All posts by Ivana Trbović

PAIX Data Centers is looking to grow Africa’s DC Market

Pan African Internet Exchange (PAIX) is looking to grow Africa’s Data Center and carrier neutral facilities in the region, to match some of Europe’s biggest providers.

In February this year, PAIX completed its first major investment, West Africa Data Centres Ltd (WADC), Ghana. Just three months later, PAIX announced that it agreed terms with NSIA Technologies to jointly develop and operate carrier neutral data centres under the PAIX brand in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and Dakar, Senegal.

“We at PAIX are investing to address this opportunity, and as this is a very large continent, we cannot do this alone, so we are partnering with companies with a vested interest in the development of the African market,” says CEO Wouter van Hulten.

According to a report by the Broad Group that assessed 16 markets, Africa has 74 players with 91 data centers and total power availability estimated at 90.8MW.

“Data Centers are a relatively new feature of the ICT ecosystem across the African continent. As infrastructure slowly continues to develop, new facilities offering third party hosting and IT outsourcing are evolving,” said Wouter.

Broadband in Africa is booming – the region is consistently recording the highest broadband growth rates in the world and expected to continue doing so, albeit off a small starting base.

Africa’s population is young and hungry for knowledge and information (data) and will consume all that can be given at an economic price. Investment in fibre, sub-marine cables, 4G and satellites are all happening. But hardly any investment is happening in data centres, particularly in independent (carrier and vendor neutral), internet exchange focused data centres.

PAIX Data Centres has set out to meet this demand.  As a Pan-African provider of cloud and carrier neutral colocation data centre services, headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, it aims to offer a leading global quality service level to its national and international customer base across the African continent.

“A carrier neutral facility presents a revenue opportunity for businesses because of the possibility to interconnection with business partners, and form communities of interest.  As regulatory environments and governance develops, the markets enjoy lower cost of bandwidth, allowing accelerated social and economic growth.”

PAIX is a silver sponsor at this year’s AfPIF2018@iWeek which is being held in Cape Town, South Africa. “We are looking forward to this year’s event, where we will meet network operators, CDNs and decision makers looking for expansion and better data centers options. We invite those considering data centre expansion in Africa to discuss with us, please contact”

Demand for World Cup Streaming Exposes lack of Local Content

If there is one thing we picked from the 2018 World Cup in Russia is that video streaming of entertainment content in developing countries is approaching mainstream.

As Internet penetration continues to skyrocket and the price of Internet enabled devices and data reduces, more people in developing countries today are live-streaming their entertainment demands.

This has been evidenced by the growing popularity of video streaming services like Netflix, YouTube and Showmax among young people in developing countries.

These platforms appeal especially to young people because of their vast repositories that offer content from across the globe at a few keystrokes. Netflix users alone collectively watch over 1 billion hours of content each week while it would take over 60,000 years to watch everything on YouTube.

These stats were demonstrated during the just concluded World Cup where millions of people across the world plugged in to catch up with the exhilarating action from 64 matches across stadiums in Russia.

Analysis by Internet traffic monitoring site Akamai indicate that it took just ten days to surpass the previous video streaming record set at the 2014 World Cup. By the end of the group stage, Akamai had streamed 65% more data from start to finish than it did in Brazil four years earlier.

Akamai reported the highest number of concurrent streams peaking at 9.7 million during the Mexico v/s Sweden match at the same time as South Korea lined up against Germany on 27 June.

This, compared to the 5 million viewing peak for the entire 2014 World Cup matches indicates an unprecedented rise in the number of online viewers from developing countries. The peak bandwidth for streaming in the first round in Russia was 23.8 Tbps, compared with 6.99 Tbps during Brazil’s World Cup.

Kwese and Kwese iflix, one of the continent’s fastest growing streaming services, has developed video streaming partnerships with mobile network operators across Africa (during the world cup season) and according to Mr. Ben Roberts, CTO of Liquid Telecom, the number of number of video streaming customers has risen as a result.

Telecommunications service provider Liquid Group provides host infrastructure for Kwese and Kwese iflix and Mr. Roberts noted that “Streaming is steadily growing, getting more and more each day”.  “The most popular was the Nigeria vs Argentina (not surprising), but also Germany and Brazil’s last game of the first stage exceeded previous games.”

However Mr. Roberts states streaming among African users has been heavier on matters that touch closer home.

