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Africa-EU project for Africa internet

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African research and education network associations have partnered with their European counterpart in a €26.6m European Union co-funded project to provide dedicated high-speed internet all over Africa.

The UbuntuNet Alliance, the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) and West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) have partnered with their European counterpart GÉANT for the AfricaConnect2 project which follows the success of the AfricaConnect project which contributed to the creation of the UbuntuNet – the highspeed network for research and education in Eastern and Southern Africa – between 2011 and 2015.

AfricaConnect2 will develop high-capacity internet networks across the entire African continent and connect them to the European GÉANT network, allowing students, researchers and academics in Africa and beyond to collaborate.

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The connectivity boost will not only advance research and education locally with opportunities like e-learning and cloud computing, but it will equally benefit scientific studies the world over in areas such as climate change, biodiversity, food security, malaria and other infectious diseases.

The AfricaConnect2 project opens up new vista supporting collaborative research across Africa and beyond through timely access to scientific data using high-speed Internet connectivity provided by NRENs.

A central part of the recently announced Africa-EU Partnership, AfricaConnect2 will fulfil both continents wish to connect research and education communities across borders and accelerate scientific breakthroughs.

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“Science, technology and innovation figure high on the African and European agenda as means to attain socio-economic development objectives,’’ says Françoise Moreau, Head of Unit at the EC Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation.

For Pascal Hoba, CEO of the UbuntuNet Alliance, the momentum is here to seize: “Before AfricaConnect, bandwidth prices in the region were typically more than 10 times the prices in more developed parts of the world,” he said.

AfricaConnect2 is due to finish by the end of 2018.

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