Buenos Aires, Dec 13 (EFE).- The executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC, known in Spanish and Portuguese as CEPAL), Alicia Barcena, said Monday that the Latin American governments should push to develop science and technology to strengthen the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
At the inauguration of the third meeting of ECLAC’s Conference on Science, Innovation and Information and Communications Technologies (CCITIC), organized jointly by the entity and the Argentine government, Barcena emphasized the need to change the “development paradigm” of the region’s economies.
“The countries are saying ‘We’re going to grow like never before’ (in 2021) and yes, on the average the region is going to grow by 6 percent, but next year there’s going to be a tremendous deceleration that is going to take us back to 2 percent again. The great paradox is that it’s not genuine growth, it’s not growth based on science, technology and greater productivity,” said the official during her speech at the opening session of the hybrid conference.
“We have to change this development paradigm to go from this extraction-oriented model to a sustainable production model, where above all the redistribution of knowledge is emphasized. The concentration of technology and knowledge nowadays is in the hands of very few companies, and in this case it’s regrettable,” she said.
In that regard, Barcena said that Latin America and the Caribbean “have the ability” to develop new technologies, giving as an example the development of vaccines or the decarbonization of the economy, challenges that should not be dealt with country by country but rather by the region as a whole.
“Our productive industry doesn’t demand science and technology, so we have to create that virtuous circle: greater productivity, more science and more technology give the companies … more salary and allows more knowledge to be created,” the ECLAC chief said, going on to urge the various countries to coordinate their regulatory regimes.
Meanwhile, Argentina Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said that the knowledge economy is the “sector with the greatest potential” for the future, given that it is acting as a creator of employment, broadening the export capacity of countries and “directly impacting” the quality of life for the local citizenry.
“Together with all the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, we will continue working to design policies that help to diminish the gaps and we will do it with the unions, with the companies and with the research entities,” Cafiero said in his address to the conference.
At this third meeting of the CCITIC, which will run until Wednesday, representatives of international organizations, the academic world and the private sector will seek to define a regional working agenda for science, technology and innovation covering the next two years.