KIGALI, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) — A forum of internet stakeholders opened Wednesday in Rwanda’s capital Kigali to discuss how to improve local and regional network interconnection.
The Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) was organized by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the African IXP Association (AFIX) in collaboration with the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA).
“Broadband Internet access and utilization have a profound impact on the improvement of services delivery across all sectors of our economy. Today, Internet usage enables better outcomes in learning, delivering healthcare, managing better our energy resources, and achieving higher citizen engagement with the government,” Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Innovation and ICT Yves Iradukunda said while opening the forum.
Michuki Mwangi, a technologist at Internet Society said considerable progress has been made in the establishment of new Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) while supporting the growth of existing ones.
But the full impact of exchanging Internet traffic at the 49 IXPs across 35 countries in Africa is yet to be realized, he said.
Mwangi mentioned the need to enhance collaboration between Internet service providers, mobile network operators, content providers, large enterprise networks, and policymakers.
To run from Aug. 23 to Aug. 25, the event has convened stakeholders from across the continent and globally, including Meta, Google, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, Microsoft, the Internet Initiative Japan Lab, and Africa Data Centers, among others.
The annual forum, now in its 11th edition, serves as a platform to expand and develop the African Internet.
Participants including infrastructure, service, and content providers, are seeking to identify ways to improve network interconnection, lower the cost of connectivity, and increase the Internet’s resiliency and experience for local users, according to a statement by the Internet Society.
The Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum was created to respond to the fact that most of Africa’s local Internet traffic is exchanged outside the continent.
Exchanging traffic locally through IXPs reduces Internet access costs and network delays and increases content access speeds.
IXPs are technical infrastructures that enable a faster, cheaper, and more reliable Internet experience by bringing multiple networks from the private, public, and educational sectors together to connect and exchange Internet traffic.
Instead of using expensive international transit routes, Internet traffic is exchanged locally and access speeds for content can be up to 10 times faster.
This year’s AfPIF focuses on Internet interconnection dynamics, content distribution, and transit obstacles at local and regional levels. ■