The AAU has a unit called the Research and Education Networking Unit (RENU) which was established to act as a focal point in relation to initiatives focussing on ICT in education and research networking, that are currently under way in Africa. Through RENU, the AAU was instrumental in the birth of UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN. AAU also collaborates with ASREN (Arab States Research and Education Network) through the annual AFREN meetings. AAU also continues to mobilize resources for the creation of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in African countries where they don’t exist.

AFREN is a forum hosted by AAU through cooperation with diverse partners such as AfNOG, AfriNIC and the Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) to help build an all-inclusive African Research and Education Network community that addresses access to critical scientific resources at affordable prices, capacity building, content development, co-creation platforms.


The AFREN platform seeks to fulfil the following emerging roles:

  • To mobilize resources for capacity building of NRENs and the staff of NRENs and RRENs.
  • Facilitate monitoring and evaluation of the progress of RRENs and NRENs by enabling the collection of data and statistics on the progress of NRENs and RRENs.
  • Conduct studies and reviews on NRENs and RRENs and the impact of their services to African universities – and publish reports / policy briefs. Eventually be the go to place when information is required about the continental status of research and education networking.
  • Create and supervise Expert Working Groups to strengthen AfREN, RRENs and NRENs. These expert Working Groups could address the following areas:
    • Trust and Identity (e.g. EDUROAM and EDUGAIN)
    • NREN CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) Cooperation Frameworks
    • Training and Capacity Building – for NRENs and RRENs
    • Shared e-Infrastructures and Co-creation platforms (such as DATAD, living labs and innovative platforms to support Open Science, student projects and technology innovations)
    • Fundraising and Grant Opportunities for the AfREN Community

As Coordinators for the African Union’s Continental Education Strategy (CESA 16-25), the AAU is mandated by the African Union Commission to coordinate and report on the performance of all stakeholders in Higher Education (including RRENs and NRENs).


1. Riding the National Research and Education Networking Train in Africa: A Policy brief for Stakeholders. Written by Dr Lishan Adams in collaboration with the AAU (2016)

2. World Bank Report: The Role and Status of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Africa (2016)

3. The Case for National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Written by John Dyer (January 2009)




AFREN Coordinator – Ms Nodumo DHLAMINI

Association of African Universities, Trinity Avenue, East Legon, Accra, Ghana Email:


WACREN (West and Central African Research & Education Network)

Chief Executive Officer – Dr Barry Boubakar Email: Website:


Ubuntunet Alliance (The regional Research and Education Networking organization for Eastern and Southern Africa)

Dr Matthews Mtumbuka Email: Website:


ASREN (Arab States Research and Education Network)

Managing Director – Mr. Yousef Torman Email: Website: