The Internet Society has been selected by the African Union Commission (AUC) to conduct workshops for the African Internet Exchange System (Axis) project, which aims keep as much as possible of Africa’s internal Internet traffic within the continent.
Much of this traffic is currently routed through Internet exchange points outside the continent, which is expensive and inefficient. Axis was launched by the AUC in 2010 to encourage the development of regional and national Internet exchange points by providing capacity-building and technical assistance.
Under the new contract, the Internet Society will provide workshops centred on best practice and the benefits of setting up regional Internet carriers and exchange points. The society will partner with the Mauritius-based African Network Information Center, and other organisations in Africa and around the world, to deliver these workshops in each of the five AUC geographical regions over the next 18 months.
The first workshop took place in Gaborone, Botswana, and was attended by over 100 delegates from governments, regulatory agencies, Internet providers and private businesses from 14 countries, including Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles and Zambia.
The Internet Society is an International organization that wants an open and transparent Internet to be used for innovation, economic development, and social progress worldwide. Its regional bureau director for Africa, Dr Dawit Bekele, said that the award of the new contract was due to the society’s previous successes working on Axis.
“The Axis project is instrumental in developing a reliable and sustainable Internet infrastructure in Africa,” he said. “The Internet Society has provided technical training in Africa for nearly 20 years, and we are very pleased to continue this important work.”
The Axis project’s first contract was awarded to the Internet Society in 2012 to conduct 60 community mobilization and technical workshops in 30 countries throughout Africa. More than 30 workshops have been completed so far, and are expected to result in the launch of new African Internet exchange points in the first half of 2014.
As more African Internet traffic is routed locally, the society believes there will be cost and performance improvements, as well as more creation and distribution of local Internet content.