Buffeted and best with issues of survival, many developing societies, particularly the least developed, find themselves on the horns of a dilemma: how to balance investments to meet immediate short-term needs without compromising important long-term imperatives such as endogenous scientific and technological development. The crucial process of creating and strengthening the endogenous scientific and technological capacities of developing countries has not received the kind of sustained and strategic resource underpinning that could have made a difference to economic growth and development. While some countries have, in spite of resource constraints, managed to mobilize significant resources for science and technology, many others have been unable to put establish the right policy package. International support for the efforts of developing countries has also remained diffused and disparate. To illustrate, most developing countries have been unable even to mobilize 0.5% of their gross national product towards research and development (irrespective of the quality of that investment), in comparison with over 2.5% in many industrialized countries. In global terms, the share of developing countries amounted to only 6% of research and development expenditures.
In thirty-three years of operations in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has made 167 loans for US$2,700 million to finance education, science and technology projects costing a total of $5,300 million. Some of the largest loans of 1993 for science and technology include $95 million for an Argentinian technological modernization programme and one $150 million and another $30 million loan for a science and technology programme in Mexico.