“It’s not the biggest ‘internet event’ in Africa we have seen this year, with the traffic around the coup in Zimbabwe and subsequent resignation of Robert Mugabe being something that turned up the traffic on all channels and links across Africa to a very noticeable degree,” he said.

This means while African consumers demand and are ready to spend on video streaming, the lack of local content is a gap that provides opportunities for developers and creators.

More than 90 percent of African Internet content is hosted outside the continent and this means server request from the continent take much longer because they have to go through exchange points in Europe or North America. Currently more than 57 percent of Kenya’s web content is hosted in North America and 25 per cent in Europe with just 10 per cent in Africa according to data from Alexa.

This implies a longer turnaround for connectivity requests at the same time and slower download speeds.

Some streaming service providers have tried to create local hosting sites. Early last year ShowMax signed a partnership with SEACOM to have its servers hosted in Nairobi to better serve its East African audiences.

This is however only a stopgap measure because the content available to users is still largely North American and European. African content creators need to rise up to the challenge of providing the entertainment needs of a hungry, tech savvy and discerning population.

Read or download our report –  Promoting Content In Africa

SEACOM – Sponsors of AfPIF since 2012

By Mark Tinka, Head of Engineering – SEACOM

The 9th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) will take place from 21 to 23 August 2018 in Cape Town. SEACOM has been a platinum sponsor since 2012, supporting the event with Internet connectivity, and is looking forward to playing this role again. The SEACOM team welcomes the opportunity to learn and develop, and to interact with like-minded individuals all working toward a greater goal. The AfPIF event allows us a space to do just that. It addresses the key interconnection, peering, and traffic exchange opportunities and challenges that our continent faces. This, in turn, provides attendees with both global and regional insights that will help grow Internet infrastructure and services in Africa.

SEACOM launched Africa’s first broadband submarine cable system along the eastern and southern coastlines in 2009, bringing with it a vast supply of high quality and affordable Internet bandwidth.  In 2011, SEACOM began offering IP/MPLS services to customers within and outside Africa. Since then, the business has grown significantly in key markets around Africa and Europe.

Today, SEACOM is the number one African-based service provider in the IP Transit market, both in terms of status and growth rate, as documented by Dyn, an Internet performance management company. This reflects the investment and effort the business has put into developing its IP/MPLS network, as well as the effective, affordable delivery of related services to its customers.

In addition, SEACOM has launched a connectivity services offering to the Enterprise Market in South Africa and Kenya – with a growth rate that has far surpassed the original targets  set for the business in 2015.  The SEACOM team has found that there is  a great deal of pent-up demand in the business market for high-speed fibre Internet access at an affordable cost.  SEACOM already has more than 170 channel partners serving its chosen markets, and are adding more than 100 direct customers on a monthly basis.

The services which SEACOM provides are what makes SEACOM’s sponsorship of the AfPIF so significant. The objectives of the forum align with those of the company – affordable, reliable, fast connectivity that can launch Africa into a new phase of economic development. Through this annual event, SEACOM is able to demonstrate its commitment to technical capacity building in less-developed regions, show its support for extending participation in the IETF to developing countries, and build contacts with technologists and regional leaders who share SEACOM’s passion for improved connectivity in the region. SEACOM looks forward to the potential of this year’s forum in transforming underserved African markets, and the future growth opportunities it may bring.

Workonline Invites You To WomenTechConnect Lunch

Workonline Communications, one of Africa’s leading IP transit providers, is launching WomenTechConnect at a networking lunch at AfPIF this year, alongside co-sponsors, LINX the London Internet Exchange.

Workonline Communications initiated the programme – WomenTechConnect – to promote positive change for women in the ICT workplace.

The event will be held at AfPIF, on 21 August in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of the official agenda on day one.  The lunch will bring together Africa’s women working in peering environments, network engineering, and with content distribution networks, among other sectors.

There will be a panel of experienced women who will share their experiences led by Marijana Novakovic, Staff Network Engineer at LinkedIn in San Francisco. The panel will include Workonline’s Senior Network Engineer, Michelle Opiyo from Nairobi, Kenya; and Florence Lavoff, Manager: Interconnections Relations, Peering and Content Distribution Network at Google in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

WomenTechConnect aims to build a community of collaboration and support for women in tech focused on three key areas:

  • Creating channels and support for dealing with inappropriate behaviour
  • Attracting and retaining more women in technology
  • Creating a networking and support group

There are incredible women involved in all aspects of the Internet. As a community, its possible to inspire each other and to lead and grow the Internet community to achieve even greater things.

