Pan-African research network gets green light for funding
The European Commission has approved funding for the first phase of the AfricaConnect Initiative which aims to link African research centres and link them to the existing European research and education network GÉANT. The approval follows a one-year feasibility study called FEAST - 'Feasibility Study for African-European Research and Education Network Interconnection' - which reported that there is now sufficient IT infrastructure in the continent to support the Initiative.
Much of the reasoning behind that readiness appears to rely on the arrival of the series of submarine fibre optic cables that have landed along Africa's eastern seaboard in the last twelve months. Most national research and education networks, according to FEAST, are now near, or will soon be near, one of the cables.
However, challenges remain in terms of getting institutions connected to the cables in a cost-effective way and the FEAST report warned that human capacity issues and policy frameworks within individual institutions are yet to be resolved.