Twenty Information Technology (IT) specialists and engineers have been certificated after completing a one-week intensive training in establishing an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) in Liberia.
The training was organized by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) with support from USAID.
It started on May 16, and brought together engineers and IT specialists from Cellcom GSM Company, Novafone GSM, the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA), Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and the Cable Consultant of Liberia (CCL).
Presenting certificates to participants at the end of the seminar, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai commended the organizers for the initiative and expressed hope that it will help the country to compete with others in the IT sectors.
According to him, communication helps lot of people get things done faster, and as such, there is a need to establish the IXP that would enable engineers to track all internet activities and incoming calls.
Ambassador Boakai also described the initiative as a good start, adding that it is a positive direction that all Liberians are expected to benefit.
VP Boakai pointed out that the establishment of the IXP in Liberia will help the country to provide job opportunity for young people.
The Vice president also used the occasion to reaffirm government’s commitment to supporting the process.
Speaking on the occasion, Post & Telecommunication Minister Dr. Fredrick Norkeh said the training was aimed at creating local technical expertise to support the IXP interconnections and operations, thereby employing hands-on laboratory experience for participants across the sector.
Dr. Norkeh indicated that the African IXP ensures that Africa’s internet traffic is kept local to the continent by providing capacity-building and technical assistance to facilitate the establishment of IXPs in the sub-region.
Minister Norkeh reiterated that countries around the world are establishing their own IXPs, where internet traffic would be routed locally, thereby creating a downward pressure on costs and stimulating growth and distributing them on a content of local basics.
“Currently, internet traffic between local users in Liberia are like those in many other countries that have been routed through the West before getting to receivers, in spite of the fact that both senders and receivers live few kilometers apart,” Minister Norkeh acknowledged.
He said the establishment of IXP in Liberia started last year when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other AU leaders at a summit in Addis Ababa took a decision to address some critical infrastructure gap in the telecommunication sector.
Minister Norkeh told the participants that establishing an IXP through Africa was one of the actions that was endorsed by AU members, and it is driven by vision to create a peaceful, integrated, prosperous Africa as a strategy to enable them take up its rightful place in the global community.
Meanwhile, the IXP is a physical infrastructure through which internet service providers exchange internet traffic between their networks.