The Inter-American Development Bank and Microsoft agreed today to extend their joint investment in projects that promote the sustainable social and economic advance of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The two institutions plan to improve access of micro, small and medium-size companies and related financial intermediaries to information technology solutions and skills that increase their competitiveness. They will foster the development of technology and innovation research in countries as well as promote projects that improve the use of technology in education to reduce the digital divide, particularly among rural and low-income youth. Both organizations will collaborate in projects to help improve the efficiency, transparency and information systems security of governments at both national and local levels.
“Innovation and technology are among the most important elements to promote economic and social development,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “We have found a great partner in Microsoft to help us do an effective landing of these projects in the countries that most need it. We want more companies and people from the private sector to come on board and work with us on sustainability and community projects”.
Orlando Ayala, Microsoft’s Senior Vice President of Emerging Markets added that “IDB has matched our passion and involvement in the Americas with the resources and connections to make these programs successful. We believe our partnership holds great potential as jobs and innovation are at the very top of the agenda of all countries in the region.”
IDB and Microsoft have been working together for the past three years on job training projects whose early success encouraged both organizations to extend their partnership. The first project was the Youth Development Program for Innovation and Social Action (Youth Fund), launched in 2006 to promote IT skills enablement of young entrepreneurs, with joint contributions of US $1 million plus software donations. This year, the program successfully reached its target of 3,000 beneficiaries in 16 countries, with direct involvement of young professionals as project evaluators and monitors and the formation of a youth advisory group. Over 2,000 community organizations have registered for the Youth Fund, and 700 applications for projects have been received since the program started. In order to move this program to its next step, both organizations have agreed to focus on employability skills, technology and labor insertion of young people.
A second successful joint project was the collaboration between the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Trust for the Americas, IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund and Microsoft on the POETA program. POETA has already benefitted over 10,000 disabled people in 30 training centers throughout the region, with post-training job placement reaching 13 percent. More importantly, the program already showed it can indirectly benefit more than 37,000 family members—both organizations believe this program can rapidly extend on top of its close-knit network of community organizations dedicated to the disabled in different countries.
A recent study has shown that the IT industry will generate nearly 700,000 new jobs in Latin America over the next 4 years. To fuel this growth, a third joint project that IDB, OAS and Microsoft have been investing is on the Latin American and Caribbean Collaborative ICT Research (LACCIR), which represents a unique type of collaboration effort among research universities, private enterprises, regional organizations and local government offices dedicated to foster regional scientific research on information technologies for the economic and social advancement of the region. The purpose of this program is to provide Latin American research universities with a virtual collaborative environment to promote cross-country research, entrepreneurship, education solutions and technology transfer from Universities to the local economies, supporting a virtuous cycle of innovation and jobs. Since the program began in 2007, over 250 researchers and graduate students from 50 universities in 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have joined LACCIR, which also has given grants to 10 research projects that support cross-country collaboration and innovation between researchers in the region.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank is the main source of multilateral financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its loans and grants support strategies to reduce poverty, expand growth, increase trade and investment, promote regional integration, and foster private sector development
About Microsoft Corporation
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
- Romina Tan Nicaretta