Community Networks Growing the Internet

Passion and Dedication at the 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa

The 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa took place in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October to 2 November 2019 in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and hosted by the University of Dodoma. The format consisted of two days of valuable training sessions on defining the community network (CN) movement in Africa, the importance of exclusivity and communications in building CNs, and strategies for sustainability cooperative models among others. The next two days were dedicated to plenary sessions, which focused on discussions to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between CN operators in the region, and improve their business skills. The Summit concluded with a two-day site visit to the Kondoa Community Network for more hands-on technical learning and sharing of best practices.

This year, the Summit received 134 participants from 18 countries globally: Argentina, Cameroon, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Uganda, the U.K., and the U.S. Of these 36 participants were women and 77 participants were from Tanzania. The participation of women was notable – and important in addressing gender gaps related to access in particular.

Community Networks provide a sustainable solution to address connectivity gaps in urban, remote, and rural underserved areas around the world. In Africa, where these gaps are more evident, a recent survey identified 37 community network initiatives in 12 African countries, of which 25 are considered active. We were happy to note that there were over 20 CNs represented.

The overall spirit of dedication, passion, and interest of the participants was fundamental in achieving the main objective of the Summit, which was to promote the creation and growth of community networks, increase collaboration between CN operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders including policymakers and regulators.

National policy and regulation play an essential role in creating an environment for community networks to emerge and grow. We were pleased to note that the meeting of the African Union Member States Ministers in Charge of Communication and Information and Communication Technology (CICT) and Postal Services, held in Sharm El-Sheikh from 22-26 October 2019, recognized the need for new strategies and pilot projects to provide basic infrastructure and services in rural and remote areas that include indigenous community networks. This is an important step toward creating an enabling environment, and we look forward to working with the African Union member states countries to develop guidelines towards this new approach to connecting the unconnected.

The Summit was honored by Tanzania’s Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, and by Tanzania’s Minister for Works, Transport, and Communications, Isack Kamwelwe. They attended the opening and closing ceremonies respectively along with other government officials, representatives, from the University of Dodoma, and local media.

Last but not least, the Summit was also an opportunity to meet with the Internet Society’s Tanzania Chapter and local individual members and hold productive discussions around the projects supported by the Internet Society, including community networks.

The Internet is for everyone. Learn more about community networks and join the global movement to help close the digital divide!

Read the wrap up blog post published on Tanzania Community Networks Alliance (tzCNA) website, reported by Bonface Witaba (ICANN Fellow) and Matogoro Jabhera (Mozilla Fellow, 2019).

Image: The power of women in tech at 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa ©Nyani Quarmyne/Panos Pictures

Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF Day Three: A Record Number of Women

It’s been a record-breaking year: 97 women attended AfPIF 2019, the highest ever, showing the fruits of diversity efforts from organizers and sponsors.

In the last three years, there have been fellowships targeting women in engineering, supported by organizations like Workonline, Google, LINX, and Akamai. There’s also been a working lunch, where participants discuss the best way AfPIF can be more inclusive to women.

As the curtains fell on the tenth edition of AfPIF, it was clear that the future is looking bright, with 367 men and women attending, representing 59 countries: 202 from Africa, 36 from Europe, 16 from America, and 13 from Asia.

The first panel of the day was dedicated to looking back at the challenges in the last ten years, identifying the opportunities going forward, and what we all must do in order to guarantee business growth and better connectivity for the region.

One of the key points was that the traditional telco model is changing, and companies will have to adapt in order to stay relevant. Seacom, for instance is exploring other business opportunities as the demand for traditional infrastructure falls and local content grows, leading to formation of ISPs that can survive largely without the need for IP transit.

“The notion that everyone wants transit to London doesn’t hold anymore. In South Africa, it is now possible for a local ISP to survive on 90% of local traffic, meaning they may not need IP transit, compared to other parts of the continent. That makes sales harder in South Africa, but growth opportunities are there in countries that are yet to open up,” said Mark Tinka, Head of IP Engineering at Seacom.

The panel made it very clear that the ecosystem is made up of complex relationships and will need all parties working together in order to grow. The growth in content has a direct correlation with the growth in data center space. While in other parts of the world its easier to predict the uptake, it is much harder to predict the growth in Africa.

For Teraco, initially, the goal was to have more space, explain to people the benefits of co-location, and have more connections. However, virtualization means one can do more with smaller spaces and the challenge now is continued innovation and scaling, as more companies explore having 10G ports, which was unheard of 10 years ago.

