WASHINGTON – The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$200 million loan to promote sustainable growth in Argentina, driven by innovation and focused on the creation of technology-based companies, support for entrepreneurs and access to private capital.
“The culture of encounter and the popularization of technology are the best instrument to close social gaps. This project will promote innovation and entrepreneurship, which are very necessary to encourage the knowledge economy and technological social justice, by putting the human being at the center,” said Gustavo Béliz, Secretary for Strategic Affairs.
The project, which will be executed by the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion, seeks to strengthen the national innovation system, and promote the growth and productivity of the private sector, through the support of public-private partnerships, financing for development, adoption of technology for small and medium-sized enterprises, and support for entrepreneurs.
“Innovation plays an important role in diversifying the sources of growth in a country like Argentina, which has qualified human capital, research capabilities, and entrepreneurial energy,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. “Investing in this area promotes a greener and more inclusive development, hand in hand with the creation of new jobs.”
Additionally, the project will promote innovative financing ecosystems, attracting private investment for innovative start-ups. There will be special emphasis on promoting low-carbon technologies, circular economy initiatives and climate-smart developments, and it will prioritize initiatives led by women, who have more difficulties to access financing. It is also planned to support young people in vulnerable situations so that they can become entrepreneurs.
This new project reinforces the World Bank’s commitment in this area over the last decade, during which it has provided US$195 million to promote the innovation agenda in Argentina.
The Smart Growth Innovation Program is a variable spread loan, with a 32-year maturity period and a grace period of seven years.