During recent years, we have witnessed revolutionary developments of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and their impact on people's lives. The way in which such developments contribute to socio-economic development and empowering people depends highly on the absorptive capacity of different societies. While in developed countries, their IT-ecosystems have the capacity for enriching themselves through empowered actors and enhanced interactions and, in turn, for continuous growth; in developing countries, such eco-systems face challenges to produce similar results. However, the challenges faced, particularly by the countries in the Global South; in Asia, Africa and Latin America, can be transformed into opportunities if countries are able to leapfrog in the learning process and develop their human and institutional capacities. In this context, capacity-building programs on ICT for Development (ICT4D), such as Strengthening Information Society Research Capacity Alliance (SIRCA), are of the upmost importance to developing countries. In this introduction to the SIRCA special issue of The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries we discuss the evolution of ICT4D policy and research, explain the experience of the SIRCA II Program, and summarizes the lessons learnt from it.