The forum aims to create a platform for women to share experiences, achievements and best practices with one another. Invited speakers have will share their insights on how they have been able to overcome workplace challenges and find allies and inspiration to achieve their best work.

To register for the event, please contact AfPIF or email Please note that seats are limited and are offered on a first come first served basis.

Workonline Communications

Workonline provides IP transit services, wholesale Ethernet and VPN services, remote peering services to the major IXs (in Africa, Europe and Asia), as well as colocation services in Africa.  It is a staunch supporter of women-owned businesses across the African continent and has focused initiatives on building and developing communities, as part of its mantra: connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa.

London Internet Exchange (LINX)

The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is a mutually owned membership association for operators of Internet Protocol networks. They provide a neutral interconnection facility and peering platform, known as an Internet Exchange Point (IXP), and represent the interests of their members on matters of public policy.  LINX is one of the largest Internet exchanges in the world, connecting over 820 member ASNs from over 80 countries around the globe. LINX are located in 12 PoPs across the capital along with regional exchanges in Wales, Manchester and Scotland. LINX also operates an Internet exchange in the Ashburn metro area in the US just outside Washington DC, LINX NoVA. For more information, please visit or email

South Africa’s ISPA: A leading advocate for the African web

News that the Internet Society and African IXP Association (AFIX) are set to hold the 9th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) during iWeek in Cape Town in August has seen increased interest in South Africa’s leading Internet industry conference and its founder, ISPA.

ISPA (the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa) has emerged as a leading advocate for South African and African Internet industry liberalisation. In fact, it was out of a desire to level the monopolised local telecommunications playing field of the 1990s that ISPA was formed.

On 6 June 1996, nine South African pioneering Internet Service Providers (ISPs) got together and decided the formation of ISPA was critical if the country’s underperforming telecoms sector was to flourish. Barriers to competition had to be broken down with urgency and ISPA was the vehicle to do it. Telkom, the state-controlled ICT entity, enjoyed a monopoly over key telecoms services and this was threatening to undo many of the early gains realised during South Africa’s transition to democracy.

Things moved along swiftly following the Association’s formation. ISPA helped influence and shape telecommunications policy in SA and launched competition complaints against Telkom which have redefined the competitive landscape for communications in South Africa. In total, during the last two decades, ISPA has weathered three regulatory authorities, eight telecommunications ministers and three major overhauls of the legislative framework governing communications services.

However, ISPA’s most important Internet advocacy activities have not been limited to the regulatory and legislative spheres. Its founding year of 1996 saw ISPA members establish the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX), an African first and the forerunner of the many INXes that exist today in SA and on the continent. Today JINX (Johannesburg Internet Exchange), CINX (Cape Town Internet Exchange) and DINX (Durban Internet Exchange) offer multisite peering opportunities helping to keep South African internet traffic local and thereby reducing the costs to communicate.

The year 2000 saw the launch of ISPA’s Teachers’ Training program that will again feature during 2018’s iWeek. This initiative was launched to provide computer and Internet literacy to South African teachers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The very first iWeek was hosted in 2001 by ISPA and UniForum SA (today, ZACR) and ISPA formally looked to the continent for the first time by becoming a founder member of AfrISPA that same year.

As the Internet industry has matured, ISPA has increasingly played a role in ensuring that consumers receive reliable and reputable services from members. Its Code of Conduct plays a leading role in this regard. The iWeek conference that ISPA has co-hosted annually since 2001 is another primary example of ISPA activities going beyond the original mandate of the Association in pursuit of the greater good of the SA and African ICT sector.

ISPA is always on the lookout for ways to enhance its effectiveness. In 2009, ISPA was officially recognised as an Industry Representative Body (IRB) by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

In June 2016, ISPA transitioned from a voluntary association to an incorporated Non-Profit Company, with a Board of Directors elected directly by ISPA’s members. Today, ISPA membership is open to any organisation providing Internet access or related services in South Africa. While the majority of ISPA’s members are commercial operators, membership is open to non-profit organisations, and ISPA counts universities, schools’ networks, parastatals and wireless user groups amongst its members.

Internet Society and African IXP Association Partner with South Africa’s Internet Service Providers’ Association for AfPIF at iWeek

Johannesburg, South Africa -5 March 2018 – The Internet Society and African IXP Association (AFIX) have announced that they will hold the 9th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Cape Town, South Africa hosted by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA). The conference will be held from 21-23 of August 2018 in conjunction with iWeek, South Africa’s leading Internet industry conference, which will run from 20-24 August 2018.

