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IDB Roundup

High tech training for poor youths

 Among the instant-riches stories that have become commonplace in the world of Internet is one about a young man in Rio de Janeiro who literally was living in a box. Then he learned computer programming, and now earns $20,000 a year working for the New York-based StarMedia company. According to an article recently published in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, StarMedia has teamed up with the IDB to train students in computer skills. They have already wired more than 100 schools in Rio slums, and an expanded program called cdi Americas is taking the same concept to Colombia and Uruguay, using young people affiliated with the IDB’s youth program to carry out the training.

The business of culture

Evidence is mounting that culture not only has intrinsic value but considerable economic value as well. In a recent seminar in Bogotá, Colombia, artists and business leaders sat down together to discuss how to make culture a better business. According to a study presented at the meeting, Colombia’s cultural sector contributed 2.76 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, exceeding the contribution of restaurants and hotels and raw coffee.

Toward digital democracy

Education is the prerequisite for truly digital democracy in Latin America, according to IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias. Speaking at a July 5 meeting of the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council in New York, Iglesias said the objective for new communications technologies must be the same as for other areas of the economy: to help achieve social equity. This was the IDB president’s first address before the council since the Bank received official observer status in May.

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