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Africa Internet Exchange Points - They Are More Inevitable Now Than Ever Before

06 November, 2013
ICT Africa
November 6, 2013

The establishment of Internet Exchange Points(IXPs) in Africa has for a long time been a subject of intense discussion and a lot of effort has been put into attempting to establish an IXP in every African country. In particular, the African Internet Service Provider Association (AfrISPA) and National Internet Service Provider (ISP) associations have aggressively pushed to establish IXPs in their respective countries.

More recently, the African Union Commission (AUC) joined the fray and added a voice to the need for Africa Internet Exchange Points. At a recent conference, Dr. Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, the AUC commissioner for infrastructure and energy and her colleagues expressed grave concern at the lack of adequate IXPs in Africa.

The push for the establishment of IXPs is out of the realisation that IXPs will help keep local traffic local and prevent it from being routed overseas at very high cost. As more content is being generated in Africa, the need to contain local traffic within African countries has never been greater. In one of our articles we discussed the boom in video content generation in Africa by movie industries such as Nollywood (Nigeria), Ghallywood (Ghana) and Zollywood (Zimbabwe).

Nollywood alone is generating movies faster than India’s Bollywood and the content need to be shared online. Video content is very bandwidth hungry and attempting to route movies from a server in Nigeria to a user in Nigeria through Europe or North America is a very expensive proposition. It is imperative, therefore, that local IXPs should contain the content within their countries to reduce the cost.

Unfortunately, from publicly available data, less than half of the countries in Africa currently have an IXP. Lack of funding has been cited for the slow pace in the development of IXPs but with so many big operators in almost all countries, it is curious to know why the operators are not supporting this initiative.

It is still not clear to us weather all of the IXPs listed on our site are fully functional. We have attempted to interrogate them but many of them were not reachable. Below are some details of our findings.
If you or anyone you know has additional information about IXPs not listed here or IP addresses of those we could not ping, please contact us with details so that we can update our records.

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Africa IXPs


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