This article was originally published on the UbuntuNet Alliance website.
South Sudan is among the countries covered by UbuntuNet Alliance’s mandate for engagement, but currently does not have a National Research and Education Network (NREN). As a result, it is not a member of nor receives affordable broadband connectivity from the Alliance. In a bid to change this reality, the Alliance’s CEO, Prof Madara Ogot, accompanied by Nicky Wako from the European Regional Research and Education Network, GEANT, met with Dr Santinto Dicken, Charge d’Affairs of the Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan in Brussels.
These preliminary discussions were on the firsts steps that should be taken to make the establishment of an NREN in the South Sudan a reality. Key agenda items discussed included identification of potential partners inside and outside the country, relevant stakeholders, and avenues for further engagement with the Government of South Sudan, who, it was agreed, would need to take ownership of the process.
South Sudan is one of the youngest countries in the world, receiving its independence from Sudan in 2011. With an estimated population of 11.5 million, the country’s higher education sector is served by approximately 30 colleges and universities. The students and staff of these institutions would be the primary beneficiaries from the establishment of an NREN and the development of an in-country fibre network provided with affordable broadband connectivity from the Alliance’s R&E network.