AfPIF is an annual event that serves as a platform to expand and develop the African Internet. It connects infrastructure, service, and content providers with policymakers in order to identify and discuss ways to improve network interconnection, lower the cost of connectivity, and increase the number of users in the region. Over 200 participants attended last year’s AfPIF in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire including providers of international, regional, and sub-regional transport, transit, and content as well as more than 20 IXPs from Africa and beyond.

This year’s event will be hosted in South Africa; home to the oldest Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Africa, the highest density of IXP’s per city in Africa, and the largest carrier neutral data center in Africa. As a thriving terrestrial infrastructure market and the continent’s most mature peering ecosystem, South Africa will provide a unique opportunity for attendees to learn from its remarkable experiences and explore a growing number of opportunities in the region.

“The African IXP Association has been absolutely amazed by South Africa’s rapid development and is proud to host this year’s AfPIF in Cape Town. We all benefit from their innovation and continued success, and hope that our collective presence will provide additional momentum” said Kyle Spencer, Co-Coordinator of the African IXP Association.

“We are delighted to be hosting AfPIF at iWeek for the very first time. This is a fantastic example of the kind of pan-African ICT cooperation envisioned by the Abuja and OR Tambo declarations of the 1990s,” said ISPA Chair, Graham Beneke.

“The first AfPIF was held in 2010 by the Internet Society from the realization that most of African Internet traffic is exchanged outside the continent, and the region could save costs by exchanging the Internet traffic locally. The target is to have at least 80% of the Internet traffic consumed in Africa being locally accessible, and only 20% sourced outside the continent by the year 2020. We are getting closer to that target every year thanks to AfPIF and many activities that promote interconnection and hosting in Africa”, says Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at Internet Society.

Internet Peering is a business relationship whereby two network operators agree to provide access to each other’s network at no cost. Internet users throughout Africa benefit from Peering as it enables faster, more affordable, and more reliable access to content.

About the Internet Society
Founded by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society (ISOC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet. Working through a global community of chapters and members, the Internet Society collaborates with a broad range of groups to promote the technologies that keep the Internet safe and secure, and advocates for policies that enable universal access. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). For more information visit

About AF-IX
The African IXP Association (AFIX) is a group of Internet exchange point operators from across Africa, brought together by a shared need to coordinate and exchange knowledge. It aims to foster an enabling environment for IXP operators, improve connectivity within the continent, and increase the Internet’s value for all. AFIX was established in 2012, joined the Internet eXchange Federation (IX-F) in 2014, and now organizes the annual African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF).

About ISPA
ISPA NPC is a non-profit company, and a recognized industry body which has represented the interests of ISPs since 1996. ISPA has co-hosted the annual iWeek industry conference since 2001, bringing together business, government, civil society and members of the public to debate technical, policy and business matters relating to the Internet sector in South Africa. ISPA works with many different partners to ensure that iWeek includes fresh and relevant content each year and is thrilled to be hosting AfPIF during iWeek this year. For more on the association visit

Media contacts:
Betel Hailu
Internet Society

Elaine Zinn

MainOne: An enabler of ICT innovation in West Africa


Despite the benefits of technology as an economic enabler, Africa continues to lag behind other developed continents in its adoption of technology, impacting the region’s ability to boost competitiveness and improve the well-being of its citizens. According to the Internet World Stats, broadband internet penetration on the continent is at 28.3%, lower than the world average of 49.6% and pales in comparison to the Americas with 69.8%, Asia at 45.2% and Europe at 76.7%. Despite the growth opportunities on the second most populous continent, with a rising middle-class that is gaining purchasing power, and the world’s largest pool of untapped brainpower and talent, Africa is still sorely lacking in the infrastructure to effectively enable ICT development. Up until 2010, the main internet connection for West Africa was via the SAT3 cable system in the Atlantic which was extremely expensive, highly regulated, and offered no diversity.

