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Kenyan Innovators: ICANN Offers Grants for Internet Expansion Projects

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has unveiled the inaugural application cycle for its Grant Program, aimed at bolstering innovative initiatives that foster a more open, resilient, and universally accessible Internet. As the organization behind the Domain Name System (DNS) management, ICANN is stepping forward with up to $10 million in grants to empower projects that enhance global Internet interoperability.

With the digital economy’s future looking bright—the World Economic Forum predicts 70% of the new economic value over the next ten years will emerge from digital platforms—the reality remains stark for 3.2 billion people cut off from the Internet. This divide prevents nearly a third of the global population from accessing pivotal digital services and platforms.

The ICANN Grant Program is on the lookout for creative and groundbreaking solutions aligned with its core mission. The focus is on projects that drive innovation, uphold open standards, and support the continuous improvement of the services and systems vital to the Internet’s unique identifiers. Additionally, the initiative is set to enhance diversity, inclusion, and global participation across various communities and regions.

In Kenya, where Internet access is spreading yet still encountering hurdles, the ICANN Grant offers a promising avenue for local entities and individuals to devise bespoke solutions addressing the nation’s specific challenges.

Sally Costerton, ICANN’s Interim President and CEO, emphasized the indispensable role of the Internet in sectors ranging from banking to transport. She highlighted the critical need to bridge the digital divide, especially in developing regions, through the Grant Program’s support for advancing the Internet’s underlying systems for a broader and more inclusive online community.

Applications are open until May 24, 2024, with the first round of grant recipients expected to be announced in January 2025. For further details on the program, eligibility criteria, and application guidelines, visit the official ICANN Grant Program Applicant Guide online at https://icann.org/grant-program.

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