Ten years ago, Akamai’s challenge was how to enter more markets, build relationships and navigate complex regulatory issues in different countries. Now, the CDN is in major service providers in 26 countries and is using the lessons learned to grow its footprint to more countries.

For Google, the challenge still remains access. How do we make connectivity more accessible to more people? Smartphones have become cheaper, but the bandwidth needs to get more affordable for more people to use it. The cost of last mile equipment needs to get more affordable for networks to provide more affordable connectivity, whether through the radio network or fiber.

The issue of wayleaves, whether by national, local, or aviation authorities remains a major issue for many organizations. Whether it’s on cost or the time it takes to get the approval, it was clear that more dialogue is needed in order to make the process smoother.

The afternoon session focused on Routing security which has become more paramount, due to the high number of routing security incidents. In the recent past, a number of routing security incidents have resulted in the global outage of large content providers such as Cloudflare. One common routing security incident is known as route prefix hijacking. This occurs when a network broadcasts or announces Internet Protocol (IP) address routing information, accidentally or otherwise, that belongs to a different network. As a result, Internet users trying to connect to the original network that owns the IP addresses are redirected to a different (wrong) network.

Speakers on the security sessions demonstrated various techniques and tools that ISPs and IXPs can implement to reduce the effect of route hijacking incidents. Networks were asked to implement RPKI which increases the integrity of the global routing address information system. RPKI enables networks to validate the source of routing information received from other networks. The validation ensures that invalid sources are flagged appropriately and are not propagated across to other networks globally. For instance, Cloudflare demonstrated how a recent route hijack incident, which affected many networks globally from accessing their services, did not affect those networks that had implemented RPKI.

Networks were also encouraged implement and join the Mutually Agreed Norms on Routing Security (MANRS) actions to mitigate against the recurrence of similar routing security incidents in the future.

AfPIF 2020 will be held in Kigali, Rwanda.

Growing the Internet Infrastructure and Community Development Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF Day Two: International Traffic, the Economics of Peering, and a Look Ahead to 2030

In the last five years, Africa’s international traffic patterns have changed, with international and  intra regional traffic growing, according to the latest statistics from Telegeography, presented at this year’s AfPIF.

Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi maintain their top hub status, but Cotonou, Kigali, Libreville, Abidjan, and Dakar have emerged as major hubs as international traffic grows. Cotonou recorded 88Gps between 2018 and 2019, showing a 77% growth, while Kigali recorded 75Gbps, a 92% growth, and Libreville had 113Gbps at 71% growth.

This was attributed to a drastic reduction in connectivity costs, which led to more data center space and eventual demand for more capacity to other international hubs. West African connection, especially between Dakar, Abidjan, Accra, and Lagos has also increased.

Telegeography monitors international transit traffic and the presentation was one of the highlights of the day. Domestic traffic is a bit harder to capture but Telegeography promised to work with more providers to get future snapshots of the growing traffic.

The presentation by Telegeography explored the shifting connectivity landscape in Africa and its effect on interconnection hubs, showing that new hubs may soon emerge, as more and more cities reduce the cost of connectivity and invest in more infrastructure.

The data emerging shows that Europe is still a preferred transit route and Intra-Africa route capacity has increased between East and West while South to North connectivity is increasing, probably because of the Cape to Cairo infrastructure projects.

The data also shows that new hubs will be driven by new submarine cable routes, carrier neutral data centers IXs, a friendly regulatory environment that is geared towards business growth, business competition and low prices for local connectivity, and a rich ecosystem with content and growing corporations.

AfPIF also included a presentation exploring Africa by 2030 and what we need to be prepared for. It was clear that intra-regional connectivity was key, as prices continue falling, and expected to be on par with other parts of the world by then. There were other expectations for 2030, including:

  • The customer will have more control over the routing of traffic and the applications, while networks will be expected to be more agile, to provide for the evolving customer needs, and running flexible networks.
  • International organizations will invest more in Africa, given that now there are a billion unconnected in the region and it is slowly becoming an important market for international tech companies.

For each of the past ten years at AfPIF, there has been a presentation on the economics of peering – a way to deepen the conversation on why networks should peer and introduce any newcomers to the economics of IXPs. This year, the conversation was led by Susan Forney from Hurricane Electric.

