The African Union (AU) Infrastructure and Energy Department, the Internet Society and the Kingdom of Swaziland’s Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology have partnered to launch an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in the country.

The partners said the continental IXP will bring about an increase in efficiency by routing intra-country internet traffic, thus resulting in faster and more secure exchange of intra-country traffic.

It brings the total number of established IXPs in Africa to 24, with Swaziland the third state to be connected as part of the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project, which aims to support the facilitation and setting up of necessary structures and equip network engineers with the necessary technical skills to interconnect their networks to the internet exchange point.

The AU has donated equipment and services for the launch of IXPs in Swaziland as well as Namibia and Burundi, with the donated items valued at about US$63,000.

Head of the Information Society Division at the AU Moctar Yedaly said Africa is still in the early stages of taking full advantage of the AXIS projects.

“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,” he said.

“It is in this regard that the African Union Commission plans to issue a request for proposals to select internet exchange points to be supported to grow into regional internet exchange points.”

Swaziland’s ICT minister Dumisani Ndlangamandla said: “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 AXIS project which has helped countries to establish their own internet exchange points.”