African leaders’ call for action demands data centre construction boom
Continent is on a mission to more than halve its dependency on internet traffic routing from Europe, the Americas and Asia.
Africa internet operators have been challenged to build and deploy more IT infrastructure in order to boost the continent’s connectivity and lower the costs associated with traffic exchange.
The continent’s operators have been set the goal by the African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) to route 80% of internet traffic through infrastructure built in Africa by 2020, decreasing Africa’s dependence on routing lines from other regions, mainly Europe.
The call for action has been made by Funke Opeke, CEO of connectivity and data centre operator MainOne, while speaking at the AfPIF, in Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire.
According to Opeke, internet transactions initiated in Africa typically leave the sender for a long journey outside the continent, usually to Europe, America or even Asia before returning to the target recipient, with the response traveling all the way back the same “tortuous route” to the sender.
She said: “Africa needs to retain more local traffic within the continent to drive more value from the Internet.
“This can be achieved by leveraging robust Internet Exchange Points and access via local interconnection points and local data centres which provide a platform for different networks to directly interconnect with other operators and exchange traffic, guaranteeing lower bandwidth costs, quicker access to more content providers and carriers and lower latency for local markets.”
Opeke also said the market is changing and that Africa’s growing fiber network density and increase in world-class data centres are “making it much easier for content providers and OTT operators to host and serve data locally”.