In her presentation, she projected that Africa’s IXP growth will follow the international trajectory, with falling connectivity costs leading to an increase in content and the eventual need for exchanging content locally and strategically.

For any community considering whether to set up an IXP, it is important to consider the port costs, equipment support costs, costs of cross connect, data center costs, and any third party costs that may be incurred.

These costs can be weighed with the benefits of an IXP, such as reaching content networks or cloud providers like Microsoft, AWS, Google, Akamai, Limelight, Fastly, Facebook, and Netflix among others.

To understand where to peer, it is important to get statistics about the highest traffic sources and destinations on the network, allowing the easier upgrade of capacity.

Stay tuned for the Day Three Summary, with more discussions on content and security!

Photo: AfPIF 2018

Growing the Internet Infrastructure and Community Development Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

AfPIF-10 Kicks Off in Balaclava, Mauritius

The tenth meeting of Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) kicked off in Balaclava, Mauritius, with participants celebrating the achievements and looking forward to further collaboration.

Andrew Sullivan, the President and CEO of the Internet Society, opened by highlighting the importance of the meeting, which helps create a community that supports the growth of the Internet in Africa, identifies challenges, and ensures that understanding spreads.

In his speech, he noted that traffic exchanged inside Africa has expanded enormously as a result of the work done by AfPIF over the years. One of AfPIF goals is to increase the level of local content exchanged locally to 80% by 2020.

Sullivan, who has extensive experience working with international Internet bodies, emphasized the need for a robust community in Africa, led by Af-IX, that will continue working together to ensure that the Internet is built in Africa, according to the needs of Africans and the African network experience.

The annual meeting, brings together chief technology officers, peering coordinators and business development managers from the African region, Internet service providers and operators, telecommunications policymakers and regulators, content providers, Internet exchange point (IXP) operators, infrastructure providers, data center managers, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), carriers and transit providers, and international financial organizations. The forum is planned as a non-profit event and international sponsorship and support have been sought to convene the event.

The first meeting was held in Kenya in 2010 when the region was tackling different kinds of challenges: connectivity was mainly via satellite, there were only a few submarine cables, the benefits of interconnectivity were not well known within the local tech communities, and the cost of bandwidth was between $ 3,000 and $5,000 per Mbps.

Between 2010 and 2014, the meeting highlights included “The Peering Game,” where participants were led by Dr. Peering (Bill Norton) in understanding how peering works, the economics of it, and the benefit to end users. This game helped share knowledge and understanding, which set the stage for peering personals and bilaterals that are the current highlight of AfPIF.

Over the past decade, the Internet Society and its partners has offered equipment donations and technical training and community mobilization in at least 28 African countries.

One of the highlights is a partnership between the African Union (AU) and the Internet Society on the AXIS Project between 2012 and 2018 where over 1500 people in 28 countries were trained. The project also supported the creation of several new IXPs, support of 8 IXPs into becoming regional IXPs increased awareness on value of IXPs and policy work on importance of cross border interconnection. One notable outcome of the capacity building work, has been the development of regional subject matter experts and trainers who speak French and Portuguese which was a challenge before.

Going forward, it is clear that the work has just begun and the next decade will equally be critical. The goal is to get service providers from all African countries to participate in AfPIF, sustained learning and information sharing is need, increased collaboration between data center operators and the tech community and increased research and measurements in the region.

As the host of the 10th meeting, Mauritius took the chance to showcase how it is leading in efforts to interconnect the Indian Ocean Islands, as well as grow its reputation as an attractive locale for technology companies seeking to invest in Africa.

Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros and Madagascar make up the Indian Ocean Islands with a combined population of 28.3 million. These islands are connected by Safe and Lion submarine cables but there are efforts in the pipeline to set up a third cable connecting all the islands with South Africa.

The Day Two Summary will cover more about the economics of peering and the infrastructure issues in the region!

Community Networks Growing the Internet

Save the Date: 4th Summit on Community Networks in Africa

The 4th Summit on Community Networks (CNs) in Africa will take place in Dodoma, Tanzania from 28 October to 2 November 2019. The Summit hopes to promote the creation and growth of CNs, increase collaboration between CN operators in the region, and provide an opportunity for them to engage with other stakeholders.

The main activities planned include:

  • Training Workshop: 28-29 October
  • CN Summit Plenary: 30-31 October
  • Site Visit to Kondoa Community Network: 1-2 November

The event is targeted at CN operators, policy makers, researchers, evangelists, sponsors, and related networks such as community radio.

