CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

Swaziland: African Union Launches Internet Exchange Point in Swaziland

The Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology of Kingdom of Swaziland in partnership with the African Union's Infrastructure and Energy Department and Internet Society have launched an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Swaziland.

The parties to the continental IXP say it will help increase efficiency through the routing of intra-country internet traffic, thereby leading to faster and more secure exchange of intra-country traffic.

The inclusion of Swaziland brings to 24 the total number of established IXPs in the continent. Swaziland now becomes the third state to be connected as part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project meant to support facilitation and setting up of the necessary structures and prepare network engineers with the technical skills to interconnect their networks to the internet exchange point.

As part of the AXIS initiative, the AU has also donated equipment and services for the launch of IXPs in Swaziland and the neighboring states of Namibia and Burundi worth US $ 63,000.

Head of Information Society Division at AU Moctar Yedaly said despite efforts by the AXIS projects to benefit from IXPs in Africa, the continent was still in the early stages of taking full advantage.

"While the launch of the internet exchange point is a welcome and laudable development towards our efforts to reduce cost and inefficiency associated with routing of the continent's internet traffic through overseas carriers, we are still at the very early stage of harnessing the potential of Internet Exchange Points in Africa. It is in this regard that the African Union Commission plans issue a request for proposals to select internet exchange points to be supported to grow into regional internet exchange points," he said.

Swaziland's ICT minister Dumisani Ndlangamandla said the IXP was a welcome gift for stakeholders in the ICT space in the country.

"It has been a long road travelled together with the African Union Commission towards what we are here about today - our national internet exchange point (IXP). The African Union Commission has indeed proved to be a real mother to the nations on the African Continent by pioneering the African Internet Exchange System Project which has helped countries to establish their own internet exchange points" said Ndlangamandla.

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