TANDEM project aims to support dialogue between the EU and African Research and Educational Networks, with special attention to Western and Central Africa region. The scope is to promote cooperation by exploiting the interconnection between the European research and educational network (GÉANT) and the established African regional networks. This project aims to prepare WACREN in the deployment of e-infrastructures answering End User’s needs and taking into account policy, financial, regulatory and technical constraints.
The project will address the following specific objectives:
Obtain political and financial support to WACREN for the network implementation in view of the AfricaConnect extension
To develop strategically, WACREN needs the support of influential regional organisations. To achieve this specific objective, TANDEM will establish a dialogue platform among Policy makers, international donors, regulatory authorities, and telecom operators in order to: (i) raise awareness emphasising the importance of research and education networks as “public goods” able to contribute to countries’ economic growth; (ii) tackle specific issues to ensure WACREN sustainability beyond the end of the project such as governance, sustainable funding models, regulation, policy. Dialogue will be focused on well identified and strategic Research and Education thematic areas: health, food security, and environment.
Raise End User’s awareness
With the term “End Users”, we refer to Researchers and Academic Users of e-infrastructure services. They will be approached on behalf of the NRENs in West and Central Africa, under the WACREN umbrella. To develop sustainably, WACREN needs the support of the End Users so that they use the future e- infrastructure services provided by WACREN. Therefore raising awareness among the End Users about the benefit of the services provided by a NREN in their day-to-day work is essential.
To achieve this specific objective, TANDEM will inform about existing e-infrastructure services such as:
- Connectivity services (IP, VPNs, DNS, etc.);
- Mobility and authentication services (e.g. eduroam, identity federations, certificates);
- Applications which give access to data repositories, data visualisation tools, computing grids, etc.;
- Collaboration tools, e.g. web-conferencing, file transfer, user group management tools, meeting management tools, wiki, etc.
Gather End User requirements
In order to get more and more End Users, WACREN needs to propose suitable services answering End User’s needs. For this purpose, gathering End User needs is essential. To achieve this specific objective, TANDEM will : (i) collect and analyse the End User’s needs and expectations; (ii) identify use cases and relevant applications on strategic research and educational thematic areas (health, food security, environment); (iii) elaborate a service portfolio at national (NREN) and regional
Identify technical recommandations
In order to efficiently implement the service portfolio and to allow the efficient interconnection between the NRENs, technical issues must be tackled at different levels:
- Local (organisations);
- National (NRENs);
- Regional (WACREN);
- Global (international community). Based on the user requirements, the project will provide a comprehensive set of technical recommendations for the future implementation of e-infrastructure services.
Establish a NREN community– Develop and strengthen the NRENs
To get structured in a sustainable way, WACREN needs to support the reinforcement of the NRENs so that they are properly prepared to handle governance and economic models as well as technical matters, negotiate connectivity deals on behalf of their members, identify relevant contents, exchange experience and best practices, etc.
In this perspective, the project will reinforce the NREN community, especially the NREN Focal Points and the NREN managers, and will provide for a virtual collaboration platform with the aim of ensuring an efficient and sustainable information flow between WACREN, NRENs, Policy-Makers and End Users, as well as among NRENs themselves.
With the term NREN Focal Points, we refer to people, selected within each NREN, charged with liaising with other NRENs, with WACREN, and with the End Users. With the term NREN managers, we refer to people, selected within each NREN, charged of the NRENs strategy and implementation of the services at a national level.