Christopher J Elias. File
| Photo Credit: Photo Credit: X/@ChrisJElias
Lauding the Indian growth story, a top leader of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on January 16 said other countries can use India’s successful digital public infrastructure model to help achieve their healthcare and other development goals.
Speaking to PTI in Davos on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, the Foundation’s president of Global Development, Christopher J Elias also said AI can help accelerate achieve global development targets but it must be used responsibly and with careful attention to ethics and regulations.
“In India, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has worked in a wide range of sectors and areas including health, agriculture, water and sanitation, digital public infrastructure and inclusive financial services. We will continue to work in these areas,” he added. Mr. Elias said the Foundation’s oldest field office is in India and that is more than 20 years old.
“We work very closely with the Central government and many State governments there on some of the very important issues. We work particularly closely in States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on maternal health and new-born child health issues, we work in Odisha on issues related to water sanitation, agriculture development and improving lifecycles related,” he added.
Mr. Elias said it is very exciting to see such a huge presence from India. He also recalled that as G20 Chair last year, India brought together the global community to understand how best to accelerate progress with sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
“That I think is going to be talked about a lot here at Davos,” he said adding, “One area of particular accomplishment in India that I think can be a good model for the world to follow is digital public infrastructure that has helped achieve a lot of progress in financial services, health etc,” Mr. Elias said.
He said things such as universal ID, universal payment interface etc have really served India very well in the last decade to accelerate progress and development.
Mr. Elias said the leaders attending the WEF meeting can discuss how that success model of India can be shared with other nations especially in Africa and Asia and if they can help them achieve their development targets as well.
Talking about opportunities and threats from artificial intelligence, Mr. Elias said AI presents a huge opportunity to accelerate global development but it needs to be done responsibly.
“It needs to be done with careful attention to ethics and regulations so that we can harness this tool of cutting edge science and technology for the best use of mankind,” he said.
Mr. Elias said AI might be of great use to help frontline healthcare workers get the most accurate information to help address community needs. “There is tremendous potential for AI but we need to use it in a responsible manner.”