AfPIF 2019: Lifting barriers to internet connectivity in Africa

With an aim to serve as a platform to expand and develop the African Internet, the 10th annual Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) took place at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava, Mauritius from 20-22 August, 2019 in collaboration with the local host, Rogers Capital.

AfPIF is an annual event that connects and brings key infrastructure, service, and content providers together in order to identify ways to improve network interconnection, lower the cost of connectivity, and increase the number of Internet users in the region.

This year, over 200 participants attended the event including providers of international, regional, and sub-regional transport, transit, and content. AfPIF is the only event in Africa focused on building the Internet by building relationships. It plays a key role in bringing together different parties to increase local traffic exchange across the continent.

From left, Co-coordinator of the African IXP Association, Kyle Spencer; Managing Director, Rogers-Capital Technology, Dev Hurkoo; President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society Andrew Sullivan, and African Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society Dawit Bekele, speaking during the opening ceremony press briefing held on August 20, 2019 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava.

This is the first time that the event has been held in Mauritius, which is seeking to develop its role as an innovation hub for the region, and the island economy has been privileged to play host to the 10th anniversary edition.

The opening session witnessed co-hosts the Internet Society, the African IXP Association (AF-IX) and Rogers Capital, together with the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation of Mauritius, who addressed the distinguished gathering comprising representatives from technology and infrastructure providers across the continent.

The audience also heard from dynamic speakers from the island’s media group La Sentinelle and local telecommunications major Emtel Ltd, among others, with leading pan-African players such as telecommunications group Liquid Telecom and the regional internet registry AFRINIC.

On the third and last day of the conference, Google addressed the gathering on one of the most pressing themes in the world of the Internet, telecommunications, and technology at large – security.

The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Internet Society, Andrew Sullivan said, “AfPIF has been all over the African continent and this is the first time we have come to the Indian Ocean islands area. Mauritius is an exciting place because there is a lot of ambition here in terms of development around the Internet, and the potential that this brings to everybody. Mauritius is a natural place for us to come since the Internet is growing so dramatically.”

“We have also had a very good discussion with the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation of Mauritius about the challenges facing the island economy, and we identified a number of issues that echo with our experience in other parts of the world. We are exchanging lessons and perspectives with the Ministry and it’s a very positive collaboration,” he added.

The African Regional Bureau Director of the Internet Society, Dawit Bekele stated, “AfPIF is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We chose to hold our meeting in Mauritius because it serves as a model for the continent and it is a very important platform for the Internet in Africa. It is the home of AFRINIC which is one of the main internet organisations for the continent. ICTs and the Internet have an important role in Mauritius because it is one of the pillars of the island economy, and being used to grow many businesses. Mauritius has a very good future in this sector and I would not be surprised if it becomes a leader not only in the region but also the world at large.”

Dev Hurkoo, Managing Director, Rogers Capital-Technology, said, “We are privileged to be hosting the 10th anniversary edition of AfPIF, which positions Mauritius as a hub for interconnection and peering in Africa. We expect better Internet connectivity, reduced costs, more network resilience and a great ecosystem across the community. We have 60 countries represented at this seminal event, of which 40 countries are from Africa. We have Internet experts here to share their insights on connectivity in Africa and are happy this event is happening here and now because we want the entire community to benefit from the expert takeaways.”

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