News

Foromic, the main innovation hub to reinvent inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean

IDB Lab, the Innovation Lab of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), retirerated its commitment to the use of technology and innovation to promote social inclusion and the creative economy in Latin America and the Caribbean

The twentieth first of Foromic, the main event on inclusion of Latin America and the Caribbean, closed its doors in Barranquilla, Colombia. "It is an honor for IDB Lab, the innovation for development laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to bring the brightest minds in the world to Barranquilla to rethink how to promote inclusion in our societies. This is our spirit as an innovation platform for Latin America and the Caribbean that is open to the world" said Irene Arias, Manager of IDB Lab. The event welcomed more than 1,800 participants and 135 panelists from 40 countries during three days and it also held activities throught the city of Barranquilla, including coworking spaces for entrepreneurs and local universities like UniNorte.

During the closing ceremony of Foromic, Irene Arias also announced that the next edition of the event will take place in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) in 2019.

In addition, IDB Lab approved in Foromic financing for the development and expansion of the Finconecta platform with the aim of betting on the use of technology as an instrument for financial inclusion. The Finconecta platform is a private solution whose objective is to accelerate the digital transformation of financial institutions. It started in 2017 as an IDB Lab-supported project which was launched in the last edition of the "Mobile World Congress" in Barcelona, Spain. Since then, Finconecta has expanded its services outside of Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa and the Middle East and it currently operates with 20 financial institutions and 200 fintechs in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Highlights of the three days

Foromic 2018 addressed an agenda based on three thematic areas, the first one being "The future of work", which dealt with how companies and people are adapting to the changes produced by new technologies and new business models that reach the region. Startups such as Kuepa, Hola Code, Elemental or Quipper shared how they approach the formation of skills for the future of work, including digital skills and life skills such ascritical thinking, project management or teamwork.

As part of the "Business in the forefront" thematic areas, some experts addressed the challenges of the Latin American agricultural sector and highlighted the need for achange of business model to take advantage of technological solutions such as mobile wallets and e-money to contribute to the region’s rural development and food security. In the Creative Economy sessions, participants highlighted the importance of the creative industries in the Colombian economy "which contribute three times what the coffee industry contributes and almost double the business generated by mining", according to the Colombian President, Iván Duque, during the opening session of Foromic 2018.

Finally, in the "Finance in evolution" pillar, the need for a conducive environment for the massification of services in a safe, transparent and efficient manner was highlighted.

The forum also included valuable sessions such as Co-creating the Barranquillia Carnival of the future with technology and creativity; and panelists like Gunter Pauli with the new paradigm of the blue economy, called for learning to transform and use available local resources, focusing on true competitiveness.

Also Richard Florida, one of the world's leading urban planners, highlighted the immense creative potential of the region as the key to economic development, materialized not only in science and technology, but also through other economic activities such as gastronomy, fashion, cinema, visual arts or music.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-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. www.iadb.org

About IDB Lab

IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, a purpose-driven platform open to the world that mobilizes capital, knowledge and connections to promote innovation for inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. We believe that innovation is a powerful tool that can transform our region, offering unprecedented opportunities to vulnerable populations. www.idblab.org