Opinion - Grid technologies in Latin America
To find out what the speakers at the upcoming BELIEF (Bringing Europe's eLectronic Infrastructures to Expanding Frontiers) International Symposium think about the state of e-infrastructure in Latin America, we interviewed Senator Jefferson Praia, who is also a professor at Amazonas University, Brazil. He shared his thoughts on grid technologies in the region.
What do you do?
I am a Brazilian Senator representing the Amazonas State. This House plays an important role in the Senatorial Committee of Environment and Control and Fiscalization and the Congressional Committee of Climate Changes, defending the sustainable development in the Congress decisions.
What is the current status of grids and e-infrastructures in Latin America?
Since the emergence of new technologies in the '90s, an increasing use of e-infrastructures has been observed.
Do you think it is important for Latin America to invest in these types of technologies?
Grids and e-infrastructures reflect emerging societal and governmental patterns. In this regard, investment is important, as the respective technologies will lead to reductions in the time and costs of getting and sharing information and knowledge.
In what ways can a policy maker influence research and development?
The primary role of a policy maker is to drive the decision process in regards to the technology, which will be implemented and used by the society.
What are the primary policy instruments for driving the widespread adoption of grids in Latin America?
To implement these tools there is a need for a good infrastructure in terms of energy, and internet and telephone access.
In your view, how can these technologies address real-world societal needs in the Latin America region?
Grids and e-infrastructures can provide the technological basis for applications that will significantly facilitate interactions between citizens and the government.
What is the most significant achievement toward this direction, in terms of established policies and regulations?
In Brazil, an important policy tool is the website Portal de Convênios - Siconv, which controls and authorizes all financial transactions related to the contracts, partnerships and terms related to government programs and financial resources to send from the Union to States and municipalities.
Further, the Amazonas Education Secretary coordinates an e-learning project, which was nominated last year for the E-learning Brazil Award. In this project, there is a TV center in Manaus, which broadcasts teaching content for elementary schools. The project has already reached 700 rural communities in 520 classrooms, over all 62 Amazonian states. This is a very important initiative, considering the large extent of my region and the necessity to democratize people's access to quality education.
In your opinion, what is the most important action that still has to be taken by policy makers, so as to further endorse grids and similar technologies in your region?
-As told to Manisha Lalloo, GridTalk for iSGTW
Thanks to the BELIEF team for their contribution to this article.