Artificial intelligence (AI) is not neutral; instead, it involves lots of human decisions that profoundly impact how AI systems are designed and implemented. As a result, AI can work well for some and not for others. Researchers and activists have identified numerous instances of inequitable design, use, and impact of AI-enabled tools in low- and middle-income countries. Diverse collaboration through public-private partnerships can help recognize deficiencies in the technology, but encouraging these partnerships is a challenge in itself.

USAID seeks to support early-stage experimentation, create a trusted space for meaningful exchanges, and offer direct incentives such as grants to support the private sector in emerging markets. By working with USAID, organizations can more effectively design, build, and deploy AI-enabled tools to address pressing global issues while honoring a commitment to ensuring these tools are inclusive and transparent.

In parallel, USAID and similar bilateral and multilateral donors should recognize bureaucratic processes, barriers to entry for small businesses, and divergent motivations between the public and private sectors as persistent hurdles that prevent the private sector from fully engaging in the first place. By addressing these obstacles and demonstrating the value proposition of working with governments, USAID and its donor counterparts can propel public-private partnerships to reach their full potential.