From Cyriacus Nnaji, Lagos
Internet exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) has played a crucial role in the localization of data hosting within the shores of Nigeria, enabling the growth of local traffic significantly, from less than 1% traffic in 2006 to about 60% in 2020.
This disclosure was part of Remarks by the Chief Executive Officer, IXPN, Mr. Muhammed Rudman, at the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) Tech Forum 2021 which took place at Citi Height Hotel, Ikeja Lagos on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
The theme of the event was “Achieving 30% Growth in Local Cloud Hosting by 2024”.
Rudman who was the Chairman of the event, quoting a report by Internet Society released in June 2020 with the title “Anchoring the African Internet Ecosystem: Lessons from Kenya and Nigeria’s Internet Exchange Point Growth” said that the report clearly demonstrated remarkable growth of local traffic by IXPN from 2012 when the initial study took place to the year 2020 when the report was updated.
He said “IXPN has grown the local traffic by over 40,000% (average of annual increase of 5,000%) while the cost saving increased 40 times within the span of 8 years to Forty Million USD ($40,000,000) annually.
“Today, IXPN has over eighty (80) interconnected networks, which comprises large content providers, International Carriers, Mobile Network Operators, Internet Service Providers and Educational Networks,” Rudman disclosed.
He maintained that a lot still need to be done in localising cloud in Nigeria “We are not there yet, hence the need to sustain the sensitization. With NITRA now raising the flag higher and directed at achieving 30% growth from the existing 60%, over 80% of Nigeria’s Internet traffic should be locally be accessible by 2024.
He added that the NITRA Technology Forum 2021 as a one-day event was aimed at bringing together Web hosting companies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Data Centres, Web developers, IT Entrepreneurs and academics from the ICT community in Nigeria to discuss, educate and promote the adoption of local hosting in Nigeria. The forum, he said, would provide the opportunity for all to learn from industry experts, engage with sponsors and professionals as well as gain business opportunities in the hosting business.”
Speaking of the growth potential of Nigerian business environment and need to develop the ICT infrastructure, and describing data as the new oil, Rudman said “We need to always remember that Nigeria has the population to grow any business of its choice. We need to focus and plan on how to develop our ICT infrastructure and harness the assets in order to unlock the potential of our huge population. As you are aware, data is the new oil, usually coined as “Data is the King”.
“The reality is that data is the economic engine of the Internet. With billions of US dollars invested annually across the globe towards cloud infrastructure by private and public entities, Nigeria must strive to become the hub for Internet content in Africa not just content consumers.
He continued “Local hosting is critical for any country that wishes to develop its internet infrastructure and empower its citizens as well as ensure national data sovereignty. Nigerian government realization of the cloud localization brought about the National Cloud Computing Policy by NITDA in 2019, which is aimed at promoting the migration of National Data to local cloud with a goal of achieving 30% by the end of 2024. Some years back the Federal Government of Nigeria also setup Galaxy Backbone PLC, a company empowered to provide Internet and hosting services for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).”
Speaking on the importance of local hosting of cloud he said “Local hosting in Nigeria will reduce the huge capital flight. This reduction in capital flight will also lead to higher quality of service as local hosting enables websites run about three (3) times faster than those hosting overseas because of ultralow latency.
“Hosting of content locally will further strengthen the cyber security of the country, as the passing of data between local networks would be within our national borders. It will also ensure business continuity as Nigeria is dependent on submarine cables when hosting internationally. These submarine cables are prone to damages by passing ships or due to natural disasters such as Tsunamis which will definitely mean a disruption to information flow.”
He stated further that hosting of content locally would help build and develop technical skills to manage data centres in the country. This, he said would also, inadvertently, mean the creation of more jobs for Nigerians and the growth of the technology and hosting industry in the nation.
In encouraging local hosting of cloud he said “I would encourage local hosting for Nigerian businesses as it is a step in the right direction to improve Nigeria’s economy. We need to invest locally. Our business plans should be strategically focused and geared towards developing our country, Nigeria. To avoid exporting and re-importing our data, we need to host our data locally. Let us all rise up, embrace the challenge and help develop Nigeria’s ICT ecosystem.”