, NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 2 – Access to local content on the Internet is set to be become easier with the release of a grant for the development of digital content and software.
This follows Wednesday’s announcement of a Sh300 grant by the Kenya ICT Board to fund Kenyan developers to produce local content for the Internet.
The grant, which targets local content developers including software developers, film, animation, advertising, publishing, gaming and education professionals and other content creators, will provide the funding required for the development of quality applications relevant to the Kenya government and private sector.
Making the announcement, Kenya ICT Board Chief Executive Paul Kukubo said the grant intends to propel the emergent lucrative but underexploited local content industry to growth.
“This local content issue is a major issue globally. The big discussion now is content and what to do with the large platform and internet infrastructure that is in place,” Mr Kukubo said.
With over 3.4 million users of the Internet in Kenya, research indicates that the importance of the internet outstrips those of several key developed countries.
However, Mr Kukubo was quick to point out that the grant aims to spur entrepreneurship with Internet penetration being a by-product of the available content.
“A lot of bright young Kenyans have very good ideas but are thwarted by the fact they don’t have access to funding because the nature of what they are doing is so new and novel they cannot go to a bank with it,” he said adding the new applications will lead to increased Internet usage.
The availability of local content is also aimed at driving up interest in Kenyan websites, which have had to play a secondary role to international websites.
A TNS Research International survey commissioned by the Board shows that the penetration of Internet has not improved as anticipated despite the landing of two fibre optic cables.
Applicants are expected to submit their proposals before 19 July 2010 with the Board expected to choose 105 successful proposals.
The grant will be disbursed from October and the recipients will have 12 months from the date they receive the money to complete the projects.