Last year over 100 participants from 20 countries, 13 of them African, gathered in Wild Lubanzi, in one of the deepest rural areas of the Eastern Cape. The 3rd Summit on CNs in Africa was organized by the Internet Society,Zenzeleni Networks NPC, and APC from 2-7 September 2018. For the approximate 40 participants from surrounding communities, the Summit was their first international conference – or conference of any kind. It was exciting to see them absorb everything and feel proud of their neighbors in Mankosi, home of the Zenzeleni project, one of many community networks in Africa.

CNs offer local solutions to the connectivity gaps that exist in urban, remote, and rural areas around the world. In Africa, where these gaps are more evident, a recent survey was able to identify 37 CN initiatives in 12 African countries, of which 25 are considered active. Many more CNs have come up after the report, in part, thanks to the training and the experience that have been shared in the previous Summits held in Kenya and South Africa. Among them is the Kondoa CN, in Tanzania, which will be featured in this year’s Summit.

The 4th Summit is organized by the Internet Society in partnership with APC and hosted by the University of Dodoma.

Events Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

African Peering and Interconnection Forum 2019 Fellows Announced

The 10th African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF-10) has selected twenty fellows to participate in the meeting next month.

The fellows are drawn from various fields such as interconnection, content, infrastructure, and policy. They represent Kenya, Lesotho, Somalia, Nigeria, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Egypt, Uganda, South Africa, Republic of the Congo (Congo), Ethiopian Cameroon, Benin, and Gambia.

Among the chosen fellows are six women sponsored by the Women in Tech partners. The women are drawn from Kenya, South Africa, Gambia, and Congo.

Representing DR Congo in this year’s AfPIF forum is Eric Nsilu Moanda. Eric works as a Senior Core Data Network Architect for Vodacom DR Congo. He has held the position at the Vodafone Group subsidiary for 12 years now, designing all IP Integration Solutions for the company.

“I look forward to learning how to produce attractive local content in Africa, for Africans, obtaining a fresh technical and marketing perspective, and gaining awareness in the evolution of continental interconnection projects,” Eric said.

In the past, Eric has peered on integrating Vodacom to KINIX (Kinshasa Exchange point) and he also worked on the Internet update link for the CDN of Kinix via Vodacom. He is a member of the Technical committee of ISPA in DR Congo and is part of the team that worked on Integration of the CDN of Google and Facebook to KINIX.

Stephanie Achieng is one of the Women in Tech fellows, representing Kenya at AfPIF-10. She currently works at Technology Service Providers of Kenya (TESPOK) as a Technical officer at the company which runs the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP).

Her past achievements include having successfully led initiatives such as partnering with Google and Hurricane Electric to drive KIXP data with over 60,000 routes exchanged. She also participated in the launching of a new Internet Exchange Point at the Mombasa ICOLO data center, targeting tier 1 and 2 service providers and onboarding members such as Facebook, MTN, and Lyca Digital.

Learn more about all of the AfPIF 2019 fellows and their work!

Events Open Internet Standards Shaping the Internet's Future Technology

Hackathon at Africa Internet Summit 2019: Network Programmability, Network Time, IPv6, IPWAVE, and Measurement

The Internet Society and AFRINIC collaborated to organize the 3rd Hackathon@AIS in Kampala, Uganda, which took place alongside the 2019 Africa Internet Summit. The event attracted more than one hundred participants who took part in five different tracks at the event. The event has grown from three tracks and 39 participants in 2017 and three tracks with 75 participants in 2018, to five tracks with 100 participants this year. Cisco DevNet has been helping organize the event since the first edition, and this year, they sponsored t-shirts for the Hackathon.

The goals of the Hackathon@AIS and other open standards promotion activities in the African region are to identify, encourage, and expose engineers from Africa to open Internet Standards development, so that they can contribute to the work at organizations such as the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The event ran for two days, organized as follows:

  • Day 1, June 19th, Morning
    • Opening session covering the goals of the meeting and the overall structure
    • Registration formalities of participants – using information gathered during the registration process earlier in the year, participants were added into corresponding tracks with each track having its own meeting room and facilitators
    • Room and lab setup – connectivity was provided via the Africa Internet Summit connectivity provider (SEACOM)
  • Day 1, June 19th, Afternoon
    • Hackathon activities in each track
  • Day 2, June 20th, Morning
    • Hackathon activities in each track
  • Day 2, June 20th, Afternoon
    • Presentation of results from each track (available on the event website)
    • Closing ceremony with awarding of t-shirts.

