African online learning platform eLearn Africa and the Association of African Universities announced a partnership earlier this spring which would expand the platform’s reach to at least 10 million African students. Now comes news that telecommunications juggernaut Globacom has pledged to deploy internet connectivity to West Africa’s colleges and universities, according to a report from Vanguard. Here’s a closer look at the plan, along with the critical role it will play in helping build the region’s digital capacity.
An Ambitious Plan
Globacom Enterprise Group Commercial Coordinator Folu Aderibigbe told a group of policy makers, academics, network managers and other stakeholders gathered at the third annual conference (and four annual general meeting) of the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) that his company was uniquely positions to provide “efficient and cost-effective connectivity” to higher education institutions and other organizations in Ghana, Nigeria, and the Benin Republic, according to Vanguard.
The hope? That Globacom’s innovative Glo1 international submarine cable will eventually be able to seamlessly deliver connectivity between West Africa’s higher education institutions and Europe.
Supporting Research and Development
Togo’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Professor Octave Nicoué Broohm expressed his support for Globacom’s pledge, emphasizing the need for enhanced digital capacities in order to support academic research. He also shared initiatives currently underway in Togo aimed at boosting research, including restoring fiber optic cable connections to all universities, building Data Centres, and removing taxes.
Cathrin Stöver of GÉANT, Europe’s leading collaboration on e-infrastructure and services for research and education, reiterated Professor Broohm’s concerns, calling for lower bandwidth costs within the region to ensure that all African students secured access to the globe’s knowledge bases.
These changes, says African Development Bank Vice President of the Agriculture, Human and Social Development Complex Dr. Jennifer Blanke, are essential to stimulating and sustaining growth and development throughout Africa.
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