Internet are meeting in Rwanda’s capital Kigali with the discussion focusing to on how to improve local and regional network interconnection.
The Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) was organised by the Internet Society (ISOC) and the African IXP Association (AFIX) in partnership with the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA).
“Broadband Internet access and utilisation have a profound impact on the improvement of services delivery across all sectors of our economy,” Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Innovation and ICT Yves Iradukunda said while opening the forum.
“Today, Internet usage enables better outcomes in learning, delivering healthcare, managing better our energy resources, and achieving higher citizen engagement with the government.”
Michuki Mwangi, a technologist at Internet Society noted that 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 realised,” he said and called for the need to enhance collaboration between Internet service providers, mobile network operators, content providers, large enterprise networks, and policymakers.
The forum, which started on Tuesday and ends to day, was convened by 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.