Spain’s Minister of Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia Mendizábal, announced a 2 million euro commitment to the Inter-American Development Bank’s Knowledge Economy Fund.
The announcement coincides with the VI Summit of European Union and Latin American and Caribbean heads of state, which takes place in Madrid on Tuesday, May 18. The Summit’s main topic is bi-regional cooperation in innovation and technology to foster sustainable growth and social inclusion.
The Knowledge Economy Fund was created in March 2009 and allows contributions from multiple donors. The Government of Finland was the first to commit funds in 2009.
The Fund—under the technical management of the IDB’s Science and Technology Division—provides non-refundable funds for regional and investment projects. Its main goals are:
- Strengthening the capacity of Latin American and Caribbean countries to develop, acquire and assimilate knowledge and new production practices by teaming up with companies, laboratories, universities and leading experts.
- Supporting training programs in areas such as mathematics, science and engineering to foster the creation and use of human capital.
- Supporting the private sector’s innovation capacity and investment in business networks and key areas of the economy.
- Encouraging creative applications of technology to solve social and public services delivery problems.
- Spain’s commitment underlines its acknowledgment of the importance of innovation in development processes. It additionally reinforces the IDB’s role as a key partner in increasing cooperation between Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean in areas such as science, technology and innovation. The IDB is the main source of long term funding for development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The head of the IDB’s Science and Technology Division, Flora Painter introduced the paper “The need to innovate: the path to progress in Latin America and the Caribbean” at a preliminary meeting of Science and Technology ministers. Painter diagnosed Latin America’s technological gap and evaluated cooperation opportunities with the European Union. She offered the IDB’s support to tighten bi-regional cooperation.