All posts by Ivana Strineka Trbovic

Internet Society Announces Fellowships to AfPIF 2016

[Addis Ababa, Ethiopia –3 August, 2016] – The Internet Society today announced that it has selected 23 fellows from 20 African countries to attend the 7th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF), to be held from 30 August – 1 September, 2016 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

As a result of the record number of applications received (over 120 applications from 32 countries in Africa), the number of fellowships awarded has increased from 16 in 2015 to 23 this year.  The AfPIF fellows will have the opportunity to gain insights on how Africa can maximize opportunities for increased interconnection and peering between local, regional and international Internet Service Providers.

The 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 Programme is a significant part of our work.  It brings to AFPIF participants who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend the event. Their participation will allow them share experiences and exchange ideas that can help advance and influence policies on peering and cross-border Internet interconnection in Africa,” explains Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.

“I would like to thank our sponsors who have enabled us to increase the number of fellows attending AfPIF this year. I would also like to thank the Fellowship Committee members for their work in selecting these highly-qualified individuals to benefit from the program,” added Bekele.

The 2016 AfPIF Fellows are:

  • Livingstone Kalu (Nigeria), eStream Networks
  • Ghislain Nkeramugaba (Rwanda), RICTA/RINEX
  • Ivy Hoetu (Ghana), National Communications Authority
  • Philippe Junior SIBIRO (Central African Republic), SPJ Labs
  • Jean-Baptiste Millogo (Burkina Faso), AIRTEL Burkina Faso
  • Ousmane Moussa Tessa (Niger), Niger-REN
  • Randrianarivony Nirinarisantatra (Madagascar), iRENALA
  • Janvier Ngnoulaye (Cameroon), University of Yaounde/ISOC Cameroon
  • Nico Tshintu Bakajika (Democratic Republic of Congo),ISPA-DRC/KINIX
  • Asegid Legesse Teshome (Ethiopia), Ethio Telecom
  • Hervé Typamm (Togo), WARCIP
  • Brahim ousmane mustapha  (Chad), SYDONIA Chad
  • Kpetermeni Siakor (Liberia), Liberia Internet Exchange Point Association
  • Islam Abou El Ata (Morocco), CAS-IX
  • Gabriel Kapumpe (Zambia), Zambia Telecommunications Company LTD
  • Eusebio Miku Cornelius (Tanzania), Habari Node Ltd. and Arusha Internet eXchange Point
  • Christian Muhirwa (Rwanda), Broadband Systems Corporation
  • Mucowimana Nepomucene (Burundi), ARCT
  • Ali Bakri Mustafa Elfaki (Sudan), National Information Cente
  • Francisco Mabila (Mozambique), UEM/MOZIX
  • Kiemde Wênden tôe fâa Franck (Burkina Faso), Burkina Faso Internet EXchange Point (BFIX)
  • Assangbe Woto Gbetondji Vivien (Benin), Benin Telecoms Infrustructures SA
  • Anibe Onuche (Nigeria), Internet Exchange Points of Nigeria (IXPN)

Contact:

Betel Hailu
hailu@isoc.org

Spotlight: The African IXP Association (AF-IX)

At the AIS’16 in June 2016, the African IXP Association (AF-IX) organised a Meeting. We met with Michuki Mwangi, Senior Development Manager for Africa  Internet Society and CTO of the Kenya Internet Exchange Point, who talked to us about how the meeting went and the key objectives and challenges of the AF-IX.

AF-IX is a platform for IXPs to share their experiences, find means to grow their membership and traffic and to address some of the challenges they are facing. One of the key objectives of AF-IX is to support the community in growing their exchange points, especially in countries that have already established IXPs. According to Michuki, the biggest challenge that arises is how  IXPs achieve membership growth.

ISOC supports AF-IX by providing fellowships to members to attend relevant meetings and by facilitating meeting space. The AF-IX met just prior to the start of the AIS’16 Conference week.

