AFRINIC, APNIC, and LACNIC secure AUD 1.5M Sida grant to promote Internet innovation

Sweden supports Seed Alliance grants and awards initiatives in Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean

The Seed Alliance today announced a grant of AUD 1.5 million from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to support Internet innovation projects in developing regions.

The grant, over three years, allows the expansion of current awards and small grants programs implemented by alliance members, FIRE managed by AFRINIC, FRIDA managed by Lacnic and ISIF Asia managed by APNIC. The program extension will focus on promoting Internet access, openness, inclusion and rights, in addition to collaborative efforts designed to promote capacity building and networking among the partners.

“Supporting the Seed Alliance allows us to play a role in enabling people living in poverty to take an active part in the development of the Internet to benefit them and their wider communities,” commented Jens Karberg, program manager at Sida responsible for ICT for Development.

Investment in development in the form of small grants and awards can represent a highly effective means of stimulating innovation and technology adoption at a local level. The grants and awards encourage people to develop smart ideas and put them into practice, in a way that is responsive to local needs. By encouraging the rapid dissemination of successful ideas, the grants and awards also create a positive chain reaction of adoption and adaptation, leading to wider benefits.

“We have seen many high profile examples of Internet development, such as the proliferation of community wireless networks in remote areas, which can create a mistaken perception that innovation no longer requires support,” said Paul Wilson, APNIC Director General. “On the contrary, there are more opportunities than ever for communities to benefit from new technologies, but new ideas often still need support, as do the people who create them.”

The Sida grant provides additional support to the FIRE program in Africa. "Africa is a region that is steadily growing in terms of technology penetration,” added Adiel Akplogan, AFRINIC CEO. “For this growth to be sustainable, we must encourage innovation so that technology can be used to address and solve issues that the population faces every day. The Sida donation to the Seed Alliance allows us to mitigate the risks usually associated with direct investment in development oriented research and innovation.”

Examples of previous projects funded by the Seed Alliance partners include:

In addition to activities already being conducted in each region, the Sida grant will allow the regional programs to:

Potential grant or award applicants or sponsors can apply via their local initiatives: