Dr. Rajiv Shah serves as the 16th Administrator of USAID and leads the efforts of more than 9,600 professionals in 80 missions around the world.
Since being sworn in on Dec. 31, 2009, Shah managed the U.S. Government's response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; co-chaired the State Department's first review of American diplomacy and development operations; and now spearheads President Barack Obama's landmark Feed the Future food security initiative. He is also leading “USAID Forward,” an extensive set of reforms to USAID's business model focusing on seven key areas, including procurement, science & technology, and monitoring & evaluation.
Before becoming USAID's Administrator, Shah served as undersecretary for research, education and economics, and as chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At USDA, he launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which significantly elevated the status and funding of agricultural research.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Shah served for seven years with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including as director of agricultural development in the Global Development Program, and as director of strategic opportunities.
Originally from Detroit, Shah earned his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his master's in health economics from the Wharton School of Business. He attended the London School of Economics and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Shah is married to Shivam Mallick Shah and is the father of three children. He lives in Washington, D.C.
From President Obama to Secretary Kerry to Republicans and Democrats in Congress, we are fortunate to have had an exceptional set of leaders on both sides of the aisle who understand the importance of development to our nation's security and prosperity. By partnering with other countries to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies, we help transform developing countries into stable and prosperous nations. We open new markets for American businesses, prevent conflict and extremism from reaching our shores, and help our young people build skills in science and technology, all for less than 1 percent of the overall federal budget.
This is—without a doubt—a unique and important moment for Nepal. Thanks to a history of progress and new advances in science and technology, Nepal stands within reach of ending extreme poverty and securing a foundation for long-term economic growth. But this future is not inevitable.
Today, almost 8 million Nepalis get by on less than $1.25 a day. For them, every decision is a trade-off with potentially catastrophic consequences. Do you buy medicines for a sick parent, provide an evening meal for your children, or put a few pennies away towards a new roof or next year’s school fees? These questions are an everyday reality, especially for Nepal’s subsistence farmers, for whom extreme poverty is not just a statistic—but a drain on their basic human dignity
With the establishment of a formal USAID mission in Myanmar in 2012, the United States recognizes the recent reform efforts as the most significant opportunity in decades to engage with the people of Myanmar. And we are hard at work. In fact, USAID Administrator Dr. Shah is scheduled to be in Myanmar later this week to continue momentum on key issues.
USAID represents a chance to build partner capacities in such a way that Afghanistan will be able to join the global economy, wean itself from donor dependency, govern its population justly, and secure its own ungoverned spaces. Development, almost any way you measure it, is a good and cost-effective alternative to eventually having to deploy soldiers. Now, as the military begins to draw-down, it is more important than ever that our Afghan colleagues, the people of Afghanistan, feel secure in the knowledge that our civilian engagement will endure, and that we will support them as they enter this decade of transformation.
This morning, I want to share an overarching purpose worthy of this room that has come together to follow the teachings of Jesus: Let us work together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime. Because this is now achievable, but only if all of us—from science, business, government, and faith—come together for the poor.
We can end extreme poverty for the 1.1 billion people who live on a dollar-and-a- quarter a day.
It’s a pleasure for me to be back here in Rome with this particular team who, together, moved quickly and effectively to respond to the Sahel’s last crisis in 2012 that affected some 18 million people—and helped to ensure that a grim situation did not take an even greater toll. Now millions of people still facing food insecurity across the region, with UN estimates of 1.2 million severely insecure and 1.5 million at risk of severe malnutrition despite good harvests in 2012 and 2013, we’re reminded of the ever chronic nature of crisis in the Sahel.
With high rates of child malnutrition under even the best of circumstances, one poor harvest can push millions into severe risk. And we know that when shocks hit—droughts, floods, locusts—it is inevitably the most vulnerable populations that are the hardest hit, often without the chance to recover before new shocks strike.
Over 40 percent of Syria’s population is now in need of humanitarian assistance. The scale of this challenge is unprecedented. In three years, we have seen a brutal civil war has created not only a humanitarian crisis, but has taken a country of engineers and artists; entrepreneurs and doctors; teachers and scientists; and destroyed more than three decades of capital stock in that country. The UN estimates that Syria has lost 35 years of development in just two and a half years of conflict.
Over the last two years, the United States’ Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has worked to develop a new regional family planning strategy for our cooperation in West Africa. This process involved extensive consultations whereby we learned from government partners, development experts, and community organizations about West Africans’ goals for family planning as well as the challenges they face in bringing about this change.
USAID also took into account experiences from its past projects. We analyzed the latest data on family planning and demographics in the region as well as the many inputs it received. In the end, the final strategy is grounded in three pillars of support: 1) provision of family planning services; 2) improving commodity security to prevent stock-outs; and 3) improving the use evidence for family planning policies to expand the reach of services.
Au cours des deux dernières années, le Gouvernement américain, à travers l’Agence Américaine pour le Développement International (USAID), a travaillé à l’élaboration d’une nouvelle stratégie régionale de planification familiale pour notre coopération en Afrique de l’ouest. Ce processus a impliqué des consultations approfondies dans lesquelles nous avons beaucoup appris de nos partenaires gouvernementaux, des experts en développement, et des organisations communautaires, concernant les objectifs de l’Afrique de l’Ouest pour la planification familiale ainsi que les défis auxquels ces pays sont confrontés.
L'USAID a aussi pris en compte les leçons de ses projets antérieurs. Nous avons également analysé les données les plus récentes sur la planification familiale et la démographie de la région ainsi que de nombreuses contributions reçues. En fin de compte, la stratégie est fondée sur trois piliers: 1) la prestation des services de planification familiale ; 2) l'amélioration de la sécurité des produits pour éviter les ruptures de stock, et 3) l'amélioration de l’utilisation des données et résultats scientifiques dans l’élaboration des politiques afin d’étendre la portée des services de planification familiale.
Climate change is a global issue that knows no national boundaries and a challenge that can best be addressed internally. The negative impact felt by the people living in communities like Quất Lâm is shared in communities in the U.S. That’s why environment was highlighted as an important issue in the Comprehensive Partnership that was announced last year between President Sang and President Obama. The tangible effects of climate change are one of the reasons that we are so committed to cooperating with the Government of Vietnam to address this important area.
Last updated: January 28, 2014