Right now AF-IX participants are facing a number of challenges with putting CDN caches at their exchange points,” explained Michuki. “There are varying views about having a large CDN cache like Google, Akamai or Cloudflare and how the economics work with having these. Since you need a link connecting that cache back to the headquarters for a cache fill (to provide the cache with fresh content), how do you sustain that link from a financial point of view. So they are looking at coming up with a sustainable model or model that doesn’t favour one particularly operator. The IXP members want the cache, but the members can’t agree on how they are going to pay to populate the cache and what percentage of the link will be used.

Michuki highlighted several key issues around attracting non-traditional members to IXPs:

  • Should they allow customers of ISPs to connect directly to their IXP?
  • Should governments and research and education networks, who are buying transit via ISPs, connect directly?
  • Should other small wireless companies, providing small services, come and connect?

According to Michuki, this was a steep learning curve for startup IXPs who specifically benefited from this sharing of experience.

For other IXPs, it’s a matter of them already exhausting all potential members in their region and looking to expand into other regions and attract ISPs from other regions to remote peer with their IXP. The discussion focused on what needs to be done in this instance? For example, do IXPs need to consider a marketing and sales person? Does an IXP need to employ full time staff and develop a business? If so how can they afford this? If we have to move from a fixed fee to a charged service, what are the best practices?

Most of the AF-IX members are new IXPs, so there were many questions on how to grow traffic and members. Bringing these newer IXPs together at the AIS and the Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) events, allows them to meet with more established IXP operators outside of Africa so they can discuss these issues with them too.

AF-IX Meetings

So far seven (7) AF-IX meetings have been organised, four alongside AIS and three preceded AfPIF. “AF-IX is open to any IXP in Africa and we have 27 countries with at least one IXP in the region,” continued Michuki. “The AF-IX Meeting is mostly about learning from each other as well as ongoing discussions of challenges with feedback. Because it is a closed meeting, participants are a lot more open to sharing their challenges knowing that it all stays in the room. And I have to say, the quality of the discussions at each of our meetings has been getting better and better. The growth of discussion and enthusiasm is encouraging because it shows that Africa’s IXPs are committed to growing their membership and traffic and are looking for advice and solutions”.

This article was originally published on AFRINIC Blog page.

Kenyan OTT operator seeks to attract Internet usage through Content

In the past five years, AfPIF participants have identified local availability of Content Delivery Networks (CDN) as one of the ways to lower connectivity cost and increase the level of local content within the country.

Global CDNs have strict requirements before deploying in a country, which has led investors and techies to explore other ways to deliver content to their users. In many African countries, there are business opportunities in connecting low-income areas that provide the numbers but lower monthly premiums.

We look at one initiative of a Kenyan Over The Top operator (OTT) that has also built its own CDN to carry the traffic. Able Wireless is betting on reducing latency for the consumer since the content is readily available and for content developers who can take advantage of the cost benefit from Local Caches.

Able Wireless is tapping to an unfulfilled market by providing Over The Top Traffic on its own network for as little as $5 a month and is currently seeking participation from local ISPs  keen on  making internet access more affordable.

Kahenya Kamunyu, founder of Able Wireless discusses with AfPIF about the company and availing affordable connectivity

1.     Tell us about Able Wireless?

Able Wireless is a pure Over the Top Public Common Carrier and the first fully Kenyan owned Content Network Operator .The goal being to offer affordable content service riding on a contiguous WiFi network. The network consists of physical fiber and copper mesh network inter-linked between apartments in residential areas, eliminating a single point of failure and creating multiple alternative data transport routes.

The Platform is a carrier for low cost content distribution targeted at the low and middle income segments of the population who have a huge appetite for content but have been locked out of other digital platforms by prohibitive costs. We’re currently providing access to a large pool of content over an unlimited internet connection to over 3,000 homes at Ksh.500 ($5) per month. Connection to the service is either through Wi-Fi, FTTH and WiFi or a Blackbox Streaming device that Able wireless provides.

2.     What are some of the legal issues arising from content distribution?

Everyone from the ISPs to Pay TV service providers, consider Able Wireless a threat. As an OTT that runs our own CDN the model reduces actual data consumption by 85% from traffic exchange since traffic travels only once which enables us deliver a large pool of content at a fraction of the costs charged by other players.

By viewing the Able platform as competition, we are simply missing out on localizing substantial amounts of traffic.

