Second phase of pan-Africa e-network, adding 12 more countries to the New Delhi-aided long distance education programme has been launched by India. Union External Affairs Minister, SM Krishna underlined the importance of Indian partnership with African continent, while conversing with senior ministers of 12 African countries via video-conference. A brainchild of India's former president APJ Abdul Kalam, the e-network seeks to bridge the digital divide across the 53-nation African continent and seeks to provide tele-education through a fibre-optic network. India has signed agreement with 47 countries in Africa. However, the infrastructure has been completed in 34 of them.
The seven Indian educational institutions associated with the project are Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Amity University, University of Madras, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, University of Delhi and Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur. The countries that joined the network earlier included Burundi, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda. Eleven countries included in the first phase of the project launched last year were Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and Seychelles.