Dr. Rajiv Shah led the efforts of nearly 10,000 staff in more than 70 countries around the world to advance USAID’s mission of ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient, democratic societies.
Under Dr. Shah’s leadership, USAID applied innovative technologies and engaged the private sector to solve the world’s most intractable development challenges. This new model of development brings together an increasingly diverse community—from large companies to local civil society groups to communities of faith—to deliver meaningful results.
Dr. Shah led President Obama’s landmark Feed the Future and Power Africa initiatives and has refocused America’s global health partnerships to end preventable child death. Feed the Future, alone, has improved nutrition for 12 million children and empowered more than 7 million farmers with climate-smart tools they need to grow their way out of extreme poverty. In April 2014, USAID launched the U.S. Global Development Lab to harness the expertise of the world’s brightest scientists, students, and entrepreneurs. At the same time, the newly formed Private Capital Group for Development forges a more strategic relationship between private capital and development.
Dr. Shah also managed the U.S. Government’s humanitarian response to catastrophic crises around the world, from the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Through an extensive set of reforms called “USAID Forward,” Dr. Shah worked with the United States Congress to transform USAID into the world’s premier development Agency that prioritizes public-private partnerships, innovation, and meaningful results. He currently serves on the boards of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, as well as participates on the National Security Council.
Previously, Dr. Shah served as Undersecretary and Chief Scientist in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he created the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he spent eight years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led efforts in global health, agriculture, and financial services, including the creation of the International Finance Facility for Immunization.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and the Wharton School of Business. He regularly appears in the media and has delivered keynote addresses before the U.S. Military Academy, the National Prayer Breakfast, and diverse audiences across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Dr. Shah was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He has served as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, been named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40, and has received multiple honorary degrees.
He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife Shivam Mallick Shah and three children and has given up mountain climbing for family bicycle rides.
Good afternoon, Ambassador Michael McKinley, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, HE Humayoon Rasaw, Minister of Commerce and Industries, HE Eklil Ahmad Hakimi, Minister of Finance, distinguished guests. I am pleased to welcome you here to the American Embassy for the launch of the Afghanistan Investment Climate Reform program, continuing the important work USAID and the IFC/World Bank Group have undertaken to strengthen the business climate in Afghanistan.
Greetings, opening remarks and formalities
Today we are celebrating an important event – and reminding ourselves to stay focused on ensuring becoming a mother is an occasion of joy, not tragedy.
Reducing maternal, neonatal and child mortality and morbidity remain among the highest priorities of the Ministry of Public Health and of the United States Agency for International Development both here in Afghanistan and globally.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. I am very pleased to be here at today’s event. I congratulate the Ministry of Public Health for launching the Health Economic Exchange Forum.
Afghanistan has made remarkable achievements over the last 12 years, some of the most dramatic of which are in the growing access to health care services and the resulting improvement in health outcomes. Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of the Ministry of Public Health, and with the support of USAID and the international community, maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan have declined by 80 percent and child mortality rates by almost 50 percent.
I’m delighted to see all of you here, coming together to address climate change, one of the most critical challenges facing our planet. You gather in this beautiful town at an auspicious time, as later this year the world’s leaders will gather in Paris to develop a new global strategy to address climate change.
On behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), I would like to congratulate the Provincial Government of Leyte for the newly established Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office that will be inaugurated today. It is an honor to be here with you to celebrate this milestone as you work towards a climate resilient Leyte.
One of the most common questions I have received over the past eight months has been, “after more than 30 years in the army — and having served as ambassador to Tanzania, why did you come to USAID?” Well to me, the answer is simple. Having deployed across the world, I have seen how the United States’ development efforts represent the vanguard of our national and economic security.
Because time and again, we have seen the intersection of extreme ideology, extreme poverty, and extreme climate routinely push millions of people to the edge of survival and challenge our collective security. To confront these realities, USAID is focusing — as an agency — with renewed energy on answering President Obama’s call to end extreme poverty by 2030.
Welcome to USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia. As we prepare to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22, we would like to share some information about what the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is doing to help protect biodiversity by fighting wildlife crime. We also would like to talk about how we are reaching out to others to find innovative ways to deal with this very important issue, including from our own Regional Development Mission here in Bangkok.
I’d like to offer a few closing reflections to what I’m sure was a fascinating day-long conversation. I regret not being able to join you for the entire event. But I am glad that Alexandra, Vanita, Sylvia and others from USAID were here to talk more in depth about our efforts in the region.
In the increasingly integrated regional economy, businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, will need to understand the benefits of the AEC. Along with that understanding, they will also need access to technology, innovation and finance that will help them take advantage of the opportunities the AEC offers. But businesses are made up of more than technology and capital. They are run by people. Businesses will also need a strong and vibrant workforce that will help them innovate and grow. And as you all know, ASEAN’s focus on human resource development is particularly important for the workforce of the newer ASEAN member states – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. The good news is that these countries have booming economies and industries in ASEAN targeted sectors, such as tourism, food processing, electronics, and construction.
Last updated: March 26, 2015