Innovation and digital infrastructure

9.C Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020

 Telecommunications infrastructure, be that mobile telephone, radio, broadband fiber, or satellite, is the foundation of communication, social services and digital transformation as a whole. Inclusive and equitable digitalisation is not possible without ubiquitous, equitable, and inclusive infrastructure.

Telecommunication regulation plays a central role in innovation and inclusion as the telecom regulators strive to create a level playing field for competitive telecom markets that deliver secure, and good quality communication services to all.

Small actors entering the market are often the most innovative as they are close to underserved communities and groups. Digital tools also increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises in developing countries to financial services, including affordable credit, support their integration into local and global value chains and markets.

SPIDER has worked with innovation in various ways, uniting young African change leaders in a Social Innovation Network, led the development of International Training Programme for Regulators that has now grown into a EU-Africa collaboration and stimulated partnerships that lead to new solutions and tech eco-systems that garner the energy of promise to ensure more people reap the benefits of digitalisation without discrimination.

SDG 9 is instrumental to the achievement of all the SDGs, without roads, power, communications infrastructure, we fail to deliver on any other goal. 


SPIDER is committed to digital innovation, infrastructure and inclusion

Strong institutions are necessary for democracy, justice and human rights. Digital infrastructure also contributes to national and regional innovation and regulatory authorities are central to unlocking affordable internet, functioning business environments, free media and public services.

SPIDER has since 2017 coordinated Sweden’s investment in supporting African telecom regulatory authorities in leading change within their specific contexts. 

2023 this was scaled to European level with up to 43 African countries involved in the programme that spans into 2028. 

SPIDER’s close link to the International Telecom Union’s mission is clear and we have been humbled that Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin was our keynote speaker not only for the SPIDER Digital IUmpact and Network event in 2021, but also chose to kick-start the Girls in ICT campaign by the UN agency with us at SPIDER at DSV, Stockholm University in March 2023.




ICT Policy & Regulation - Institutional Strengthening


SPIDER, in partnership with PTS and ILR coordinate the EU AFRICA capacity building program for 43 national African Regulatory Authorities

AFRICA - Sweden

ICT Regulation - Policy and Practice

ITP programme 2015-2022


SPIDER, in partnership with PTS  successfully implemented the International Training Programme for ICT regulators in 27 African countries.  The project was funded by Sida.

Explore SPIDER’s work for Digital Inclusion

Ms Susan Nakanwagi from Uganda Communications Commission speaks about the change initiative she has been part of. 


SDG 9 includes a target addressing the role of ICTs in sustainable development. It emphasizes the importance of providing universal and affordable access to the internet in the least developed countries.

How can ICTs contribute to the development of resilient infrastructure?

ICTs enhance infrastructure resilience in disaster-prone areas through early warning systems, remote sensing, smart technologies, and communication tools. These technologies enable real-time monitoring, community engagement, and data-driven decision-making. Building resilient ICT infrastructure, ensuring digital connectivity, and fostering public-private partnerships further contribute to effective disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.

How can ICTs improve access to financial services for small enterprises?

ICTs increase the access to financial services for example through mobile banking that gives underserved areas to access financial services  without a traditional bank account. Online platforms expand market reach, can boost sales and create opportunities for secure online transactions and payments.

How can ICTs contribute to enhancing scientific research in developing countires?

ICTs can empower scientific research in developing countries by facilitating collaboration and knowledge exchange. A robust ICT infrastructure makes it possible for universities to be more innovative, communicative and open. 

What strategies can increase access to ICTs and ensure affordable internet access?

Several strategies can be employed: infrastructure investment, public-private partnerships, regulatory reforms, subsidies and incentives, community networks, universal service funds and inclusive policies to name a few. What will work in one setting may not be suitable in another.