NgREN Signs Agreement With WACREN On AfricaConnect2

The Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN), recorded a mile stone in its efforts of connecting and enabling Nigerian universities and institutions to share resources, communicate, collaborate and partner with member institutions and other countries for effective research and learning, as it signed an agreement with the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN), in order to maximise the benefits of the 2nd phase of the AfricaConnect Project, (AfricaConnect2).

This agreement which signals a new vista for the Nigerian University System (NUS), through the NgREN, has provided more opportunities for the Nigerian Universities to collaborate with other country’s universities for global research.

Speaking at the brief ceremony, held at the NgREN secretariat, on Monday, 22 May, 2017, the Chief Executive Officer of WACREN, Dr. Boubakar Barry said Nigeria is the 5th country to connect the AfricaConnect2, after Mali, Togo, Cote d’ Ivoire and Burkina Faso. He said that the Project, expected to run from 2015 to 2018 would consolidate on the achievements of the AfricaConnect, adding that Lagos and the NgREN secretariat would be among the hubs of the project.

Eko-Konnect Hosts Meeting on Nigerian Participation in AfricaConnect2

The AfricaConnect2 Project is 80% funded by the European Union with the potential of dramatically transforming Internet access for higher education and research institutions in Africa. Participating countries must collectively contribute the 20% counter funding to the total budget (€26.6 million) being provided by the European Union.
As of March 2017 Nigeria had not paid its share of the counter-funding unlike other West African countries. Given Nigeria’s position and role in the region this was a cause for some concern for WACREN especially when the connectivity providers have been discussing contracts for connectivity for participating countries, and are in a terminal stage of the process. The situation could potentially disenfranchise Nigerian institutions and lose access to cheap connectivity the opportunity of European Union support.
Eko-Konnect convened an emergency meeting of Vice-Chancellors and ICT Directors to discuss the situation at the Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja Lagos on 8 March 2017. Boubakar Barry, WACREN CEO presented the history of how the AfricaConnect projects had evolved up to this point and why Nigeria was strategic in its plan to build a high capacity connectivity backbone across West Africa to deliver connectivity and NREN related services. He and expressed the hope that NgREN or any other willing consortia would speedily take up the opportunity and provide the required counter funding.

After some discussion that included WACREN CTO Omo Oaiya, it was agreed that Owen Iyoha GM, Eko-Konnect would prepare a brief product paper for distribution to the attendees explaining in more details the benefits of Internet bandwidth to be delivered through the AfricaConnect2 project and the different pricing discount models available to institutions that participate in the first stage of counter funding in a consortium.

WACREN e-Research Hackfest a Success!

The West and Central African Research and Education Network WACREN collaborated with Eko-Konnect, Sci-GaIA, the Lagos State University and AfricaConnect2 to organize a 10­day WACREN eResearch Hackfest in Lagos, Nigeria from 21-30 November 2016.

The objective was to develop capacity in the region’s researchers and developers to promote open and reproducible science. Using tools that are typically utilised in developing Science Gateways, the hackfest brought researchers and software developers together for 10 days to develop prototype applications and integrate to science gateways to allow the respective communities of practice of the researchers to benefit by having easier access to the research applications and enhance collaborative research. Of the 23 selected applicants, 21 participated in the event.

The training sessions were very interactive with remote training facilitation support from Roberto Barbara of the University of Catania via skype. The event was unique in that participants were given the opportunity to immediately apply the knowledge and skills acquired. On days 1&2 of the hackfest, the training facilitators introduced the technologies to the participants. On day 3, participants introduced their use cases and the tools they would use for implementation. From days 4 to 10, participants implemented their uses cases with guidance from the training facilitators.

The hackfest was an outstanding success! All 13 use case prototypes were implemented. Participants created github and federated identity accounts to allow continued development of their use case applications and communications with each other and trainers beyond the hackfest. The fully developed use case applications will finally be hosted by the WACREN and Eko-Konnect cloud pilot infrastructure currently being developed to be available by the end of March 2017.

WACREN e-Research Hackfest

As part of WACREN participation in the European Commission Horizon 2020 Sci-GaIA project and promotion of open and reproducible scientific research, Eko-Konnect will host a 10-day e-research hackfest in the Lagos State University, Ojo.

Institutions and applicants from the region who couldn't participate in the Summer Hackfest that took place at the University of Catania, Italy in July 2016 now have the opportunity to do so closer to home and are invited to apply.

The main objective of the hackfest is to integrate scientific use cases through a pervasive adoption of web technologies and standards and make them available to their end users through Science Gateways (entities connected to distributed computing, data and services of interest to the Community of Practice the end users belong to).

Venue and dates
The hackfest will take place from 21 - 30 November 2016 at the Lagos State University (School of Transport), Ojo, Lagos: Facilitated by the Department of Computer Science.

Interested parties are encouraged to present use cases for adoption and integration into science gateways by applying for the event. The hackfest will be conducted in English and the closing date for applications is 4th November 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by 7th November 2016.

Applications and deadlines:
Participation in the e-Research Lagos Hackfest is by invitation, on the basis of proposed use cases. If you want to be selected to attend the Lagos e-research hackfest, please apply at: and choose the WACREN eResearch Application Form.

Applicants will need to upload the following documents in PDF format as part of the application:
1. A description of your use case which you will also present during the hackfest.
2. Letter of interest and support of the applicant and subsequent related activity signed by the Chief Executive of your institution and/or the Head of Department or Dean of Faculty directly responsible for the project use case using your institution's official letterhead.
3. Applicant's CV.

Prerequisite skills for applicants:
Applicants should be familiar with the use of REST APIs and should know the full stack (both front-end and back-end) of the use case they want to propose. While possessing the pre-requisite technical skills is mandatory, applicants must be affiliated with the research use case and/or the researchers responsible for the use case.

For further enquiries e-mail:

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