Words: Yasmeen AlKouz (ASREN) and Silvia Fiore (GÉANT)
2020 is ending with good news for the research and education (R&E) community in Algeria: the international connectivity has just been upgraded from 2.5 to 10 Gbps with the support of the EU co-funded AfricaConnect3 project. AfricaConnect3 fosters the development of African R&E communities across the continent, interconnecting them with their counterparts around the world, by establishing secure, adequate and affordable network infrastructures.
The Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST), Algeria’s partner organisation in AfricaConnect3, runs the Algerian Research Network (ARN) responsible for delivering value-added networking and connectivity services to the country’s scientists, academics and students.
“The upgrade of our international connection is driven by user demand. Algerian researchers, teachers and students are now even better positioned to engage in international collaborations with their peers around the world and leave their mark.” Hacene Belbachir, CEO at CERIST.
“We look forward to providing more dedicated network support and to improving services to our user communities.” Aouaouche El-Maouhab, ARN Manager at CERIST.
Algeria has been connected continuously to Europe since 2004, making it the longest connected partner country in the regional networking projects managed by the pan-European network GÉANT. The country’s international connectivity has seen a sharp increase since then, going from an initial circuit of 45Mbps in 2004 to 2.5Gbps under AfricaConnect2 in 2016.
ARN currently interconnects 57 universities, 25 institutes of higher education and 20 research institutes with a total of around 1,500,000 students and 100,000 staff and scientists. Thanks to dedicated international R&E connectivity, Algerian user communities will participate more in data-intensive global collaborative research, such as the LHC ATLAS experiments, and earth observation missions which entail an enormous numerical workload and geographically distributed analysis, and therefore require stable access to the global R&E network fabric.
Having previously been a partner in the EUMEDCONNECT project since 2002, Algeria joined the AfricaConnect programme in June 2015 during the second project phase as a member of the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN), together with Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. ASREN is the regional partner responsible for delivering the AfricaConnect3 project in the North African region. ASREN is supported by the pan-European networking organisation GÉANT which is tasked with the overall coordination as well as procurement activities within the project.
“In these unprecedented times of crisis that we are living in, it is important to join forces and give students and learners around the world the opportunity to access digital transformation. The connectivity boost in Algeria is expected to enhance research and education collaborations across both shores of the Mediterranean. We at GÉANT look forward to continuing working with ARN and ASREN to optimise the infrastructure in support of our user communities”. Erik Huizer, CEO at GÉANT.
Yousef Torman, Managing Director at ASREN said: “We sincerely believe that this connectivity upgrade will uplift the efficiency and productivity of research and education communities in Algeria, bringing us one step closer to achieving our vision of boosting scientific research, innovation and education levels across North Africa, the Middle East and the wider Arab region to the highest standards in the world. On behalf of ASREN, I would like to thank the European Union for their e contributions in the context of AfricaConnect3 that have been so critical for this achievement.”