USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah Delivers Major Speech at the Council on Foreign Relations

Policy Speech Emphasizes Development Reform, Direct Partnerships with Local Governments, and Investments for the American People

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

NEW YORK, N.Y. - This afternoon, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), delivered a major speech entitled "Transforming Foreign Aid." In addition to addressing the current state of development, Shah proposed significant efforts to elevate aid effectiveness. The address was given at the Council on Foreign Relations annual John B. Hurford Memorial Lecture.

Shah began his remarks by discussing USAID Forward, an ambitious reform effort launched in August of 2010 aimed at aggressively changing the way the Agency does business - with new partnerships, an emphasis on innovation and a relentless focus on results.

Shah stated that USAID is "making foundational improvements to some of our most basic mechanisms like contracting and program evaluation…and bringing more scientists, engineers and MBAs back into our ranks." The goal of the reform effort is to unleash USAID's full potential to achieve high-impact development.

During his speech, Administrator Shah also introduced three critical opportunities USAID will take to dramatically advance development and elevate America's foreign policy. These global priorities include:

  • Building resilience in conflict nations
  • Extending food security across high-risk regions
  • Increasing the economic potential of developing countries

In discussing the global environment that USAID operates in today, Shah noted, "Opportunity doesn't just come from a vaccine or a percentage point of growth; it also comes from a free and fair society where people can speak freely, protest and choose their representatives."

Finally, Shah declared that our development assistance "is not just 'from the American people,' it's for the American people." He said that by strengthening private sector activity in developing countries we have the ability to increase exports and create new markets for American goods. And by "working on the frontlines in places like Afghanistan, we deliver results that help suppress extremism and speed the exit of our troops."

Shah concluded that American values are "what drive faith-based organizations to raise money to buy bed nets and fight human trafficking. They are what drive people to join our military, to fight for freedom and protect their families from extremism and terror. They are what drive college students to oversubscribe courses in development and global health. And they are what drive us - the staff of USAID - to fulfill an incredible mission."

To read Administrator Shah's entire speech, please click here. Shah will be releasing USAID's second annual letter on Friday, March 9th.

Last updated: October 16, 2014

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