There is lot of untapped opportunity in the connected consumer demanding media and broadband and this is the value brought on by a pure carrier.A lot of ISPs have invested in thousands of kilometers of unlit fiber and unconsumed bandwidth while thousands of consumers are ready to consume content on demand, but only if it is affordable.

3.     What of the legal and regulatory framework?

Although we are licensed by the Communications Authority of Kenya, as a carrier, the cost of licensing remains prohibitive for small operators. For example we have to pay 0.4% of our annual Gross turnover or Ksh. ~100,000 ($1,000) per license whichever is higher annually, which in some cases is the difference between survival and failure. There are also actual license fees and taxes, which can easily discourage investors.

To recoup our investment, we are banking on the quality of service, wide choice of content available to consumers at an affordable cost and extensive infrastructure that delivers 1Gbps.

4.     How can CDNs take advantage of Peering?

Instead of CDNs building their own closed networks which are expensive to setup and maintain, they need to cooperate in delivering content to end-users in a scalable manner. In this case, we need to look at the economics of exchanging and therefore monetize the high capacity fiber links from ISPs.

5.     On Financing?

I walked to 56 banks, including investment banks to raise capital and it only took a “proxy” loan to get us going. Nobody was interested in talking to us – You say startup and the best I got was a cup of coffee. The potential financiers made me structure and restructure proposals or send me to different branches, but nobody was interested in financing an ICT business.

National Research and Education Networks help boost local traffic

By Dr. Boubakar Barry
CEO, WACREN

For decades, African countries have been spending billions of dollars in transit cost in order to communicate to each other. This has first applied to voice communication, then also to data communication, especially since the development of the Internet from the 1990s.

In the last 15 years, there have been several initiatives to change this state by establishing Internet Exchange Points (IXP’s), thus allowing local traffic to remain local.  The AXIS project that has been implemented by the Internet Society (ISOC) under the mandate of the African Union (AU) is one of these initiatives.

Today, more than half of African countries have an IXP, thus saving a lot of financial resources and improving the quality of communications by reducing latency drastically. Direct cross-border traffic exchange does also contribute to these savings and improved quality of service. There is however room for improvement, as many countries on the continent still don’t have IXPs, thus imposing local traffic to be exchanged through international gateways.

The academic community has been involved in many of these IXP initiatives. Moreover, due to the establishment of NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) in many African countries, research and education traffic is being exchanged directly between members of these NRENs.

It is a known fact that the education and research community generates a lot of traffic for teaching, learning and research purposes. It’s due to the size of this community and its special requirements in terms of bandwidth that NRENs have been established. Of course, do to the volume of traffic involved, it would be inefficient and costly to route this traffic through international gateways.

NRENs have therefore established closed private networks on which members peer and exchange traffic. They constitute platforms that allow and support collaboration and sharing of resources.

The West and Central African Research and Education Network (WACREN) will go even a step further by peering at regional level.

WACREN, established in 2010, has currently 11 members, namely: RerBenin (Benin), RIC (Cameroon), RITER (Côte d’Ivoire), GabonREN (Gabon), GARNET (Ghana), MaliREN (Mali), NigerREN (Niger), NgREN (Nigeria), snRER (Senegal), TchadREN (Chad) and TogoRER (Togo). RENATER, the French NREN and Eko-Konnect of Nigeria are WACREN Associate Members.

The NRENs listed above are in different stages of development, and it is expected that the AfricaConnect2 project funded by the European Commission will serve as catalyst for their further development.

The WACREN backbone for which an international tender has been opened in the framework of the AfricaConnect2 project will be constituted by a 10G+ backbone with 3 to 4 main hubs and access links at 1G+ for the NRENs. At least two links to Europe on the 10G+ backbone will connect WACREN to GEANT (the pan-European research and education network) and the global research and education network, through peering with Internet2 (USA), CLARA (Latin America) and APAN (Asia-Pacific).

WACREN and its sister organizations UbuntuNet Alliance and ASREN, the three regional RENs covering West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa and Northern Africa respectively, being aware of the benefit of peering and keeping local traffic local, have the objective of peering among themselves on the continent by the end of 2017.

Given the volume of traffic in the education and research community, this move will have a significant impact on growth and efficiency of Internet traffic in Africa.

