A regional workshop organised by Southern African Development Community (SADC) in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) this week addressed benefits of setting up Regional Internet Exchange Points (RIXPs) and Regional Internet Carriers (RICs).
The workshop that was held at the Grand Palm Hotel attracted more than 100 delegates comprising of the representatives of 14 SADC Member States, AUC, SADC Secretariat, and SADC Regional Implementing Agencies.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Communications Nonofo Molefhi, Cecil Masiga, the Director of Telecommunications and Postal Services said the workshop marked an important occasion where AU and SADC have made a collaborative effort.
“The workshop is part of an ongoing mobilisation and technical awareness process to support the establishment of Internet Exchange Points in AU member states as part of the African Internet Exchange System project.”
The workshop was hosted by the Botswana Government in conjunction with the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) as part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project.
The project has the objective of 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 (NIXPs) and RIXPs in Africa.
It also aims to assist in the development of a more locally operated, more robust and economically accessible pan-African Internet and drawing on the advantages of affordability, low latency and bandwidth-saving.
Moctar Yedaly, AUC Head of Information Society said while the renaissance and transformation of Africa by ICT has started, Africa was still paying overseas carriers to exchange local intracontinental traffic on its behalf.
“This is both a costly as well as an inefficient way of handling intra – continetntal exchange of internal traffic.
Increasing efficiency of national & regional traffic is an area that has thus far not been addressed, resulting in a slow and expensive exchange of African inter-country traffic via overseas hubs located mainly in the USA and Europe.
This why the African Union organs adopted decisions related to the development of African Internet Exchange System (AXIS),” he said.
Masiga said the region needed to come up with common strategies of how to effectively deal with its internet challenges.