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Burkina Faso, a West African nation of 21.2 million people, will begin switching from IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6), reports from the capital Ouagadougou said last week, ahead of the signing Friday by the digitalisation ministry of a memorandum of understanding with the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC), aimed at launching the process.

Launched in 1990 and adopted afterwards to replace IPv4 in 1998, IPv6 will help internet users (individuals and organisations) in Burkina Faso to communicate clearly and unambiguously through increasing the address space from 32 to 128 bits. IPv4 provides 232 addresses while IPv6 has 2128 addresses.

Based in Mauritius, AFRINIC is the regional register of IP addresses serving Africa. It is responsible for the distribution and management of internet number resources consisting of IP address space (IPv4 and IPv6) and Autonomous System Numbers (ASNs). 

Though the number of internet users in Burkina Faso has increased by 19% between 2020 and 2021 (5.46 million), and penetration stood at 25% by January 2021, the figures are still low compared to other countries in the region.

The eBurkina project, launched a few years ago with the support of the World Bank, aims at making information and communication technologies (ICT) more accessible, cheaper, and better.

Better and more widely used online services could not only spur job growth and innovation in Burkina Faso’s ICT community, but could also have an impact on agriculture, health and education, the World Bank said.

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