Latency is Today’s Internet currency– Insights of seven years of AfPIF participation

By Harald A. Summa, CEO, DE-CIX

The Internet is a fundamental driver of growth and social development and is able to improve healthcare, education and the delivery of other critical services in a country. Internet traffic is sent to submarine cables, to European Internet exchange points like London or Frankfurt and then back, leading to high latency thereby slowing the Internet. This hinders the development of applications and local infrastructure, like Voice over IP, E-Government services, hosting and data centers.

“When we came in as sponsors to the first AfPIF meeting several years ago, we were keen to meet the African ISP community and learn more about the African interconnection ecosystem. We have learned a lot over the years; about the existing structures, challenges and equally seen a lot of positive developments but there’s still room for improvement” Said Harald A. Summa- CEO, DE-CIX

Some of the African countries where we have seen a lot of developments include South Africa. There is increasingly good connectivity in major cities and urban centers of countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana among others. However, in most countries, especially in the rural areas latency times are not anywhere near the european average of 20 to 40 milliseconds. In Africa, latency times are often higher than 300 milliseconds, and are considered normal within and between countries. Improving latency times is a very critical step in this journey.

Often, international content providers don’t bring their content into African countries due to difficult political or infrastructural situations and a lack of peering opportunities. There are more than 30 IXPs established all over Africa, but the majority is on a low data throughput. DE-CIX opened two Internet exchanges in Marseille and Palermo in 2015 to bring international content as close to Africa as possible. Palermo is the closest European point to Africa’s eastern coast with several submarine cables which significantly reduces latency times compared to sending traffic from London or Frankfurt.

“Our participation in AfPIF every year is to drive the development of peering and to share our knowledge of operating Internet exchange points for more than 20 years. Africa has the huge potential of having over one billion potential Internet users and they deserve better connectivity. To drive this, we assist with consultancy projects like Angonix, the Internet exchange point located in Luanda, Angola. We train engineers locally, share our BGP and peering knowledge and show ways of growing an Internet exchange point. AfPIF is the forum we use to meet the African ISP community and talk about challenges and opportunities – for a better Internet experience in Africa” Concluded Harald A. Summa

In order for peering to be the most efficient, it is important that the exchange of traffic is kept local. There has been some improvement over the years but it is not enough.

SEACOM seeks to increase connectivity numbers through direct to business services

SEACOM has stepped up its drive to connect more people and increase content in Africa, by launching a direct to business service in South Africa.

The Pan African fiber optic services provider is seeking to increase the level of content and number of users on its network, given that previously, it was primarily providing IP transit to ISPs and content providers in the region.

“Our growth rate is exceeding the aggressive targets we set for ourselves when we soft-launched the SEACOM Business division in January 2015. We’ve found that there is a great deal of pent-up demand in the business market for high-speed fiber Internet access at an affordable cost. We have more than 65 channel partners serving the market and are adding around 60 customers a month to our user base,” said Linda Carter – Head of Marketing, SEACOM.

Since 2009, SEACOM has been offering IP services within and outside Africa, growing local businesses as well as its footprint in Africa and Europe. SEACOM maintains that IP services remain a key part of the product portfolio and they expect continued growth.

This year, SEACOM is continuing its sponsorship of AfPIF, an event that helps the company engage with the tech community in Africa and contribute to the overall growth.

“SEACOM has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with ISOC AfPIF since we began sponsoring the event in 2012. We sponsor AfPIF and support it with Internet connectivity every year because it gives us an opportunity to connect personally with the Internet community within and outside Africa. It has really helped us get closer to our key users and partners. We look forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship into the future,” Carter added.

According to the business division brochure, SEACOM will be providing:

  • Internet Access Services- provides customers with high-speed access to the Internet through multiple global tier 1 providers, a mesh of subsea and terrestrial routes as well as optimized routing to many key African operators, service providers and content delivery networks;
  • Ethernet Services offer dedicated, transparent, EoMPLS layer-2 virtual private networking (VPN) connectivity across SEACOM’s network and onwards through SEACOM’s international partner networks;
  • Private Line Services give clients secure, dedicated, low-latency connectivity across multiple cable systems connecting Africa, Europe and Asia, as well as to key regional interconnection points in Africa;
  • Cloud Services – Hosted mail, online backup, end-point protection, virtual hosting and other cloud-based services provide customers with the ability to leverage the cloud to improve business processes and reduce costs.

