" ITREALMS: CfDA: Empowering IXPs in Benin, Malawi, Rwanda - ITREALMS

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

CfDA: Empowering IXPs in Benin, Malawi, Rwanda - ITREALMS

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The Internet Society has joined forces with the Coalition for Digital Africa, an initiative launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at strengthening Internet infrastructure across the continent, reports ITREALMS.
CfDA: Empowering IXPs in Benin, Malawi, Rwanda - ITREALMS
ISOC Director, Advocacy and Communications, Mr. Megan Kruse, said that the ISOC and ICANN partnership on this project under the auspices of the Coalition, is to help empower Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in the continent, taking on the goal of enhancing five IXPs across Africa to improve Internet access by making it faster and more affordable.

"We’re thrilled to announce significant progress toward this goal in 2023 by awarding grants to three IXPs in Benin, Malawi, and Rwanda. IXPs play a pivotal role in Internet infrastructure by facilitating the exchange of Internet traffic between various networks," he said.

Also, Kruse said it would foster direct interconnection between Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers, and other network operators, IXPs streamline data traffic, reduce latency, and ultimately enhance the overall Internet experience for users. They enable a conducive ecosystem that encourages innovation, leading to a dynamic digital economy by creating jobs in the tech industry, attracting services through business process outsourcing, and more," he said.

The Coalition’s IXP initiative grants, Kruse said, underscored dedication to its mission to bridge the digital divide and drive digital transformation across the continent.

On the Benin Internet Exchange (BeninIX) has made improvements to its technical infrastructure and organized strategic initiatives like community events and capacity building workshops on the advantages of efficient Internet traffic exchange.

BeninIX, he said has also worked with Internet Society’s guidance to create a comprehensive business plan to ensure the IXP's long-term viability, stressing that by providing financial assistance and technical resources, "we elevate the efficiency and reliability of Internet services, thereby empowering businesses, educational institutions, and individuals."

He revealed that the Malawi ISP Association (MISPA) will install a second IXP in Lilongwe (LLIX) to serve and cover the central region of Malawi.

"This enhances local capability to accommodate increasing demands for Internet connectivity. With improved infrastructure and operational support, the IXP will contribute significantly to the country's digital landscape, fostering innovation and socioeconomic growth," he said.

Additionally, he said, Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA) conducted comprehensive training, facilitated by the Internet Society, to improve the technical skills of engineers within the community.

"The training covered the skills needed to effectively use RINEX infrastructure and provided an in-depth understanding of its role in the operations and daily services RICTA provides to Rwandan citizens and the Rwanda Internet ecosystem at large," he said.

These grants, he said, are over just financial contributions; they represent a commitment to fostering sustainable development and prosperity through digital empowerment. By strengthening IXPs in these countries, we lay the groundwork for a more interconnected, innovative, and resilient digital future.

In 2024, he said, that these grants mark a stride forward, "yet they represent only a part of our ongoing commitment to the continent's digital transformation. In 2024, we plan to support two more IXPs in Africa through the Sustainable Peering Infrastructure Funding Program. Applications will open on 16 January 2024 and are open to any IXP."

The Coalition, he further said, will work with local communities to build IXPs in markets where they are needed, enhance existing IXPs to realize their full potential, and further develop organizations and communities that support peering and interconnection. Grant funds are available to assist in training, capacity building, community and regional development, and equipment purchases (switches, optic modules, servers, and routers).

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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