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African Union(AU) Selects the Internet Society to Support Establishment of Internet Exchange Points across Africa

23 August 2012

Project includes 60 capacity building workshops in 30 countries

                           
[Johannesburg, South Africa --23 August 2012] – The Internet Society today announced that it has been selected by the African Union (AU) to conduct community mobilization and technical aspects workshops to support the establishment of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in AU Member States as part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project.  The AXIS project aims at keeping Africa’s Internet traffic local to the continent by providing capacity building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of National Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Exchange Points in Africa. The project is funded by the Euro-Africa Infrastructure Fund and the Government of Luxembourg. 
 
The Internet Society is committed to organizing 60 community mobilization and technical aspects workshops in 30 African countries.  To this effect, the Internet Society will also contribute its own resources for the implementation of this component of the AXIS project.
 
Currently, much of Africa’s Internet traffic is routed through Internet exchange points external to the African continent.  As countries establish their own IXPs, Internet traffic will be routed locally, creating a downward pressure on costs and stimulating growth in and distribution of local Internet content.  Through the AXIS project, the interests of the AU and the Internet  Society, working with other African Internet organizations such as AfriNIC, AfNOG and AftLD, will be realized in this collaborative effort to assist in the development of a more locally operated and, hence, more robust and economically accessible pan-African Internet.
 
Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division, African Union Commission, commented, “Africa is paying overseas carriers to exchange ‘local’ (continental) traffic. This is both a costly as well as an inefficient way of handling inter-country exchange of Internet traffic. Independent analysis has shown that Africa pays over US$600 Million to developed countries every year for inter-African traffic exchange that is carried outside the continent. We are therefore pleased that the African Internet Exchange System project will address this challenge by facilitating optimization of Internet traffic to support intra-continental traffic flows in Africa.” 
 
Dawit Bekele, Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for Africa, stated, “We are very excited to be selected by the African Union to support the growth of IXPs throughout Africa.  We believe the AXIS project is extremely important to the continued health of the Internet ecosystem in Africa, and building the technical infrastructure and training the people to sustain it are fundamental to extending the Internet in Africa. Partnering with the African Union on the AXIS project is central to the Internet Society’s mission to ensure the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of people everywhere.” 
 
The Internet Society has provided technical training in Africa since the early 1990s, and supports the development of human and technical capacity to build reliable and sustainable Internet infrastructure in Africa and around the world.  The organization’s African Bureau was started in 2006. With 24 Chapters, the Internet Society African Bureau works to promote capacity building and the responsible development of the Internet throughout Africa.  Its principle focus is improving interconnection and traffic exchange within the continent through the implementation of IXPs, network training, and capacity building.  
 
About the Internet Society
The Internet Society is the trusted independent source for Internet information and thought leadership from around the world. With its principled vision and substantial technological foundation, the Internet Society promotes open dialogue on Internet policy, technology, and future development among users, companies, governments, and other organizations. Working with its members and Chapters around the world, the Internet Society enables the continued evolution and growth of the Internet for everyone. For more information, visit www.internetsociety.org.
 
About the African Union
The African Union has 54 Member States. The vision of the African Union is a peaceful, integrated, prosperous Africa, driven by its own citizens to take up its rightful place in the global community. For more information, visit www.au.int 
 
Media Contact: 
Wende Cover, cover@isoc.org, +1-703-439-2773