The Arab region consists of 22 countries in Asia and Africa, with a total population of about 360 million people, of which 50% are younger than 25 years old. This large young population creates challenges for the competitive strength and vitality of the region. By up-scaling education and building innovation capabilities through enhanced research infrastructure, the region will most likely capture the vital energy of youth and meet their ambitions for more opportunities and inspiration, and hopefully reverse a growing brain drain phenomena resulting from high unemployment.
Challenges and issues are tremendous with limitations on funding, inadequacy of educational resources, and lacking of ICT infrastructures and connectivity. Many Arab governments have realized this critical status and introduced educational reforms and invested in developing infrastructures to improve performance. The key to succeed is to collaborate for a transfer of foreign knowledge, technology and expertise as well as sharing of resources. A common platform and infrastructure integration for a pan - Arab regional e-Infrastructure linked to advanced resources and tools at foreign institutions can help support this collaboration and transition to a more science and technology nurtured educational environment.
e-Infrastructure represents an innovative resource for research and education and a powerful scientific instrument, with more and more demand for distributed computations to analyse, model, simulate and visualize diverse datasets and applications. It is based on leading edge and high-performance networks that connect universities and research institutions at large. The development of these networks is seen critical to the competitiveness of research, advancement of science and technology, and development of economies and welfare of societies.
ASREN is keeping up with the evolution of e-Infrastructure and connectivity internationally and started concrete steps towards interconnecting researchers and academics across the Arab States by launching its first PoP in London Telecity and working with its partners on new PoPs in Lebanon, Egypt and the Morocco region. ASREN is also supporting the development of NRENs in some Arab countries.