The next step for SEACOM will be to ramp up the roll out of SEACOM Business solutions in Kenya, and to start looking at growth opportunities in Uganda, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

AXIS – Boosting Africa’s economy by keeping traffic local

When the first Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) was held in 2010, participants were in praise of the economic benefits of sharing content locally, and the contribution to overall business growth.

Though the number of countries with Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) were few, mainly in Eastern and Southern Africa, there was general consensus that the number of IXPs needed to grow, in order to lower cost of connectivity further.

Two years later, the African Union Commission partnered with the Internet Society to implement the first phase of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS). The project was meant to provide training and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of IXPs in 30 AU Member States.

With help from subject matter experts drawn from the Internet technical community in Africa and around the world, the Internet Society was able to deliver 60 workshops for 30 countries. The workshops demonstrated the impact of local exchange of Internet traffic between providers through IXPs. These trainings led to the establishment of 10 IXPs in Namibia, Burundi, Swaziland, Gambia, Gabon, Seychelles, Mauritius, Liberia, Mauritania and Madagascar.

“The impact of IXPs for the communities they serve are tremendous. They improve considerably the quality of Internet access by lowering latency to access local content and by increasing reliability since an outage of international connection will no more have an impact on local access. They also help push down prices by avoiding unnecessary international traffic to access local content” said Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa, Internet Society.

At the start of 2010 about 11 countries had a submarine cable landing station and have increased to two or three over the years. The continued growth in the number and capacity of submarine cables connecting Africa to other regions has therefore helped to support the increase and usage of IXPs for local traffic exchange and access to content. The presence of these IXPs on the continent has on its own given impetus to the availability of good quality internet and saved Internet Service Providers costs associated with high connectivity fees.

Though IXPs take time to grow the traffic, it is projected that the ten countries are making considerable savings through local exchange, which can result in lower connectivity costs.

“The annual AfPIF Forum and AXIS are complementary activities that have positively impacted the peering ecosystem in Africa. Through the collaboration of the two we have seen the establishment of national IXPs in virtually every African country that didn’t have an IXP at the start of the project. There are now 36 IXPs covering 50% of African countries which is a significant growth compared to 2008 when they covered less than 25%” Said Bekele.

The Best Practices workshops conducted under the AXIS project trained more than 750 people from 30 African countries (Burkina Faso, Senegal, Burundi, the Gambia, Namibia, Guinea, Niger, Benin, Swaziland, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Cameroon, Seychelles, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Liberia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Sao Tome, Comoros, Madagascar, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea and Central African Republic)

Given Africa’s infrastructure challenges, the best practice workshops served to demonstrate that even though most of the traffic was routed internationally, it was possible for ISPs and content providers to make savings by exchanging the content locally.

“With the goal of creating a consensus between the main actors on the need to establish an IXP, all workshops have reached their intended target audience and brought enhanced knowledge on the value and benefits of connecting to a local exchange point,” added Bekele.

Even though only ten countries have set up IXPs thus far, it is worth noting that, all countries where the Best Practices workshops have taken place were able to reach an agreement to create a local taskforce to champion the establishment and management of a local IXP. As such, we anticipate that more countries will setup their respective IXPs in the days ahead.

Connecting Africa: Let’s Keep the Momentum Going!

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

Location: Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Date: 30th August- 1st September 2016

I’m leaving an incredible week at the African Internet Summit in Bostwana feeling inspired! Africa IS at a tipping point and we need to keep the momentum going.

To that end I’d like to remind everyone about the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (or AfPIF it’s known) happening at the end of August in  Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

AfPIF about building connections.

Connections across boarders, connections between people, connections between governments, connections between businesses.

AfPIF is the event to come to in Africa to meet:

  • Chief Technology Officers of Internet Service Providers or companies;
  • Technical experts who build and run Internet Exchange Points;
  • Policy and Decision Makers – both in Africa and Globally;
  • Representatives from financial institutions around the world

Here are ways you can take part:

Why are we doing this? Here’s why:

Help #ConnectAfrica and join us!

