Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya Exchange 80% Internet Traffic Locally
Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya exchanged between 70 and 80 per cent of their Internet traffic locally and are the most developed Internet ecosystems in Africa.
Internet Society, which disclosed this in its “Moving towards an interconnected Africa: the 80/20 Initiative,” report, said that the number of African IXPs has increased by 58 per cent over the past eight years, from 19 in 2012 to 46 in 2020.
An IXP is a technical infrastructure where multiple networks, including Internet service providers, mobile operators, enterprise networks, research and education networks, e-Government services, and content delivery networks (CDNs) come together to connect and exchange Internet traffic.
IXPs enable the local exchange of Internet traffic instead of using expensive international transit routes. This not only makes Internet access much more affordable but also improves the quality of access by providing more direct network connections. Access speeds for content can be up to 10 times faster with an IXP because traffic is routed locally versus international transit routes.
The report, which examined the Internet ecosystem in Africa, observed that more than half of the countries in Africa have an IXP; six countries have more than one, stressing that IXPs provide significant savings by localising Internet traffic.
Internet Society disclosed that a network could save up to $240,000 per year by connecting to a local IXP. It added that the presence of content delivery networks has increased significantly and the amount of locally available content and demand for content hosting has increased.
The new report expanded on a 2020 analysis of IXP growth in Kenya and Nigeria and provided an overview of the evolution of Internet interconnection on the continent by examining a country in each of the six sub-regions: Angola (Southern Africa), Burkina Faso (Western Africa), Democratic Republic of Congo (Central Africa), Egypt (Northern Africa), Mauritius (Indian Ocean), and Rwanda (Eastern Africa).
Africa Regional Vice President for the Internet Society, Dawit Bekele, said: “Thanks to the continued work with partners over the years, we have many more sustainable IXPs that exchange a considerable amount of Internet traffic in Africa. But there’s still work to do to ensure that more Internet traffic is exchanged on the continent.”
Bekele added that a key success factor for IXPs is that governments understand the value that Internet infrastructure provides, which encourages the adoption of policies and regulations that enable Internet ecosystems to thrive.
While noting that Internet Exchange Points are critical to improving internet access and lowering connectivity costs in Africa, the report outlines the state of Internet interconnection in Africa and the critical role Internet Exchange Points (IXP) play in improving access and lowering costs.
There is an urgent need to increase Internet access across the continent, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, fewer than one in five households have Internet access. Reliable and affordable Internet access also fuels economic growth. A recent study estimates that the Internet economy has the potential to contribute up to $180 billion to Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.
GITEX Africa: NITDA Advocates Accelerated Digital Transformation
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has called for regional collaboration in accelerating digital transformation across Africa.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of NITDA, made the appeal in a statement issued by Mrs Hadiza Umar, the Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relations of NITDA.
Inuwa made the call at the just concluded maiden edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Morocco, that held from May 31 to June 2.
GITEX Africa is a technology exhibition in the region that brought together industry leaders, policy makers, entrepreneurs and innovators to discuss and showcase advancements in technology.
It was themed “Accelerating Digital Transformation in Africa: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities”, and Fast Tracking to an Integrated and Inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure”.
The event provided an ideal platform for organisations to promote dialogue, showcase innovative solutions and build partnerships to harness the potential of the digital age.
NITDA’s participation focuses on fostering collaborations, sharing best practices and addressing the challenges hindering Africa’s digital growth.
Represented by Dr Aristotle Onumo, the Director of Corporate Planning and Strategy, he said the digital transformation in the region would provide opportunities that could propel the continent into a digital era of innovation and inclusive development.
He highlighted the need for African countries to invest in digital infrastructure, skills development and policy reforms to reap the benefits of digital transformation driven by technology.
“There is the need to collaborate with governments, academia, industry, venture capitalists and the tech community in order to accelerate digital transformation in Africa.
“African countries require to work together to develop common standards and regulations for the digital economy, and to promote the adoption of digital technologies across all sectors of the economy,” he said.
He further commended progress made through African Free Trade Agreement and African Smart Alliance, and called for a sustained effort towards a common digital identity for Africa.
Inuwa also highlighted that Africa faced the dearth of the inadequate infrastructure, poor digital skills as well as digital inclusion, pointing out that there is need for more investments in human capital development.
