West and Central African Research and Education Networking (WACREN)

For universities and research centres around the world, the Internet has become an important resource for teaching, learning and research. But, African universities have always faced important challenges to accessing cheap and reliable bandwidth. On average, an African university pays 100 times more for the cost of bandwidth than a university in North America or Europe.

IDRC's Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) program is promoting African research and education networking as a way of achieving economies of scale, reducing the price of connectivity and facilitating the sharing of scarce bandwidth. The final vision goes beyond infrastructure, cost and bandwidth (although the last is still high on the African agenda). The aim is to promote the development of human networks to enable research collaboration and teaching at the national, regional and continental level.

This grant will allow the Research and Education Networking Unit of the Association of African Universities (AAU) to take the necessary steps to establish a research and education network for West and Central Africa (WACREN). This will include undertaking feasibility studies, developing a strategic plan, adopting a legal structure, building an infrastructure and cross-border connectivity, formulating a business plan and resource mobilization strategy and negotiating with fibre owners. Capacity building will be carried out in partnership with Afnog (African Network Operators Group) and Afrinic (the Regional Registry for Internet Number Resources for Africa), and focus on managing campus networks and bandwidth optimization.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

End Date

Friday, July 26, 2013


36 months

IDRC Officer

Fourati, Khaled

Total funding

CA$ 238,200


North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Networked Economies

Project Leader

Boubakar Barry


Association of African Universities

Institution Country


Institution Website