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Inspired by recent advances in the provision of healthcare and medical education through the use of Information and Communication Technology, noting India’s long history of assisting Africa in capacity building programmes and recognizing that Africa-India cooperation can play a major role in harnessing the benefits of globalisation for mutual advantage, the former President of India Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, during the inaugural session of the Pan-African Parliament held in Johannesburg on 16th September 2004, proposed in his address to connect all the 53 nations of the African Union by a satellite and fiber optic network that would provide effective communication for Tele-education, Tele-medicine, Internet, Videoconferencing and VoIP services and also support e-Governance, e-Commerce, infotainment, resource mapping, meteorological services etc.

As a follow up of the initiative of Dr. Kalam, the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India proceeded to set up an e-Network now called Pan-African e-Network.

The Pan-African e-Network project is being funded by the Government of India with an approved budgeted cost of INR 5.429 Billion i.e. about US$ 117 Million. The Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India has been designated as the Nodal Ministry. TCIL has been designated as the turnkey Implementing Agency. In this capacity, TCIL’s role is to design the network, procure & install the equipment, provide O&M support for 5 years after commissioning the network in respective countries and provide consultancy to the Ministry of External Affairs,

Government of India on all matters related to the project and 1813 students are enrolled under this project. University of Madras is offering MSc(IT) and BBA programmes under this project to the following countries:Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Mauritius, Somalia, Egypt, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Zambia, Sudan, Madagascar, Niger, Mozambique, Guinea, Gabon.