New ICT ministry proposed under Humala's platform

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peru's president-elect, left-leaning Ollanta Humala, has promised an open market economy after his narrow victory against rival Keiko Fujimori on June 5, but he also has plans for the IT industry.

Even though Humala has not yet formed his cabinet, his government platform - called the Great Transformation and released during his electoral campaign - gives a hint of what the future for IT might be like in the country after he takes office July 28.

Humala's administration pledges to create a science, technology and innovation ministry (MCTI) in charge of proposing and executing public policies for science and technology.

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Some of the first measures proposed to be taken by the ministry are:

- Defining three priority R&D areas with high chances of success. Initially these would be de nanomaterials, biotechnology and ICT. However, these must be defined in synergy with companies, universities and public research organizations, known as OPIs.

- Creating an institute to coordinate the involvement of Peruvians living abroad in R&D projects in the country.

- Reshuffling and optimizing the national science, technology and innovation system.

- Merging all state funds devoted to science and technology into one, which will be administered by a single organization under MCTI's jurisdiction.

- Contributing as a government with 50% of what is invested in joint research done by OPIs, universities and companies.

- Creating an interdisciplinary technology and scientific research center, open to teamwork with private companies for research.

- Promoting the establishment of technology companies close to university campuses to foster the creation of tech hubs.

- Creating a permanent science, technology and innovation forum of researchers and entrepreneurs to advise congress on related activities.

Humala's plan also points to promoting technology transfer, investments and joint ventures between domestic and multinational companies, and developing a couple of small technology parks.

The program pledges tax incentives for innovative companies and increasing to 0.7% of GDP funds allocated to R&D over a period not exceeding three years, similar to Chile. These resources are conceived as counterpart funding for SMEs and as leverage for the entry of additional venture capital.