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BELLA II Dialogue in Panama: The Role of Universities and NRENs in building a digital future

BELLA II Dialogue in Panama: The Role of Universities and NRENs in building a digital future

More than 50 representatives from government agencies, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), universities and research centers, international organizations, companies, and financial institutions of the region participated in the third BELLA II Open Strategic Dialogue, in Panama City, on November 15th.

The workshop was held as part of the TICAL 2023 Conference: "Bridges to Transformation," organized by RedCLARA, which highlighted the importance of networks in connecting the regional digital ecosystem and fostering collaboration. The conference became an ideal platform to reflect on strategic vision, collaborative infrastructures, and enabling digital transformations in science, technology, and innovation.

The dialogue entitled “The Role of universities and NRENs in building a viable, sustainable and impactful Digital Future in Latin America and the Caribbean” aimed to discuss the role of these entities in facing the challenges of the digital economy, as well as to develop a roadmap that will allow them to contribute significantly to the development of the RedCLARA digital ecosystem, within the framework of the BELLA II project and the EU-LAC Digital Alliance.

Specifically, the workshop focused on the vision, infrastructure, and processes of the digital ecosystem.  Likewise, on the proposals to contribute to the generation of a portfolio of projects that promote new technology services and products for the socio-economic development.  “The projects will be prioritized on the basis of their social and economic impact and its contribution to closing the digital divide. Project flexibility is very important, for example, if one of them supports the connectivity of the Yucatan Peninsula and also has an exchange of capacity to connect countries in Central America or the Caribbean, it would be very valuable for the initiative,” explained Luis Eliécer Cadenas, Executive Director of RedCLARA.

Cadenas explained the components and scope of the BELLA II project, which is one of the pillars of the Digital Alliance between Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe, along with the Investment Accelerator and the EU Earth Observation Program, Copernicus. The Alliance was signed on March 14 in Colombia and endorsed during the III EU-CELAC Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Brussels on July 17 and 18 of this year. It is also one of the main commitments of the European Union's Global Gateway investment strategy.  This was the third in a series of dialogues as part of the BELLA II project implementation process.


BELLA II receives funding from the European Union through the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), under agreement number 438-964 with DG-INTPA, signed in December 2022. The implementation period of BELLA II is 48 months.


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