Int’l agency advocates science and technology to meet PH dev’t goals

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The United States government expressed its increasing focus on technology, innovation and partnerships in Philippines with the recent visit of US Agency for International Development (Usaid) acting Assistant Administrator for Asia, Denise Rollins.

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Rollins concluded her visit on June 10, after leading events in Manila that highlighted the importance of science in developing countries such as the Philippines.

“To achieve our global goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, Usaid seeks to expand new models of development that strengthen our existing partnerships, spur innovation, and harness the scientific and technological advances that will enable us to leapfrog the development challenges of today,” Rollins said in a statement.

“It also supports our shared goal with the Government of the Philippines to achieve broad-based, inclusive and resilient growth that benefits the majority of Filipinos,” she added.

Together with the US Embassy’s Usaid Mission Director Gloria Steele and Commission on Higher Education Chairman Patricia Licuanan, Rollins joined the academic and business communities in discussing how mobile technology innovations can help improve distance education and delivery of health services, among others, in the Philippines.

One of these events is the mobile computing forum, organized through the US Embassy Manila’s Usaid Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development program. In cooperation with the Philippine Computer Society, they have identified areas of investment in the information and communications technology sector with high potential of accelerating economic growth, as well as game-changing research projects that will enhance the sector’s competitiveness.

Rollins also led the awarding of grants to the first batch of recipients of the Usaid Philippine-American Fund. The five-year, P984 million grant-making facility will support Filipino organizations to implement innovative solutions that address the country’s development challenges.

Managed by the Gerry Roxas Foundation with accounting firm SyCip Gorres Velayo & Co. as its institutional partner, the Phil-Am Fund provides capacity development and funding to local institutions to take leadership in sustainable development work that promotes economic growth, good governance, and strengthens efforts to combat human trafficking and better manage biodiversity resources.

After awarding the grant to the Filipino recipients, Rollins said, “The science, technology, and innovation partnerships we forged today are some examples of our efforts under the Partnership for Growth to foster sustained and inclusive growth.”

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