The Tracks
This year, there were five tracks:

Network Programmability
In this track, participants were introduced to network programmability concepts and components, including IETF standards such as YANG, NETCONF, and RESTCONF. They then applied what they learned using tools such as pyang, ncclient, and Postman, programming languages such as Python, and sandboxes from Cisco DevNet that provided access to network devices.

Network Time
In this track, participants were taken through Network Time and the work going on at the IETF on how to secure NTP. It started with an introduction on plain NTP, and its basic packet format. The participants learned about wireshark and compiling from source. Later NTS (Secure Network Time) was explained and how it is finally heading to becoming an RFC. This part of the track was challenging due to the mathematics involved. Participants got to work with Chrony and presented their findings at the closing ceremony.

In this track, participants were taken through IPv6 and given a breakdown of the IETF IPv6 working groups (6MAN and v6OPS) and the role of the Working Group chairs at the IETF. Participants were challenged with enabling IPv6 in several IPv4 only open source tools, some of which were completed successfully.

The facilitators proposed that a follow up be made to keep the flame burning, by helping the participants get more familiar with current drafts that are being discussed in the various IPv6 related working groups.

This track covered testing an implementation of a draft being discussed at the IETF under the IPWAVE working group. The author of the track, Professor Nabil Benamar, lead the group in testing some implementations proposed in the draft.

This track covered DNS over TLS (DoT) and DNS over HTTPS (DoH) setups and measuring the performance of caching resolvers against locally-setup DoT and DoH servers against publicly available DNS resolvers. The purpose was to find out the performance differences and the requirements for running a local DoT or DoH server. Some of the results indicated that of the publicly available DNS resolvers, Quad9 ( returned responses the quickest in Africa, but local resolvers (installed in the local lab) were still quicker. Do read a more conclusive report from Willem Toorop from NLnet Labs, who was one of the lead facilitators at the Measurement Track.

Presentations and Materials
Presentations and other content from the event can be found at

Feedback from participants has been positive with almost all participants indicating that the event got them interested in Open Internet Standards and the work going on at the IETF. On what could be improved, the most common feedback from participants has been to increase the number of days for the event which currently stands at 2 days. Participants said more days would allow for more in-depth coverage of document lifecycles (from drafts to RFC) and more time to get into the technical content covered in each track.

Moderator feedback was similar with more time available noted as being key to covering more content in depth.

Participants from some of the tracks such as the IPWAVE went on to update the IPWAVE Working Group at the IETF with the results of their findings from the event. Several participants have also indicated interest in organizing similar activities in their localities or organizing remote viewing hubs for meetings such as the IETF.

The organizers would like to thank the expert facilitators who lead the tracks, the AFNOG tech team for providing the required connectivity, and AFNOG and AFRINIC for sharing the venue during the 2019 Africa Internet Summit.

TheHackathon@AIS 2019 Facilitators were:

Network Programmability

  • Charles Eckel
  • Isabel Odida
  • Michelle Opiyo


  • Loganaden Velvindron
  • Christer Weinigel
  • Jeremie Daniel

Measurement (DNS)

  • Willem Toorop
  • Jasper van Hertog


  • Nabil Benamar
  • Manhal Mohammed


  • Fred Baker
  • Stephen Honlue
  • Brice Abba

Organizing Team

  • Marsema Tariku (ISOC)
  • Stephen Honlue (AFRINIC)
  • Charles Eckel (Cisco)
  • Nabil Benamar (Morocco – School of Technology Meknes, University of Moulay Ismail)
  • Willem Toorop (NLNET Labs)
  • Fred Baker
  • Kevin G. Chege (ISOC)

Report Compiled by:

  • Stephen Honlue
  • Charles Eckel
  • Nabil Benamar
  • Willem Toorop
  • Kevin G. Chege
  • Loganaden Velvindron

Read testimonials from the Hackathon trainers!

Events Open Internet Standards Technology

2019 Hackathon@AIS: Testimonials from the Trainers

What is Hackathon@AIS?

The Internet, with its endless supply of knowledge and information, has become a strategic element in nearly all economic endeavors in Africa. To build tactical awareness among primary stakeholders as well as resiliency and robustness into Internet-enabled grids, the Internet Society and AFRINIC have organized the third Hackathon@AIS event, which is taking place in Kampala, Uganda, from 19-20 June 2019.

