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IDB funds to push science, technology


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BARBADOS and other Caribbean borrowing states of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will now have access  to a wider pool of funds  for the promotion of science and technology.The news came with the announcement yesterday by Spain’s Minister of Science and Innovation, Cristina Garmendia Mendizábal, of a 2 million euro (about BDS$5.6 million) commitment to the IDB’s Knowledge Economy Fund.The announcement coincided with the VI Summit of European Union and Latin American and Caribbean heads  of state, which takes place in Madrid today.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 Caribbean and Latin American countries to develop, acquire and assimilate knowledge and new production practices by teaming up with companies, laboratories, universities and leading experts;- supporting training programmes 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; and- encouraging creative applications of technology to solve social and public services delivery problems. The IDB said Spain’s commitment underlined its acknowledgment  of the importance of innovation in development processes.The bank, which is the main source of long term funding for development projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, also said the fund reinforced its role as a key partner in increasing cooperation between Europe and the region in areas such as science, technology and innovation. (IDB/AB)