As part of a bigger plan to enhance information and communication technologies in Africa, the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project supports the establishment of a continental African internet infrastructure.
The project aims to create an African internet system through setting up:
- internet exchange points in 33 African countries
- five regional internet hubs
- five regional and three continental internet carriers
In addition, a policy and regulatory reform is planned, as well as capacity building and technical assistance for internet service provider associations.
The project is crucial for improving internet access in Africa, generating costs savings by keeping local traffic local and offering better services of higher quality.
The AXIS project evolved as a result of the Addis Ababa declaration on information and communication technologies in Africa. In the declaration, the heads of state and government of the African Union undertook to strengthen national programmes and regional cooperation for the deployment of regional internet exchange points. They also expressed the need to intensify the activities of the African Union Commission to implement the African Regional Action Plan on the Knowledge Economy (ARAPKE). One of its flagship projects is AXIS.
The project will receive funding from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF), focusing on establishing a Project Implementation Unit to be located at the African Union Commission and mobilising an Internet Service Provider Association Task Force.
The ITF allocated a grant of € 5.1 million in April 2010, out of a grand total of € 208.9 million for grant operations approved for the 2007-10 period.