Building cross-border Internet interconnection in the Eastern Africa Region Thumbnail
Internet Exchange Points 5 June 2014

Building cross-border Internet interconnection in the Eastern Africa Region

By Michuki MwangiDistinguished Technologist, Internet Growth

By Michuki Mwangi and Betel Hailu

The Internet Society, in partnership with AfriNIC, successfully conducted the inauguration of the Regional Internet Exchange Point (RIXP) and Regional Internet Carrier (RIC) best practice workshop under the AXIS Project, from 26- 30 May 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the Inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD), East African Community, East African Communications Organization (EACO), Ministry of Youth and ICT and the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency (RURA).


The five-day workshop is a strategic follow-up of the agreement made between the AUC and the Internet Society under the AXIS project to conduct capacity building workshops in each of the five AUC geographical regions. This is the second workshop in the series. The first workshop for the Southern Africa region took place from 3 – 7 February 2014, in Gaborone, Botswana.

This AUC-led Eastern Africa RIXP and RIC Workshop aimed atfostering stakeholder discussions to support National Internet Exchange Points and Internet Service Providers to grow and become Regional Internet Exchange Points and Regional Internet Carriers to promote intra-Africa Internet traffic.

Attendees at the workshop included more than 70 delegates from the Ministries responsible for ICT, Regulators, Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telecommunication Operators of the following Member States of the Eastern Africa Region of the African Union: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The workshop was facilitated by Mr. Mike Jensen (ICT policy consultant),Mr. Samuel Triolet (expert from Lyon-IX), and Mr. Michuki Mwangi (expert from ISOC). The participants also benefited from special guest speakers from Teraco and AfriNIC who presented on Data Centre Infrastructure and IPv6 resources, respectively.

The Internet Society would like to thank AfriNIC, Lyon-IX and Teraco for their continued support on the delivery of AXIS Regional IXP and Regional Internet Carriers workshops.

Workshop Summary and Outcomes

Welcome Remarks

Mr. Jean Baptise Mutabazi, Director General of RURA, Mr. Godliving Kessy, Executive Secretary of EACO, Mr. Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division African Union Commission and Hon. Jean Philibert Nsengimana, Minister for Youth and ICT of Rwanda made welcome remarks. In his opening remarks, Hon Nsengimana reiterated the need to have statistical data on tromboning Internet traffic in Africa.He challenged the Internet Society to consider commissioning such a study.

Regional Internet Carriers (RICs) Conclusions

After exhaustive discussions, the participants approved the description of Regional Internet carriers in the context of the AXIS project as “an Internet Service Provider that spans across more than one IXP in different countries and/or at least one national border in the region.The participants also approved the proposalto establish a multi-stakeholder task force that will identify the key policy priorities that need to be implemented to facilitate the growth of national ISPs to become regional Internet carriers. In addition, the participants approved of the proposed guiding criteria to select national ISPs that would receive capacity building and mentorship to enable them grow into regional carriers, with the support from the African Union AXIS program.

Regional Internet Exchange Point (RIXP) Conclusions

Following extensive discussions, the participants approved the description of Regional Internet Exchange points in the context of the AXIS project as “a regional IXP is an IXP, where traffic between at least two other countries, in the same region, is exchanged via public or private peering.”The participants further approved the proposed guiding criteria for selecting IXPs that will receive grant support to grow and become regional IXPs from the African Union AXIS program.

Closing Remarks

Mr. Simon Mbugua ICT Specialist at IGAD, Mr. Hodge Semakula CEO of EACO and Mr. Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division African Union Commission gave the closing remarks.

Site Visit

After the workshop, the participants were treated to a site visit of the Rwanda Internet Exchange Point (RINEX) and the Kigali innovation Lab (K-lab).

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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