Part of the President’s address this June in Cairo was the goal to develop a technology fund from Muslim-majority countries:
“On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs.”
National Journal’s Tech Daily Dose reports that the fund is indeed in the works. Last Friday the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), an independent U.S. government agency responsible for assisting businesses with overseas investment, announced a call for proposals to manage a private equity fund or funds to “promote the growth of technology in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.” Each fund would receive between $25 and $150 million from OPIC. The announcement does not indicate whether other funds from other parties could be added to these funds. Intended investments from these funds would include, but are presumably not limited to:
“companies that help to foster the development of new technologies such as computer, information, media and telecommunications businesses, or provision of broadband access; companies in medical, pharmaceutical, and other biotechnology areas; investment in technology and telecommunications infrastructure, energy efficiency and smart-grid technologies; or technologies that address problems such as the shortage of clean water.”
These funds will be one part of the overall technology/knowledge transfer stimulation intended by this administration. Working from the President’s Cairo address, there will also be increased exchanges of scientific and technical personnel as well as increased State Department use of scientific and technical resources in its various diplomatic missions. Hopefully those initiatives are also proceeding like the proposed technology development fund.