Companies like MainOne recognised this challenge and worked to bridge the digital divide by investing in a fiber optic cable system, connecting Portugal to Nigeria and Ghana. Launched for operations in July 2010, MainOne’s 7000km subsea cable on inception carried more capacity and brought competition to a market where wholesale Internet access was nearly 500 times the price in the US. MainOne’s entry immediately propelled a crash in the high cost of wholesale internet services by as much as 50 percent and paved the way for the internet revolution across the region. Many ISPs that were hitherto out of business got a new lease of life. Since the launch of MainOne’s services in the country, there has been a re-birth of ISPs across West Africa, many of which are customers of MainOne. As at the last count, ISPs in West Africa including Smile Communications, Spectranet, Cobranet, IPNX, Surfline, Blu Telecoms, Busy Internet,, amongst others, are all connected to the MainOne submarine cable facility. This investment has enabled internet penetration in countries like Nigeria and Ghana to grow from the region of 20% to over 50% of the population within the past 7 years.

In response to the rapidly transforming business landscape in West Africa, MainOne has also evolved from a submarine cable company to a full-service business-to-business communications services provider, offering an expanded range of data center and connectivity services across nine countries in West Africa. MainOne has built the region’s premier Data Center named MDXi; a 600 Rack, Tier III certified facility, and with further certifications with PCI DSS, ISO 9001, and ISO 27001. MDXi has ambitiously resolved to address the growing demand for Colocation, Cloud and Disaster Recovery Services across West Africa.

MainOne is also supporting the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria and Ghana to create sustainable businesses and enterprises. The company built a 30km fiber cable system in Yaba, Lagos in partnership with the Lagos State Government, CCHub and Technovision which stimulated the cluster of tech start-ups, developers, programmers, and entrepreneurs in what is now dubbed “Lagos Silicon Valley”. MainOne has also backed other initiatives to develop technology penetration via partnerships with Andela,, Demo Africa, Hackerspace, MEST, among many others. These efforts in Yaba have created a ripple effect, generating 2000+ direct jobs and 50+ businesses across ISP, E-Commerce and ICT sectors attracting over $200m in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The Yaba Silicon Valley has attracted the attention of global internet companies with visits to Nigeria by top executives including Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO, Sundar Pichal, a further validation of the vibrancy of Nigeria’s tech industry.

MainOne remains at the forefront of driving broadband development in West Africa and is focused on new initiatives such as a submarine cable landing in Cote D’Ivoire and expansion of its terrestrial fiber network in Lagos in order to continue to provide high quality internet services to open up West Africa for digital transformation.

Thirteen Fellows to Attend AfPIF 2017

By Betel Hailu
Communications Coordinator for the African Regional Bureau, Internet Society

The Internet Society will support thirteen fellows to attend the 8th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), scheduled for 22 – 24 August, 2017 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The AfPIF fellowship program is designed to offer opportunities for qualified applicants to attend the event. The fellows come from: Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, Gambia, Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Lesotho, and Sudan. The annual event brings together governments, policy makers, technical experts and business leaders to discuss African Internet infrastructure challenges, including capacity, regional and national Internet Exchange Point (IXP) development, local content development, and connectivity.

“The AfPIF Fellowship is an important program that gives the opportunity to many to participate in the Forum and gain insights on how Africa can maximize opportunities for increased interconnection and peering.  I would like to thank our sponsors and the Fellowship Committee who make this happen every year,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.

The fellows will have a chance to:

  • Share experiences on ways to improve running and administering of a new or existing IXP
  • Use the business opportunity to meet potential IXP members
  • Promote public awareness and evangelism of IXPs and peering in general at the national and regional level
  • Advance and influence national/regional policies on peering and cross-border Internet interconnection
  • Provide a face-to-face networking opportunity for peers and experts

The 2017 AfPIF Fellows are:

  • Abdulie Sowe (Gambia), Administrator, Serekunda Internet Exchange Point (SIXP)
  • Alassane G. Blaise DIAGNE (Senegal), Director General, State Information Technology Agency (ADIE)
  • Alkhansa Mohamed (Sudan), Quantum for Advance Business
  • Cedrick Adrien MBEYET (Mauritius), System Engineer, AFRINIC
  • Damnam Kanlanfei Bagolibe (Togo), TGIX
  • Emmanuel Kwarteng (Ghana), GIX
  • Frank Habicht (Tanzania), TISPA
  • Ghislain Nkeramugaba (Rwanda), RICTA/RINEX
  • Islam Abou El Ata (Morocco), CAS-IX
  • Kiemde Wênden tôe fâa (Burkina Faso), Burkina Faso Internet EXchange Point (BFIX)
  • Kyle Spencer (Uganda), Uganda Internet eXchange Point
  • Nico Tshintu Bakajika (Democratic Republic of Congo), ISPA-DRC/KINIX
  • Tumelo Mosito (Lesotho), IT operations manager, Econet Lesotho

Read more about AfPIF-2017 fellows

Together for a better African Internet: Workonline and DE-CIX intensify their partnership

By Rebecca Wanjiku

As part of its commitment to assisting African networks to further develop their global footprint, Workonline, leading provider of wholesale IP transit and transport services based in sub-Saharan Africa, and DE-CIX as a worldwide leading Internet Exchange Operator, are continuing their successful cooperation. Both companies will be present at this year’s African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire, from 22 to 24 of August.

