Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 February 2021:
Last week, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) signed a partnership that paves way for secure and efficient internet connectivity for African countries.
The agreement by the two industry leaders hopes to realize enhanced broadband development in the continent as the focal approach that will support this development.
IPv6 is the latest version of the IP address standard which represents a numerical Internet Protocol (IP) address that aids devices connected to the Internet to communicate. Its rollout is designed to supplement and eventually replace IPv4 making the case for more efficient and secure connectivity.
IPv4 in Africa is presently becoming more burdened which makes the adoption of IPv6 vital for reliable and stable connectivity.
For Africa to keep pace with the rest of the world, the ATU and AFRINIC project that aims at hastening the pace of replacing IPv4 with IPv6 must be made a priority. This, as recognized by the MoU, calls for leveraging the skills and experiences of African Regulators and engineers in its deployment in order to accelerate the development of a resilient digital transformation infrastructure in the continent. Their agreement in part is hinged on research and capacity building efforts aimed at tightening the migration strategy and policies that are intended to stimulate effective deployment at national level across all African states.
To ensure that consumers of internet in Africa receive value for their money, the ATU-AFRINIC MOU also provides for the development and implementation of tools for Internet performance measurements in Africa.
This is important in determining whether the internet speed provided by local service providers is compliant with the speed value indicated in relevant customer’s Service Level Agreement (SLA).
With interactions moving more and more towards the online space, the significance of this MoU cannot be wished away, and neither can the endless possibilities that are likely to stem from the realization of promising digital infrastructure in Africa.
The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) was founded in 1977 as a specialized agency of the Organization of African Unity, now African Union, in the field of telecommunications. ATU took its present name in 1999. This led to the transformation of the agency into a partnership between public and private stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
ATU provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICT to formulate effective policies and strategies aimed at improving access to information infrastructure and services. In addition, the Union represents the interests of its members at global decision-making conferences and promotes initiatives aimed at integrating regional markets, attracting investment into ICT infrastructure, and building institutional and human capacity.
The mission of the Union is to accelerate the development of the telecommunications/ICTs in Africa in order to achieve digital economies. The Union envisions an Africa that is empowered as an inclusive information society with strong digital economies for sustainable social, economic and environmental development in Africa. ATU’s core activity programmes include; Internal Institutional Capacity, Support by Key Institutions and Strategic Partnerships.
ATU currently has 48 Member States drawn from Governments and 54 Associate Members from within and outside the African region.
About the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC)
The African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) is the Regional Internet Registry for Africa headquartered in Ebene, Mauritius. It is responsible for the distribution and management of Internet number resources (IP address space and Autonomous System Numbers) in Africa and the Indian Ocean region. AFRINIC ensures equitable and efficient distribution of Internet number resources to the African Internet community to support Internet technology usage and development across the continent.
By serving more than 1,700 organisations from public, private and academic sectors, AFRINIC has been contributing to the development of the African Internet by managing the distribution of Internet number resources and providing capacity building to enhance African decision-makers and engineers’ skills and experience in the digital business.
More on AFRINIC can be found at www.afrinic.net.