SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA. - Dr Leonel Fernández advised the application of public policies in order to boost innovation and research in the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, given that both mechanisms play a determining role in the economic and social development of these countries.
Fernández made the statement whilst taking part as the keynote speaker at the II Meeting of the Conference on Science, Innovation and ICT, hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), an event in which he partook as part of his role as President of the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean Foundation (EU-LAC Foundation).
His participation in the aforementioned intergovernmental event is part of a calendar of activities that, since this Monday, has been carried out in the Central American country, including a work meeting with the Costa Rican Vice President, Ms. Ana Helena Chacón, amongst other organisational commitments.
In his keynote speech, which dealt with “Areas of cooperation for the development of innovation and the digital ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Fernández declared that the future of Latin America and the Caribbean depends on the ability of countries in the region to act together to face the challenges of a constantly changing world, after stating that the lack of progress in this area is preventing various countries in the region from producing goods with more value added.
From the point of view of the President of the EU-LAC Foundation, this weakness is due to the fact that Latin America and the Caribbean have still not embraced the idea that innovation is the driving force for growth, which is why he insisted on the necessity to boost public policies geared towards this sector. He maintained that the statistics of registrations of patents show that Latin American countries, whilst increasing their number of international patents, are not doing so at the pace that they should in order to close the gap that separates them from the rest of the world.
In the same vein, he demonstrated that the future of innovation in Latin America rests in various cornerstones, amongst those that he mentioned are the aeronautic and aerospace industry, the automobile industry, information and communication technology, software development, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, cyber security and defence, the Internet of Things, robotics, and renewable energy.
He insisted that, given the dizzying speed of technical change, innovation and technological development are increasingly becoming determining factors of the economic and social development of these countries.
“I believe that we can act together. With one voice, Latin America, effectively, can make the transition towards a much more efficient production model that guarantees sustainable development,” urged Fernández.
Meeting with the Vice President of Costa Rica
The meeting between the President of the EU-LAC Foundation and the Vice President of Costa Rica took place in the Presidential House of the Central American country. During their meeting, Fernández and Chacón discussed topics such as attention to poverty and disability, and the application of modern technology in social programmes, amongst other equally important matters.