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.
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.
I am delighted to be back at my alma mater to launch, on behalf of USAID, this important undertaking, the Women, Peace and Security Project that aims to increase women’s participation in peacebuilding, peace negotiation and peace advocacy in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
As we all know, women play a significant role in keeping the peace in our societies. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out that , “a growing body of evidence shows that women offer unique contributions to making and keeping the peace-- and that those contributions lead to better outcomes not just for women but for entire societies.”
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.
Ten months ago, I visited your town and was impressed by the diligence of the Warays. Today, I have seen your most profound trait -- your unbreakable spirit. The scale of destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda that struck on November 8 and ravaged Eastern Visayas is beyond comprehension. Following disasters such as these, the provision of basic education services is of great importance. Education helps normalize the lives of children, and helps communities stabilize. Education allows children, teachers, and parents to again hope for the future and look forward to a better tomorrow. Education can also mitigate the effects of catastrophes in the future by inculcating disaster preparedness in children and parents alike.
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.
It is my distinct honor to join you this evening to witness the City Government of Valenzuela pave the way in bringing about good governance and improved public service with the digitization of the city government’s financial transactions. This important initiative will not only make transacting with government easier but it will also significantly contribute to the Philippine Government’s campaign to fight corruption, foster transparency and increase financial inclusion.
I am happy to join you this morning on behalf of the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to formally launch our new partnership through the $60 million Credit Facility.
In the Philippines, about 99% of all firms are micro, small, and medium enterprises. Supporting the country’s SMEs is crucial to igniting and sustaining inclusive economic growth in the Philippines. SMEs contribute to the generation of wealth, business opportunities and employment in rural and urban areas. This vital economic sector also contributes to a dynamic supply of ideas, skills and innovation needed to propel the country’s development.
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: March 26, 2015