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May 29, 2024

Building Partnerships for Innovation and Safe Tech Around the World

In our ever-changing tech landscape, the private sector is leading and, in many ways, outpacing the work happening in government. But this doesn’t mean that our governments need to get out of the way. Rather, as governments, we need to create the right ecosystem for innovation.

Forging International Tech Partnerships

One of our core strategies is to build strong partnerships globally. Take, for instance, the groundbreaking INDUS-X project initiated during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington in 2023. It connects U.S. and Indian private sectors – addressing defense supply chain weaknesses and boosting innovation.

I recently participated in the INDUS-X Summit in New Delhi, where I saw a strong commitment from both the U.S. and India to accelerate innovation, support researchers and start-ups, and eliminate regulatory obstacles for private industry success. To echo Prime Minister Modi: “A society that does not innovate will stagnate.”

Driving Digital Transformation in Africa

Partnerships drive our bilateral and multilateral initiatives in digital innovation. In 2022, President Biden initiated the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) program, underscoring our commitment to this cause.

Through DTA, we’re allocating over $350 million and mobilizing further funding to enhance digital accessibility and literacy throughout Africa. Our goal is to partner with African nations, ensuring broader participation in the global digital economy.

Innovating Defense Cooperation

Our partnerships go beyond traditional security aims. During Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin’s visit to Kenya in 2023, he signed a framework for defense cooperation in Nairobi, opening avenues for enhanced cooperation on defense technology and innovation.

As Kenyan Defense Minister Aden Bare Duale said, “In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, our ability to work seamlessly together is paramount. This cooperation will enable us to respond effectively to the ever-evolving security challenges in our region.”

Such partnerships are vital, not just for security but also for fueling economic growth and tackling environmental challenges, propelling businesses forward and preparing for the future.

Harnessing Technology for Environmental Resilience

Secretary Blinken’s recent visit to Brazil highlighted our partnership in using technology to combat climate change. With investments exceeding $260 million, we are upgrading infrastructure and deploying technologies to enhance environmental resilience.

In Rio de Janeiro, the United States is providing more than $260 million in financing to help upgrade infrastructure and install 5,000 public Wi-Fi access points, as well as public lighting systems that cut electricity consumption by up to 60 percent, while also lowering costs and cutting CO2 emissions.

Global Dialogues on Emerging Technologies

Our conversations with other nations about emerging technologies are pivotal in constructing a digital landscape that embraces inclusivity and sustainability for all while benefiting the environment. We have launched high-level critical and emerging tech dialogues with the Republic of Korea, Singapore, India, and Israel to drive closer cooperation on AI, biotechnology, and quantum information sciences.

During the U.S.-Republic of Korea ICT Policy Forum and the Japan-U.S. Dialogue on Digital Economy, we engaged with businesses to ensure safe 5G tech and foster digital growth in developing countries, focusing on AI, data security, system integrity, and eco-friendly tech.

Ensuring Responsible AI Development

As we explore the possibilities of technologies like AI, it’s crucial to make sure they’re used responsibly and ethically. Through initiatives like President Biden’s Executive Order on AI, we are leading efforts to set international standards and guidelines for how AI is developed and used. We celebrate the recent adoption of the U.S.-led UN General Assembly Resolution together with 123 co-sponsors to demonstrate the widespread agreement on the need to seize the opportunities of safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems for sustainable development.

While AI offers immense opportunities, we must ensure safety, accountability, fairness, and privacy. To leverage AI’s tremendous potential to advance U.S. diplomacy and statecraft and ensure ethical and responsible use at the Department, we’ve developed an enterprise-wide Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

The challenges and opportunities of AI are global. That’s why we’re working with our partners to make sure AI is safe, secure, and works well for everyone, everywhere.

Shaping a Better Future Together

Our commitment to fostering global innovation is unwavering. As Secretary Blinken has said, “our success ultimately depends on working effectively together.”

By leveraging partnerships, embracing digital transformation, and prioritizing responsible innovation, we’re not just shaping the future of technology — we’re shaping a better world for all.

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