African Union picks on the Internet Society to run the African Internet Exchange Points

The African Union (AU) has selected the Internet Society to conduct training sessions and organize mobilisation to support the establishment of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the 54 AU Member States.

The IXP project is part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project that is expected to keep Africa’s Internet traffic local.

According to the Internet Society, The primary role of an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is to keep local Internet traffic within local infrastructure and to the reduce costs associated with traffic exchange between Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

An April 2012 report shows how developing countries like Kenya and Nigeria can benefit from IXP’s. The countries have poor connectivity between ISPs therefore making it necessary to route local traffic over expensive international links to have a national reach.

IXPs will strive to improve the quality of Internet services and reduce the delays.

Followinng the partnership, the Internet Society will conduct 60 community mobilization and technical aspects workshops in 30 African countries using its own resources for the implementation of the component of the AXIS project.

Most of Africa’s Internet traffic goes through external Internet exchange points external but the establishment of own IXPs by African countries will see traffic routed locally and is expected to reduce costs and stimulates local internet growth.

The Internet Society works with other Internet organizations on the continent like AfriNIC, AfNOG and AftLD to develop a more locally operated Internet in Africa.

Head of Information Society Division, African Union Commission Moctar Yedaly said Africa spends much on overseas carriers to exchange continental traffic. He added that Africa pays over US$600 Million annually for inter-African traffic exchange.

The African Internet Exchange System project will address this challenge by facilitating optimization of Internet traffic to support intra-continental traffic flows in Africa, he said.

Dawit Bekele, Internet Society Regional Bureau Director for Africa said: “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.

According to Bekele, partnering with the African Union on the AXIS project will ensure open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all.

The Internet Society began its technical training in Africa in the 90s. Its African Bureau was started in 2006 and now has 24 Chapters.

The Euro-Africa Infrastructure Fund and the Government of Luxembourg fund the project.

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