Nibbles & Bits

AIS23 Conference Recap

by | October 11, 2023

Africa Internet Summit ’23 was held in Johannesburg on September 26 – 30, 2023. This event was organized by the African Network Operators Group, or AfNOG, and it carries on a tradition of these important events that date back to 2000. This recap will take a look at some of the notable sessions and happenings at the event to help anyone catch-up who wasn’t able to attend in person or virtually. 

A Notable Start

AIS23 got off to an impressive start with the presence of many important figures in this space. Perhaps the highlight of the day was the keynote address that was provided by Vint Cerf of Google. His presentation highlighted many of the common challenges faced when trying to provide stable, affordable, reliable internet service across the continent, and he discussed some of the ways that those challenges may be overcome moving forward. 

Af* Day

The second official day of the event was designated as Af* Day, with the various presentations and meetings centered around the Af* community. Many important leaders within Af* organizations were tabbed to speak, including Luck Masilela of DotAfrica, Nancy Dotse of AfNOG, and Yaovi Atahoun from ICANN. 

It was also important for time to be taken out on this day of the event to recognize the contributions of Pierre Ouedraego. Mr. Ouefraego, who passed away in July, was a pioneer in the African internet community and was honored with remarks by Prof. Nii Quaynor.

NRO Session at AIS23

For the third day, the focus shifted to the Number Resource Organization, or NRO session. Among the many significant and important discussions held throughout this day was a focus on IPv6 deployment. The CEO of LACNIC, Oscar Robles, took the stage to discuss the significance of IPV6 from a variety of perspectives. The audience was treated to insights into who the key stakeholders are in this ongoing transition and how collaboration among all involved is essential. 

Also, he covered the increasingly rising expenses that come with staying on IPv4. Between the rising cost of maintenance and the potential security issues related to not making the transition, there is a strong case for operators to shift to IPv6 as quickly as possible. 

Wrapping Things Up

The fourth and final day of AIS23 was Internet Society Day. The general topic of internet development and security was tackled by a number of industry experts. For example, Kevin Chege presented exciting news about the development of the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security project, known as MANRS. There was also a panel discussion on the topic of internet fragmentation and how it can be addressed, as well as a closing session from Dawit Bekele about the future of the internet and how it can remain free. 

Looking Forward

There were countless valuable lessons shared and many new connections formed at AIS23, so plenty of the attendees are certainly looking forward to the next version of this popular industry event. While the details around the location and date for the next meeting are yet to be announced, it’s safe to say it will again play a meaningful role in the ongoing development and improvement of networking on the African continent. 

For more conference recaps and highlights, check out the 6connect blog.

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