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Growing the Internet 2 April 2014

Building an Integrated African Internet Infrastructure by 2020

Dawit Bekele
By Dawit BekeleRegional Vice President - Africa

In early February, the Internet Society organized an important workshop on  “Best practices for setting up Regional Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Carriers” for the Southern African region in Gaborone, Botswana.  This workshop is part of the African Union’s African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project that the Internet Society has been implementing since 2012. As part of this project, the Internet Society has organized Internet Exchange Point (IXP) Best Practice workshops in 21 African countries and Technical IXP training workshops in 15 African countries. Under the second AXIS contract, the Internet Society will conduct capacity building workshops focused on best practices and benefits of setting up Regional Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Carriers.

The Internet Society will partner with AFRINIC and other organizations in Africa and around the world to conduct workshops in each of the five AUC geographical regions over the next 18 months. All of this work has contributed to building sustainable communities of practice on the African continent, which will have a major impact on the Internet infrastructure and interconnection landscape.

We understand that deploying IXPs is not enough – we must empower people across the continent  – from peering coordinators and IXP operators and managers – to African, regulators and policy-makers.  To help do  this, we created the African Peering and Interconnection Forums (AfPIF).  This is an annual event that seeks to address key interconnection, peering, and traffic exchange challenges on the continent and provides participants with global and regional insights for maximizing opportunities that will help grow Internet infrastructure and services in Africa. As a multi-stakeholder forum, AfPIF events inspire practical discussions and ideas on how to implement a more efficient and cost effective local, regional, and international interconnection and peering strategies. The next AfPIF 2014 will be in August in Senegal. 

Our work in Africa is an integral part of our Interconnection and Traffic Exchange Programme aims to insure that “local traffic is exchanged locally”, and in turn is expected to lower Internet access costs and improve access.  

All of these activities are part of the Internet Society’s African Bureaus’ efforts to contribute to integrated African Internet infrastructure deployment by 2020.  Our vision is that the Internet is for Everyone and is a tool to improve economic and social standards and standing for all.  We believe these efforts will go a long way in providing Africa with an Internet infrastructure on par with the rest of the world and contribute greatly to Africa’s socio-economic development.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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