In this partnership, Workonline takes the role of a reseller for DE-CIX premium peering services. Peering at an Internet Exchange (IX) opens up opportunities for the local African networks to lower their latency to other networks in the world. This also brings African eyeballs closer to content networks with a European presence, which improves the internet browsing experience for the end-user.

DE-CIX operates 11 carrier and data center neutral IXs from the Middle East and Europe to the United States of America. DE-CIX in Frankfurt (Germany) is the world’s leading IX with more than 5.6 Terabits per second peak traffic. More than 1000 customers from 60+ nations use DE-CIX’s platforms to lower costs, reduce latency, and increase IP performance and resilience.

“With this partnership we are clearly building digital bridges between the African and European continent for the sake of a better Internet for African end-users. We are committed to further grow our relationship with Workonline to let the importance of peering grow globally”, says Melanie Kempf – Director Global Partner Relations at DE-CIX.

The company’s relationship with the German-based Internet Exchange (IX), DE-CIX, will assist Workonline and its clients to extend their reach. The exchange is now one of several global IXs to which Workonline offers remote peering services.

“Workonline remains committed to connecting Africa to the world and the world to Africa. Partnerships such as this assist our clients in reaching their goals and extending their reach. Improving the quality of the internet in Africa boosts socio-economic development and accelerate growth in the region. We believe fast and easy to access Internet is the key to a well-functioning modern society”, states Edward Lawrence, Director of Business Development at Workonline.

Contact @ AfPIF 2017:
Marco Brandstaetter (DE-CIX);; +43 676 5185 027
Benjamin Deveaux (Workonline);; +27 71 610 2458

African IXPs continue growing, investing

By Rebecca Wanjiku

The continued growth of ICT infrastructure and awareness has led to growth in the number of IXPs in Africa, and investment in more stable data center environment.

According to Africa IXP Association, the increase in number of submarine fiber optic cables and terrestrial fiber in Africa has led to increased content and eventual increase in the number of IXPs. AFIX aims to foster an enabling environment for IXPs, help them maximize their value, improve connectivity within the continent, and increase the Internet’s value for all.

“Since 2010 there has been almost 20 new IXPs; the undersea and terrestrial fibre cables have had an impact; the quality of IXPs has improved over time and with surveillance and biometric security,” said Kyle Spencer, Africa IXP Association coordinator.

The number of ports at African IXPs have increased from 136 in 2008, after a survey done by Michuki Mwangi; in 2015, AFIX conducted a benchmark survey and found there were 577 ports; in 2016, the survey identified 795 ports.

With increased number of peers, IXPs have moved to Data Centers; that provide stable connectivity with back up power connections and increased security measures. The Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP) moved to the East Africa Data Center in Nairobi, providing more stability, especially during power outage.

“However this is self-reported data and often not strictly verified and so a power backup system may only last a few minutes or have a video surveillance with no video being recorded and so not fully indicative,” said Spencer, while presenting findings at the Africa Internet Summit in Nairobi.

In 2008, most IXPs were set up by ISP Associations but Spencer noted that they had transitioned to not-for-profit entities and in other cases governments had set up their own IXPs to exchange content.

Continued training, discussions and peering bilateral meeting at the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) annual meetings have helped raise awareness on the benefits of IXPs. The AXIS Project, collaboration between the Internet Society and the African Union has also been critical in the growth of IXPs in the region.

The study found that Increasing network diversity and more exchange points will see more content providers, more government networks and more enterprise networks showing up in IXPs. Most internet exchanges in our region have websites with a host name of their country code top level domains (ccTLD).

Launched in 2012 at AfPIF in Johannesburg, AFIX is a member of the Internet eXchange Federation (IX-F) since 2014 and currently serves 37 IXPs in 28 countries out of 54 African countries (according to the AU). The oldest IXP in Africa is JINX (1996) and the newest are Madagascar and Djibouti (2016).