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Reinforcing Regional Academic Networks in Latin America

The IDB has approved a $600,000 grant for a project to link over 700 universities and academic research centers in Latin America, stimulating cooperation among countries in the region in the fields of education, science and cultural activity.

The project, aimed at the promotion of regional public goods in science and technology, includes design, development, and implementation of a strategic plan to reinforce national academic networks and to link them through the Latin American Cooperation on Advanced Networks (CLARA), connecting such networks in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The project responds to a joint initiative by the ministers of Science and Technology in Latin American Countries to develop and expand research and education networks both nationally and regionally.

The cost of the project is estimated at $968,000, of which 60 percent will be financed by the IDB, with the remaining 40 percent pledged by the beneficiary countries and other multilateral agencies.

“Investing in knowledge is one of the key aspects of economic and sustainable development to increase productivity and competitiveness, in addition to improving the well-being of nations and their populations,” emphasized Nohra Rey de Marulanda, Manager of the IDB’s Integration and Regional Programs Department.

The project also facilitates the deployment or expansion of high-speed Internet connection networks in each country and between countries, allowing for reliable massive data transfers in education, research, and technological development.

The participating Latin American universities will likewise have access to multimedia facilities, allowing them to conduct laboratory simulations, share the resources of the world’s top computing hubs, and work in collaboration with scientists worldwide.

Regional Public Goods

The project is financed with funds from the IDB’s Initiative for the Promotion of Regional Public Goods as a result of its second annual call for proposals. The Bank was the first multilateral institution to create an operational mechanism to more effectively solve cross-border problems. Under this mechanism, the IDB receives and selects proposals for multinational joint solutions offering clear comparative advantages over individual national efforts.

In its first call for proposals, the Initiative approved $8.9 million in financing for projects on the environment, education, modernization of the state, financial markets and social development. Fifteen of the region’s countries participated in these projects.

The second call for proposals selected 11 projects in 26 Bank member countries, with financing totaling $10 million.