“Inspite these challenges, Africa has the potential to become a major player in the global digital economy.
“African nations should work together to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities that abound in digital transformation.
“Technology is a key driver of economic growth and job creation, so we need to invest in digital infrastructure, develop our own digital strategies in order to fully reap the benefits of the digital revolution.
“Public-private partnerships are essential for driving digital transformation in Africa,hence work for more inclusive and sustainable digital future for the continent,” he said.
He reiterated that NITDA was committed to supporting the digital transformation of Nigeria and Africa.
According to him, the agency is working with governments, private sector and the tech community to develop and implement policies, programmes and initiatives that accelerate digital transformation on the continent.
Centre Introduces Mark Hack 2.0 For Marketing, Media Professionals
Eko Innovation Centre has said that it has launched MarkHack 2.0, a platform for marketing, media professionals and students in order to explore new and innovative ways to disrupt the creative industry.
The founder of Eko Innovation Centre, Mr. Victor Afolabi said this during the launch of the second edition of Mark Hackathon in Lagos last weekend.
Afolabi noted that the initiative was aimed at fostering collaboration, creativity and critical thinking among participants and also provide a platform for them to showcase their ideas to potential investors.
According to him, participants would be split into teams of five and required to work together for a period of three weeks, brainstorming and ideating new concepts based on their focus areas.
The founder, said each team would also pitch their ideas to a selection of jury and the best 10 teams with the most viable concepts would go head-to-head at the finale to win a prize pool of 10,000 dollars.
The CEO , hinted that they would also get the chance to join an acceleration programme to get their products ready for the market.
Speaking on the creative industry, he said it was the country’s second largest employer and has the potential to produce seven million jobs by 2025, with a major contribution from entertainment and media.
“The entertainment and media growth will be seen in the development of the metaverse and the use of non-fungible token.The metaverse could contribute around 40 billion dollars to the economies of sub-saharan markets like Nigeria”, he said.
The Managing Director, Redwood Consulting, Mrs Hannah Oyebanjo, said the creative industry held the potential to create jobs for young people
Oyebanjo based her point on a research, which according to her, showed that the creative sector currently has employed about 4.2 million people across five industries including media, entertainment and others.
Oyebanjo, however, informed that the Nigerian creative industry had its challenges which included lack of appreciation for intellectual properties, access to reliable data, weak marketing knowledge and access to funding, among others.
Also, the Managing Director of Entod Marketing, Iquo Ukoh, commended the innovation centre for organising hackathons such as the MarkHack to give several talents opportunities to bring their ideas to reality.
Ukoh, however, said that soon, solutions would come out of the hackathon that would disrupt markets in Nigeria.
Telecom Operators Move To Disconnect Banks Over N120bn USSD Debt
Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria have notified, that they have been granted approval by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to disconnect banks over N120 billion Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) debt.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr Gbenga Adebayo in Lagos and obtained by The Tide Source in in Port Harcourt recently.
Adebayo in the statement, said Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) would disconnect banks if they failed to pay the debt owed.
He said the approval was granted because in spite of the multi-party stakeholder efforts to resolve the situation and prevent any impact on services, banks continued to incur greater debt, without making the commensurate payments.
According to him, members of the public would recall that MNOs and banks had protracted disagreements concerning the appropriate USSD pricing model for financial transactions, transparency of charges, mode of collection and liability for payment of the outstanding and continuous service fees due to the MNOs.
“Due to the inability of MNOs and banks to reach an agreement on the issues, MNOs in 2021 sought to disconnect banks due to the unpaid debts which stood at N42 billion as at that time”, he said.
Adebayo noted that It was pertinent to note that the contract between MNOs and banks on the use of USSDs for banking transactions was strictly commercial and MNOs were at liberty to withdraw the services if the transaction was unprofitable to them.
He also explained that MNOs have invested billions of naira in expanding their systems to accommodate the USSD needs of banks over the years.
Adebayo said this had resulted in more Nigerians having access to banking services in addition to enabling banks to trim down costs by requiring less branches to service their growing customers.
He said that unfortunately, MNOs were not getting paid for their services and the debt that stood at N42 billion in 2021 had now risen to over N120 billion.
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