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Government courts UbuntuNet to connect universities

Research and Education Network for Eastern and Southern Africa, UbuntuNet Alliance, is to provide affordable, high speed and reliable connectivity services to the country’s higher education and research institutions through the Malawi Research and Education Network (Maren).

UbuntuNet Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Mtumbuka, confirmed the development Sunday, saying it follows the award of a contract by the Ministry of Information, Civic Education and Communications Technology in collaboration with the Public Private Partnership Commission.

The initiative is part of the Digital Malawi Project which is a Government of Malawi facility being funded by the World Bank Group to the tune of K52 billion.

It aims to extend and improve access to critical ICT infrastructure for the public and private sectors, improve ICT governance, improve access to government services, and facilitate provision of e-services thereby enhancing public service delivery.

“We are very excited to be able to collaborate with the World Bank through providing large, fast and stable internet connectivity to Malawi universities and research institutions via our local entity Maren.

“We hope to leverage this relationship with the World Bank to replicate this to more countries in our region of Eastern and Southern Africa so that more institutions can benefit from the unique offering that we provide in this sector,” Mtumbuka said.

Under the contract, UbuntuNet Alliance will make available an additional 1510 megabits per second (Mbps) to Maren at the UbuntuNet’s point of presence in Blantyre for a period of 10 years.

About 1200 Mbps of the capacity will be provided through a newly procured link between Blantyre and Maputo.

Maren, which was founded in 2005, is a specialised service provider dedicated to the connectivity and value-added services needs of the Malawi’s higher education and research institutions.

It is an association of the public universities in Malawi which will be extended to include the institutions from both the public and private sector. It is run by a board comprising the universities.

Maren’s main purpose is to interconnect research and higher education institutions in Malawi and connect them to their peers globally and to the internet in general to facilitate research, teaching and learning.

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