and Accra |19 January 2018 - The EU-funded AfricaConnect2 project has just announced that, following the tender call to connect West and Central (W&C) Africa back in June 2016, GÉANT has awarded a 15-year contract to MainOne for connectivity services. By signing the contract through AfricaConnect2, WACREN, the regional Research and Education Network in West and Central Africa, will join the global Research and Education (R&E) networking community. In addition to that, a complementary contract was signed with XON Systems for the provision of equipment.

This comes at the time of an ever-widening digital divide. The slow and sporadic adoption of ICT technologies in W&C Africa has led to one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. In this light, the recent contract announcement will undoubtedly facilitate the digital economy and will allow WACREN to truly unleash its potential and work with its members to meet the needs of its users.

Welcoming the progress of the AfricaConnect2 project and underlining the importance of connecting the region to the global R&E network, Boubakar Barry, CEO of WACREN said: “The signing of the contracts with MainOne and XON is an important milestone in the journey WACREN has embarked on towards the provision of first-class network infrastructure for the education and research community in West and Central Africa. When the first connections will be up in the first quarter of 2018, the big hole that currently exists in the global research and education networking map will finally be closed”.

Leveraging EU funding, AfricaConnect2 was able to secure a 15-year IRU (Indefeasible Right of Use) and pay an upfront circuit provisioning cost. This supports the EU objective of creating a sustainable, high-capacity data communications network that serves higher education and research institutions across the region.

Initially, the WACREN network will provide a 10Gbps link from Lagos, Nigeria to London, UK where it interconnects with the pan-European GÉANT network, thus providing access to R&E collaborations with over 50 million researchers, academics and students across Europe. As part of the contract, an additional link will go out from Lagos terminating in Accra, Ghana. The implementation of this contract will not only connect the first two countries in West and Central Africa, but will also form the building block for the WACREN backbone in support of R&E communities across the entire Central and Western part of the African continent.

MainOne, the company which was awarded the contract for the provision of network connectivity services in the WACREN region after being successful in the highly competitive connectivity tender, is a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions in West Africa.

Source: Company Press Release