Selection of a consultant (firm) to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a regional Internet exchange point for the West Africa region.11 Sep, 2023
REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
(Consulting Services – Selection of a Consulting Firm)
Selection of a consultant (firm) to conduct a feasibility study for the establishment of a
regional Internet exchange point for the West Africa region.
Reference Number: ECW/PPDU/2023/QCBS/01
Articles 32 and 33 of the revised ECOWAS Treaty form the basis for the region’s engagement in the field of
information and communication technologies to achieve its ideals of regional integration. Article 33 calls on
Member States to “develop, modernize, coordinate and standardize their national telecommunications networks
in order to ensure reliable interconnection between Member States, and to coordinate their efforts to mobilize
national and international financial resources through the participation of the private sector in the provision of
telecommunications/ICT services”. Guided by this vision, we have made substantial investments in the
telecommunications sector, particularly in the provision of broadband Internet services. Currently, ten (10)
submarine cable systems with thirty-three (33) landing points connect ECOWAS to the rest of the world. The average
internet penetration rate in the region is 41%.1
Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) are a key infrastructure within the Internet service delivery ecosystem. IXPs allow
local networks to efficiently exchange information/data within a country, avoiding routing local Internet traffic
through foreign/overseas territories. Therefore, an IXP is a key component of Internet infrastructure that can make
the Internet more affordable and of better quality for local communities. Except for Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone,
all ECOWAS member States have successfully established their own IXPs.2
Beyond national territories, regional Internet exchange points are important, especially for the ECOWAS region.
With the aim of supporting the strengthening of existing IXPs and the emergence of new IXPs in Africa, the African
Union (AU) has implemented the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project. In addition to supporting the
establishment of a national IXP in countries that do not have one, the project also aims to support the establishment
of at least one RIXP in each of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
In addition, given its regional integration objectives, ECOWAS has launched several digital economy initiatives
whose success depends on the efficient exchange and transfer of data among member States.
These projects include the implementation of affordable regional mobile roaming, the operationalization of the
Regional Customs Network for Transit Trade (ALISA) and the operationalization of the ECOWAS e-commerce
strategy. The establishment of a RIXP infrastructure or national IXP interconnection throughout the region is
therefore important for the successful implementation of these initiatives and ensures efficient routing of intraregional Internet traffic…