The 6th Annual Conference of Stakeholders of WACREN took place on March 15-19, 2021. The AmLight team, in collaboration with REN representatives from Latin America and South Africa, presented “Introducing new technologies, innovations, and collaborations in R&E Networking between Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the US through new international projects.” This year’s conference was virtual, considering the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, and was hosted by the West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) in partnership with the Agence pour le Développement du Numérique (ADN Benin). The multi-session, online rendezvous drew a wide range of participants. They included higher education policy and decision-makers, national research and education networks (NRENs)  and their stakeholder communities, government ministries and agencies in charge of higher education (HE) and digital transformation, regional political bodies, academics, and researchers across the region.

The WACREN 2021 theme “Digital Transformation for Development”, was carefully selected in view of the current wave of discourse and pertinence of the subject across the world. Digital transformation has become quite imperative in almost every facet of life now. Therefore, it is important to understand the role it plays in revamping infrastructure, applications, and services RENs offer to all stakeholders in our ecosystem and society as a whole. The participants were able to share ideas, experiences, and thoughts, on the impact of digital transformation on development in society.

WACREN 2021 is the biggest rendezvous of all stakeholders of research and education in West and Central Africa. It brings together a diverse REN community and ecosystem. Year after year, the event has served as the turf where the thinkers meet the deciders, and the doers meet the users. Key stakeholders of REN in West and Central Africa meet to map the future and direction of research and education network and innovation.