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AU – Eastern Africa Regional Internet Exchange Point and Regional Internet Carrier workshop launched

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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KIGALI, Rwanda, May 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- An African Union (AU) led Eastern Africa Regional Internet Exchange Point (RIXP) and Regional Internet Carrier (RIC) Workshop was launched today in Kigali, Rwanda with the aim to foster stakeholder discussions on supporting National Internet Exchange Points and Internet Service Providers to grow and become Regional Internet Exchange Points (RIXP) and Regional Internet Carriers (RIC) in order to promote intra-Africa internet traffic to be exchanged within the continent.

Organized by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission, 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 event aims to address slow and expensive exchange of intra-African traffic via overseas hubs.

“We are here to make a difference… we know where we want to go, we know how to get there, we only lack the courage to do what we ought to do to reach where we want.

We need to act and address the gaps that Africa suffers from in terms of access and affordability of Internet” said the Hon. Minister for Youth and ICT of Rwanda, Hon. Jean Philibert Nsengimana in his welcoming remarks.

ICT has potential to facilitate regional integration faster than any other initiatives and smart routing of traffic as a key cost component is an area this initiative should support, added the Hon. Minister.

The five (5) day workshop is a strategic follow up to the support provided by the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project of the AU to establish National Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). The workshop is expected to adopt policy recommendations to promote local hosting and peering and agree on guiding minimum criteria for selecting national internet exchange points to be supported to grow into regional internet exchange points.

“Africa is contributing more and more to the Internet and digital economy. The African Internet Exchange System Project will contribute to bringing efficiency in the routing of intra-Africa internet traffic and hence a faster and secure exchange of internet traffic” said Mr. Moctar Yedaly, Head of Information Society Division of the AUC in his opening remarks.

Four years ago, EACO embarked on the process of establishing an East African Internet Exchange Point. Recently with the support of ITU, EACO carried out a study which recommended a phased approach to the process of strengthening the national internet exchange points and establishment of the East African Internet Exchange Point.

“I am pleased to note that the African Union Commission under its AXIS project has agreed to collaborate with EACO in building the capacities of our national IXPs and establishment of a regional internet exchange system” said the Executive Secretary of EACO.

The workshop attracted seventy 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.