AFIM (Association des Fournisseurs Internet au Mali) andt AFRISPA (the African ISP Association) organised a two day workshop (31 May-1June 2006) to discuss the setting up of a local IXP in Bamako. There are now 15 countries that have national IXPs in Africa.

Around 30 participants (mostly from local ISPs) heard that the purpose of a local IXP was to ensure that local traffic stayed local and did not need to transit internationally in order to travel within the country. In this way, IXPs saved money on expensive international transit fees and also improved service because of lower levels of latency.

AFIM currently has three ISP members: Datatech, CFIB and Afribone who have already over the last two years been exchanging traffic locally through an embryonic IXP. So when subscribers to any of these three ISPs contact each other the traffic only needs to travel locally.

According to Eric Stevance, President of AFIM other organisations are interested in becoming involved in developing the IXP: for example the University of Mali has asked to become involved. The workshop has two tracks: one for decision-makers and the other for technicians charged with implementation.According to Didier Kasole of AfrISPA, about 30% of overall traffic was usually local to a country and that the level might be lower to start with but grew over time.