Network engineers, software developers, and computer science students from across Africa are gearing up for another round of collaborative computer programming aimed at introducing participants to existing and evolving Internet standards development that can help further their careers through shared skillsets.

The first Hackathon@AIS was held in 2017 in Nairobi and attracted 39 participants from 12 countries. The second event, held in 2018 in Dakar, attracted 75 participants from 15 countries. Both events consisted of three different tracks led by expert facilitators from across the globe. This year, the event consists of five tracks spanning different fields, and again we’ve called on expert facilitators from around the world to share their expertise and guidance.

The Hackathon is a breeding ground for talent that can change the world through innovation and create productivity and efficiency in business. Participants will meet new people with different talents, forming “super teams” – with skilled mentors to guide participants down the right path of on-demand service delivery.

Why Are We Doing It?

The goals of the Hackathon@AIS are to expose engineers to the development process of open Internet standards and to identify strong individuals who can contribute to open Internet standards in the region. Historically, participation from the African region has been low and this event aims to  encourage engineers to contribute to open Internet standards. This year, approximately 400 participants applied and more than 100 are attending the event. Please visit the event web page:

Testimonials from the Trainers

Fred Baker has been working in data communications since 1978, including 22 years at Cisco and 30 years in the IETF. He now co-chairs IPv6 Operations in the IETF and the Root Server System Advisory Committee in ICANN. “This is my first Hackathon as a trainer,” Fred said. “I’m learning as I prepare, and hope to be a benefit to those I work with.”

Loganaden Velvindron, currently working at AFRINIC and the Regional Internet Registry, said, “During the Hackathon@AIS event, I will be working on network time security with Jeremie Daniel, a brilliant student from the University of Mauritius and member on, as well as Christer Weinigel. So far I have attended two Hackathon@AIS events as a trainer. During the first hackathon, students were able to implement part of a spec in FreeBSD, DragonflyBSD, and NetBSD. In the last Hackathon, students were able to implement privacy in a Python NTP implementation, and a single line was added to that draft in the NTP working group to make the draft better. We hope that participants will prepare before they come so that we can move faster during the training sessions.”

Charles Eckel, a developer advocate with a passion for open source and standards, and recognized champion of open source, standards, and interoperability, runs DevNet’s Open Source Dev Center at Cisco, which focuses on Cisco’s major open source contributions, use, and community engagements. He also runs Code Exchange, which helps developers discover, learn, build, and collaborate on curated GitHub projects to jumpstart work with Cisco platforms, products, APIs, and SDKs. Charles introduced open source hackathons into IETF, revolutionizing the way IETF operates and uniting open source software with standards to maximize the pace and relevance of both. The first Hackathon@AIS was modeled after the IETF hackathon as a way to increase IETF awareness and involvement in Africa. At the 2018 Hackathon@AIS, Charles led a successful project focused on network programmability, and for 2019, he is leading a new and improved version of this project. According to Charles, “the Hackathon is a great way for developers and network engineers to learn new skills while actively contributing to the deployment and improvement of IETF standards.”

Willem Toorop, a developer/researcher at the NLnet Labs, works on open standards and open source software for core Internet protocols.  Willem is especially interested in delivering first class security and privacy (with DNSSEC and DNS-over-TLS) to end-users at the edges of the Internet.  “Since the whole world is now using, and increasingly also dependent upon the Internet, every area in the whole world MUST be involved in the development of open standards that is taking place in the IETF,” Willem said. “Topics currently being discussed at the IETF, like consolidation of core infrastructure (like DNS), have far reaching performance and privacy consequences that might be and mean different things in different areas of the world. However, this might not be immediately apparent as the dominance of the central cloud services on the Internet overshadow the underlying infrastructure that enables them. The best way to get intimately acquainted and involved with the open network of networks that is the Internet, is to get your hands dirty and actively participate in one of the topics which are now at the heart of the debate at the IETF.”

“The Hackathons I have supervised have led to a few interesting projects,” added Willem. “Like DNSSEC name and shame, A DNSSEC secured OTR-key lookup to the Python-based Gajim XMPP client. This was also later presented at ICANN50 in London, an emoji-based identification of DNSSEC key.” Willem further noted that the Hackathons in which he has participated were all used to make implementations of drafts he was working on (many for DNS-over-TLS, authenticating upstream with DANE, etc.). The RIPE DNS measurement has also led to the DNS Thought project.

