I have been involved for the last couple of months in designing an ICT program for Benin that is the fist step for a National Research and Education Network (NREN). The request came from the government of Benin who would like to get their universities connected to the rest of the world.
Currently, there are 70,000 students at the University of Abomey Calavi sharing a 6Mb Internet connexion and around 10,000 at the University of Parakou sharing a 2Mb Internet connexion. My parisian flat Internet connection is way better than these ones.
However, a lot of different funders tried to connect universities without success. The University of Parakou owns a corpse of a Vsat and a wireless local network. The University of Abomey Calavi is more lucky with a nice wireless network set up with the support of the Belgium Cooperation. There is also an optical fiber on 400 km, propriety of Benin Telecom, between the two universities but not used to connect them.
My report on building a NREN is in the hands of the the government of Benin and I hope that they will do their best to improve connectivity in their country. In brief, my recommendations are to set up an entity to manage the NREN, mutualize infrastructure, reinforce campus local networks, interconnect universities and reinforce connectivity using submarine cables.