Santo Domingo– Latin America and the Caribbean faces major challenges to achieve sustainable development, but there is plenty of talent, creativity and ideas in the region to overcome them. That was the main message at the Demand Solutions: Ideas for Improving Lives event held by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the Dominican Republic.
Hundreds of participants packed the Foreign Ministry’s auditorium to hear inspirational stories told by 26 international entrepreneurs who, using their intellect and creativity, came up with smart solutions to help solve development problems – and at the same time create ventures and jobs that have injected dynamism into their country’s economies.
For example, Daniel Simons overcame a difficult childhood in a poor Buenos Aires neighborhood and turned his love for videogames into a career: that of videogame designer. For his part, Benjamín Bunker devotes his time and effort to provide affordable solar energy solutions to rural communities not connected to the electricity grid. Benjamín raises money for his projects with virtual reality films that provide a glimpse into the transformation of a community when it has access to electricity. There’s also the case of Onil Pereyra, a software engineer in the Dominican Republic who has created an online business platform that is making a splash in a much bigger market, Brazil.
Other ventures included those of Posibl (Argentina), Conceptos Plasticos (Colombia) and Atelier de Hoteles (Mexico), which were all featured in the recent IDB publication Orange Economy: Innovations you may not know were from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The one-day event, organized by the IDB with support from the Vice Presidency of the Dominican Republic, focused on the so-called Orange Economy, a concept coined by the IDB to describe goods and services resulting from creativity, culture, and intellectual capital. It comprises a wide array of activities such as arts, music, film making, tourism, culinary heritage, new digital media, content software, and new technologies applied to fashion design, architecture and pollution reduction, among many others.
The common denominator of the activities showcased at the event was their contribution to sustainable development. Such was the case of Danish culinary entrepreneur Claus Meyer, owner of the award-winning Noma restaurant, which has put Bolivia in the spotlight of world gastronomy with an innovative project that has provided economic and social value to the Andean nation’s ancestral recipes.
According to the First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries, these industries employ 29.5 million people all over the world, generating more than US$2.25 trillion in annual revenues. It has been estimated that in Latin America and the Caribbean they employ 1.9 million people, with an economic impact of US$124 billion.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source oflong-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean.The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
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