Nabil Benamar, Associate Professor of Computer Networks at Moulay Ismail University, researches topics such as IPv6, vehicular networks, DTNs, IoT, and IDNs. Author of several journal papers and IETF Internet drafts, Nabil is an IPv6 expert ( certified) and IPv6 trainer with many international organizations (RIPE/MENOG, AFRINIC, and Agence universitaire de la Francophonie), as well as a reviewer for Computer Communications (Elsevier), Adhoc Networks (Elsevier), Future Generation Computer Systems (Elsevier), JKSUCS (Elsevier), International Journal of Wireless Information Networks (Springer), AJSE (Springer), and IEEE Access. Nabil is a TPC member of different IEEE flagship conferences (Globecom, ICC, PIMRC, WCNC, etc.), and a member of the organizing committee for WCNC’2019.

Nabil became an expert in Internet Governance after completing the Internet Society’s Next Generation Leaders e-learning program, acting as an Internet Society Ambassador for the 2012 and 2013 Internet Governance Forums, a Google panelist at the first Arab-IGF, and an Internet Society Fellow (IETF 89, 92, 95, 99, and 103), and a Fellow to ICANN 50 and 54.

“The Hackathon is a must for the African community to increase its participation in IETF working groups, and thus participate in shaping the Internet by co-authoring drafts, RFCs, and producing standards,” Nabil said. “Such activities will also lead to hosting an IETF meeting in Africa, which has never been done so far! I think that we need to encourage such an initiative and try to organize at least two hackathons per year.” Nabil further added that the Hackathon held for the African community is an enabler of the possible production of future IETF documents co-authored by African participants. According to Nabil, it is a good idea to lead different tracks in the same hackathon. Each track demands different and specific skills: programming languages, Linux Kernel, Networking, etc.

Growing the Internet Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Register for AfPIF 2019

Join us in Balaclava, Mauritius for the 10th Africa Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) from 20-22 August 2019.

AfPIF attracts ISPs, content providers, governments, and IXPs for three days of learning, sharing, and building business in Africa.

Why should you attend AfPIF-2019? Have a look through the AfPIF 2018 Summary Report, which contains briefs of presentations, emerging discussions, speakers, and sponsors.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to promote your business to these key audiences. Find out more about these opportunities here:

Register now to secure your place – and remember to check your visa requirements for travel to Mauritius.

Don’t miss Africa’s premier peering event – celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year!

Events Open Internet Standards Shaping the Internet's Future Technology

Save the Date: Hackathon@AIS

The third Hackathon@AIS will take place in Kampala, Uganda on the 19th and 20th of June 2019. The Hackathon@AIS is an event aimed at exposing engineers from the African region to Internet Standards development and usage. This will be the third event in the series following successful events held in Nairobi (2017) and Dakar (2018), each alongside the Africa Internet Summit (AIS).

See what was covered in 2017 and 2018 Hackathons@AIS here:
2017 Hackathon@AIS
2018 Hackathon@AIS

The event is targeted at network/system engineers, software developers, and/or computer science students to introduce them to existing and evolving Internet standards development that can help further their careers.

Applications for the event will open in April 2019.

Fellowships will be awarded to strong applicants where possible.

Applications will close on 12 May 2019.

For more information please contact Kevin Chege:

Read testimonials from the 2018 Hackathon@AIS fellows.

About Internet Society Building Trust Internet of Things (IoT) Privacy

2019 African Chapters Advocacy Meeting and Internet of Things Security Engagement Workshop

When and where

The 2019 African Chapters Advocacy Meeting will take place from 8-11 April 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia alongside an Internet of Things (IoT) Security and Privacy Engagement Workshop with the Africa Union Commission (AUC), the Africa Telecommunication Union (ATU), the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs), and other partners.

Why we are doing this

In 2019, the Chapter workshops/Advocacy meetings are our main vehicle to mobilize, strengthen, and engage our Chapters and SIGs around our 2019/2020 focus areas and initiatives. We believe that these meetings represent a unique opportunity to define concrete roles for our Chapters/SIGs to work with us on our global initiatives, and create local impact: “Think global, act local.” It is an opportunity to collect inputs from our regional community for future planning and priorities: “From Local to Global.”

