African research capacity is to be boosted through a high speed network link connecting the UbuntuNet Alliance to the international research community via the Geant2 network
The connection between the UbuntuNet Alliance's network hub in London and the Geant2 network enables researchers and scholars in Sub-Saharan African universities and research institutions to share information and data and to collaborate through a 1£/s link with their peers in Europe and the rest of the world.
The UbuntuNet Alliance was founded in 2005 by the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa with the aim of establishing a research and education network backbone for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Membership of the Alliance now includes also the NRENs of Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and is open to all recognised African NRENs.
As well as creating links between national research networks it aims to join Africa to the global research community, with this connection to Geant2 the first step towards this vision.
The high capacity connection aims to bridge the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world, and enable faster collaboration on projects across the globe, irrespective of location.
It builds on an existing link between South Africa and Europe, extending the benefits of collaboration to researchers and scholars across sub-Saharan Africa.
"Research today is truly global.
"Scientists, academics and students rely on networks such as Europe's Geant to pool resources and to work together effectively, no matter where they are based.," said Viviane Reding European commissioner for information society and media.
"Bringing together the best minds from Africa and from Europe is not only beneficial for science, but beneficial for all citizens of a world that today, depends increasingly on technology, innovation and collaborative research".
"The UbuntuNet Alliance's vision is to ensure that Africa can participate effectively in the global research community with all involved reaping the benefits of closer international collaboration," commented FF Tusubira, acting CEO, UbuntuNet Alliance.
"This new high speed link with the global research and education network via Geant2 provides the bandwidth to realise our ambitions, making this announcement a major step forward for African research and our overall development.
"We are most grateful to Dante, Geant2 and Cisco Systems for making this hub and connection possible".
The link to Geant2, the world's most advanced international research and education network, enables collaboration with an estimated 30 million research and education users in 34 countries across the continent connected via the NRENs.
Additionally Geant2 allows global research collaboration through EU-funded direct connections to China, Latin America, north Africa, Middle East and south east Asia as well as links to other international networks in the USA and Canada.
Geant2 is managed by Dante, an international research and education network provider that plans, builds and manages networks that enable researchers to collaborate globally and share information from worldwide locations.
Dai Davies, general manager, Dante added, "This significant connection between Geant2 and UbuntuNet underpins even greater global collaboration by providing the world's first regional level connection with research and education networks in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"The fast link will ensure that African researchers have the facilities to work with their peers and will also help develop Africa's wider research base and consequently overall economy."