This article was originally published on Internet Society’s Blog page.

Sixteen fellows to be at AfPIF this year

Sixteen technology experts have been sponsored for this year’s Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) conference, taking place on August 25th to 27th at the Girassol Indy Congress Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique.

The fellows bring the number of fellowships to a hundred, in the last six years. Since inception, AfPIF has endeavored to bring more African technology experts together, in effort to develop more solutions. In 2010 there were 5 fellowships, 14 in 2011, 17 in 2012, 28 in 2013, 20 in 2014 and 16 this year.

The fellows are drawn from the public and private sector, and are expected to deepen their understanding and develop solutions for peering and interconnection in their respective countries.  The Internet Society convened the first AfPIF in 2010 and it has become an important annual event for peering coordinators, ISPs, regulators, content and infrastructure providers.

Among other benefits reaped by the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) recipients will be;

  • Sharing experiences on ways to improve running and administering of a new, or existing IXP
  • 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

Now in its sixth year, the three-day event will run on different themes; first day being “Peering Coordinators Day” that will highlight on interconnection and data center operations. The second day’s theme will be on “Lesson Learnt” where the impact of peering in Africa will be discussed. The last day of AfPIF will run under the theme “Regional Content Producers and Distributers” where Internet exchange point (IXP) and measurements will be discussed.

The Internet Society called for application end of April 2015, giving a one-month duration for individuals to apply for the programme after which the committee took three weeks to sort the applications and announce qualified individuals. To attend the AfPIF fellowship, persons must be actively engaged in Internet policy, business and technical development relating to peering and transit. Also, the applicant in question should be African who has previously worked towards the development of an IXP and is able to demonstrate proof of work done in either of the fields.

The participants will be eligible to Air ticket to and from Maputo, Mozambique Hotel accommodation for the duration of the event.

Meet the 2015 fellowship recipients

Read on the Internet Society News Release announcing AfPIF 2015 Fellows to Attend Africa’s Premier Peering Event in Maputo, Mozambique

Google sees value in AfPIF meetings

In 2007, Google entered the Sub Saharan market. At that time, it looked like a risky move, given that Africa was still grappling with expensive satellite connectivity and efforts to lay fiber optic cables were underway. To some, Africa looked a long way from affordable connectivity while others saw it as just ripe.

By 2010, fiber optic cables had landed and connectivity costs were beginning to fall considerably. That year, Google supported the first Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF).

Mike Blanche was part of the Google team that was in Nairobi, talking about Google and its efforts in Africa. We asked him three questions:

1. AfPIF: Google has supported AfPIF for the last five years, how has the peering and interconnection landscape changed?

Five years ago, the modern high-capacity submarine cables that link Africa to the world were in the process of being laid, and the challenge was to develop demand for Internet services, terrestrial infrastructure and local interconnection points.

Now, we are seeing successful regional interconnection happening within Southern and Eastern Africa, with an increasing proportion of African traffic staying “local”. Lack of infrastructure and competition is still an issue in places, but the main challenge now is replicating the success stories to all corners of the continent, so everyone can benefit from fast, inexpensive, reliable Internet access.

2. International companies have different perceptions when dealing with Africa, what are some of the lessons learnt?

Google was one of the first international companies to invest in infrastructure in Africa, and over the years we’ve seen more international operators attend AfPIF and learn about the fast-developing African internet ecosystem. I think we have all learnt that Africa is a diverse set of different opportunities and challenges, and each country requires a slightly different approach.

3. I know the GGC is not openly spoken about, but how has AfPIF participation affected Googles entry into African countries? (I spoke to a techie from Benin who told me that speaking to Google team at AfPIF helped understand what is needed and probably sped up the process. I am looking at instances where Google maybe entered a country out of their initiative.)

AfPIF provides great value for Google, bringing together in one place those focussed on developing Internet connectivity and interconnection. AfPIF has helped to build a community of people who are building the fabric of the Internet across Africa.

Without the contacts made and relationships forged at AfPIF, we would not have been able to extend Google infrastructure across Africa.