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Public Policy

Our new report on AI's opportunity for developing countries

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AI stands to benefit people worldwide. This is especially true for developing countries across Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa where it can provide game-changing solutions to unique challenges they face — like poor infrastructure, youth unemployment, uneven access to education and health care, and food insecurity.

Our AI tools are already optimizing traffic flow in cities like Rio de Janeiro, enabling businesses in Southeast Asia to scale their services, helping farmers in Africa detect locust outbreaks early, and improving health care outcomes for women throughout the developing world. A recent survey shows that developing countries are more optimistic about AI than anywhere else.

But AI’s promise will not automatically translate into economic growth and opportunity — it will take concerted action by governments, the private sector and civil society. So today we’re releasing “AI Sprinters,” a new report that shares ways governments and international organizations can use AI to drive economic growth through smart strategic investments and the right set of enabling policies. We’re also providing a $15 million AI Opportunity commitment to support AI skills training and prepare people across developing countries, with a focus on underserved communities.

Our AI Sprinters report shares four key recommendations:

  • Revolutionize infrastructure with 100% adoption of cloud-first policies: Cloud computing is essential for governments, local enterprises and organizations to deploy AI systems cost-effectively, securely and at scale — ensuring that AI is widely and inclusively deployed. Policymakers should advance cloud-first initiatives that prioritize cloud solutions over traditional IT systems.
  • Support people with national AI skill initiatives: AI promises to propel economies forward — but this can only happen if workers know how to use AI to enhance their productivity and expertise.’s initial AI skilling commitment for developing countries is a first step. More collaboration between the public and private sectors is needed to build AI fluency, strengthen STEM education and increase online learning opportunities.
  • Modernize national data systems: High-quality datasets that represent diverse perspectives, languages and cultures are essential for training AI models effectively for local markets. Governments should commit to better utilizing and sharing data to improve public services like health care, education, transportation and disaster response, and invest in the infrastructure needed to promote responsible use of data. Similarly, governments should enable trusted cross-border data flows to ensure models and systems are trained on rich, geographically diverse data.
  • Support AI-enabling regulation: Continued AI innovation — both in AI models and applications — requires the right regulatory framework, one that ensures that AI can be responsibly and boldly deployed. Governments should pursue risk-based and proportionate approaches to regulation; maintain privacy and copyright frameworks that enable use of publicly available information while respecting legitimate rights; support and contribute to the development of international technical standards for AI; and adopt national AI strategies.

Putting these recommendations into practice will only happen if they are prioritized in country development strategies. So today — a week before the world’s financial leaders gather for the annual World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings — we're calling on governments, international institutions and development agencies to make AI a core pillar of national development plans, including by committing dedicated funding. While these organizations have traditionally focused on areas like healthcare, education and agriculture, AI presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform every sector of the economy.

Technological innovations over the past 50 years have lifted billions of people out of poverty. Today, AI offers a similar opportunity. With the right public policies and investments, developing countries can take advantage of AI’s opportunity to close the digital divide and benefit millions of lives.

Read our full AI Sprinters report.

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