How we are doing it

The Chapters meeting, which will mobilize, empower, and engage 30 fellows from 26 Internet Society African chapters and one global SIG to advance the Internet Society 2019 work in the Africa region with a special focus on “Building Trust” (IoT Security Campaign, Privacy & Personal Data Protection, Encryption, User Trust, and Internet Restrictions).

This meeting is also an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships and connections with our Chapters and among Chapters themselves.

Read more about the 2019 African Chapters Advocacy Meeting

Not able to join the meeting in person? Watch the livestream!

About Internet Society IETF Improving Technical Security

Join a Local IETF Viewing Hub in Africa

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the premier Internet standards body, developing open standards through processes to make the Internet work better. It gathers a large, international community of network designers, operators, vendors, and researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet. Core Internet technologies such as DNS, routing and traffic encryption use protocols standardized at IETF.

The IETF holds three meetings yearly which are livestreamed and can be followed individually, or with others sharing similar interest at a common venue. The next IETF meeting will be held from 25-29 March 2019 in Prague. The usual audience for an IETF meeting is network engineers, system engineers, developers, and university students or lecturers in information technology fields.

The Internet Society Africa Regional Bureau is running an initiative to encourage remote participation in IETF meetings that aims to promote the work of the IETF. IETF Remote Hubs aim to raise awareness about the IETF and allow those who cannot travel to a meeting to participate in the meeting remotely. The meetings are streamed in English only.

Join one of the following IETF Remote Hubs in your area, raise your awareness about the IETF and engage in the various topics of your interest!

Internet Society Gauteng Chapter
Venue: Tshimologong Precinct Wits Link center
Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Home Networking (homenet)
  • Using TLS in Applications
  • dns over https (doh)
  • quantum Internet proposed Research group (QIRG)
  • Network Time Protocol
  • Messaging Layer Security
  • Transport Layer Security (tls)
  • Thing-to-Thing

ETHNOG Ethiopia
Venue: HiLCHO
Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019
Topic of discussion: Network Time Protocol

Mozambique Research and education Network – MoRENet
Venue: Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher Education and Vocational Training
Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Dns over https (doh)
  • Quantum Internet proposed Research group (QIRG)

Internet Society Benin Chapter
Venue: University
Date: Tuesday 26 and Thursday 28 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Using TLS in Applications (26 March morning)
  • Dns over https (doh)  (26 March morning)
  • Messaging Layer Security (28 March morning)

Coded Club Ghana
Venue: University of Professional Studies, Accra
Date: Thursday 28 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • GitHub Integration and Tooling  (morning)
  • Human Rights Protocol Considerations (Afternoon)

ISOC Mali Chapter
Venue: AGETIC, ACI 2000 Hamdalaye
Date: Tuesday 26 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Home Networking  (homenet)- Morning
  • Dns over https (doh)- Morning
  • Thing-to-Thing- Afternoon

ISOC Botswana
Venue: University of Botswana
Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019
Topic of discussion: Thing-to-Thing- Afternoon

ISOC Ghana Chapter
Venue: Ghana-Korea Information Access Center, University of Ghana Legon
Date: Tuesday 26 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Software Updates for Internet of Things (Morning)
  • Crypto Forum (Morning)
  • Automated Certificate Management Environment (Morning)
  • Technology Deep Dive – Modern Router Architecture BOF (Afternoon)

ISOC Namibia
Venue: NBII – 1-4 Gluck Street, Windhoek West
Date: 26- 27 March 2019

Topics of discussion:

  • Home Networking
  • Quantum Internet Proposed Research Group
  • Decentralized Internet Infrastructure
  • Crypto Forum 

Youth4Internet Cote Ivoire
Venue: Bingerville
Date: Monday 25- Friday 29 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Transport Layer Security (tls)- (25 morning)
  • Network Time Protocol – (25 afternoon)
  • Transport Layer Security (tls)- (25 afternoon)
  • Quic- (27 morning)
  • Hypertext Transfer Protocol (httpbis)- 28 afternoon)
  • Global Access to the Internet for All- (29 morning)
  • IP wireless Access in Vehicular environment- (29 morning)

CyberStorm – Mauritius
Venue: Pointe aux Piments, Villa MU
Dates: 21- 29 March 2019
Topics of discussion:

  • Hackathon
  • TLS, 6man
  • HRPC
  • UTA

This page will be updated with info on the hubs and the contact persons at each of the hubs: