Dr. Rajiv Shah leads 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 has 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 leads 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 manages 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 has 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.
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Good morning, everyone. Before beginning this Secretary of State town hall meeting on the QDDR, I would like to ask all of you to rise for a moment in a moment of silence and memory of Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who so sadly passed away on Monday evening.
(A moment of silence is observed.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Thank you very much.
OPERATOR: Welcome and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. During the question-and-answer session, please press *1 on your touchtone phone. Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.
I now turn today's meeting over to Mr. Mark Toner. You may now begin, sir.
[ As delivered ]
Thank you very much. Thank you for inviting me to join this panel to discuss the inescapable links between food security, nutrition and HIV/AIDS: three of the top development priorities of the United States Government. Our major presidential initiatives – the PEPFAR, the Global Health Initiative and Feed the Future – are all working on these urgent priorities.
Thank you for the invitation to speak today on this important topic. I am speaking on behalf of many colleagues who have labored far longer and harder than I within USAID and the USG more broadly to develop useful and accessible information sources, and I'd like to acknowledge their efforts, which are often unsung. I have certainly been impressed, since joining USAID earlier this year, with the effort that in-house experts, as well as staff at sister agencies, are putting into information-sharing.
OPERATOR: Welcome, and thank you for standing by. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. After the presentation, we'll conduct a question-and-answer session. Today's conference is being recorded. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.
And now I'd like to introduce your host for today's conference, Mr. Mark Toner. Sir, you may begin.
Good morning. I'd like to thank Bread for the World and David Beckmann in particular for inviting me here today. I saw David earlier this year in Iowa, where he was collecting his very well deserved World Food Prize.
Hunger, both at home and abroad, is not a problem of capability, or a problem of scarcity, or a problem of technological limitations. It is a problem of collective action.
Feed the Future, a presidential initiative designed to reverse global hunger trends, is a whole-of-government approach aligning our resources with country-owned strategic plans to transform agricultural development and, ultimately, spur economic growth. It is part of a collaborative global effort to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
The U.S. higher education community is helping us make this happen.
Feed the Future aims to significantly reduce poverty and improve nutrition by harnessing the power of agriculture to increase the incomes of poor rural people, expanding opportunities for smallholder farmers and rural businesses throughout the value chain, and increasing the productivity and quality of food that poor people eat.
The United States is proud to be a part of this broad international effort to combat hunger and spur economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries. The collaborative global effort is centered on country-owned processes and plans that implement a common approach to improve food security, agricultural production, and nutrition.
President Obama pledged to spend at least $3.5 billion over three years on agriculture-led development – a more than doubling of our recent spending in this area. The United States is well on its way to achieving that financial commitment with an approved FY 2010 budget of $888 million that focuses investments in agricultural development and nutrition. Feed the Future, which is the U.S. Government’s contribution to the global effort, prioritizes investments in game-changing innovations and research, host country capacity, and strong mechanisms to hold both ourselves and our partners accountable for achieving sustainable outcomes in food security.
Last updated: November 04, 2014