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.
Nearly fifty years ago, when my grandfather in India dreamt of a better life for his children, he only had one choice to make. He emptied his entire retirement account and put my dad on a plane with a one-way ticket to the United States of America. Today, families around the world have more options—and that is a wonderful and hopeful reality.
But we still, as Americans, need to stand for something special. So when successive Republican and Democratic presidents call on us to lead the fight to end extreme poverty or advance our basic democratic values, it is in our national security and economic interest, but it also speaks volumes about who we are. On behalf of the entire team at the U.S. Agency for International Development, thank you for this honor.
I am delighted to be here today to congratulate the Ayala Foundation, the other consortium members, and the participating civil society organizations on this important achievement.
According to the WHO status report on road safety, road traffic accidents result in more than 1 million deaths globally each year. For every 1 person who dies in a road traffic crash, 20 are injured. And 1 in 20 of those injured is left with a disability. At such a scale, this is an issue that impacts each of us. We envision a world where we and our loved ones face fewer risks as we go about our everyday lives.
But the numbers don’t really describe the huge impact that accidents have. A traffic death may cost a family its wage earner. Traffic injuries may mean a child won’t be able to attend school. In short – the accidents have the potential to cost Cambodia’s government and its society heavily. What makes events like today all the more exciting, however, is that we come together not just to discuss the problem, but to celebrate a solution: the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation’s “Head Safe, Helmet On” campaign.
On behalf of the American people and the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), I am honored to be here today for the Manila launch of the Philippine-American Fund second grant solicitation.
USAID has a powerful partnership with Bomet, and there are so many things we have already achieved together. We have been working in Bomet for a long time. There’s a reason why you see the big USAID sign on the way to Tenwek Hospital.
The idea behind Shujog is fairly simple. Impact investors are looking for a pipeline of businesses to invest in that generate both financial and social returns. Yet these investors are often unable to connect with early-stage entrepreneurs, and that means there is so much potential still waiting to be tapped on both sides. Shujog’s ACTS program, along with partners Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, and the Rockefeller Foundation, will help bring them together, by providing Assistance for Capacity Building and Technical Services (ACTS). This will help social enterprises to better attract investment; scale their businesses; and increase their impact.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you here this morning at the Private Sector Forum on the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Law.
Today’s forum is important, because it addresses a challenge that Cambodia, as well as many countries around the world, are facing: How do we pursue economic development without sacrificing the health of our environment?
The U.S. Agency for International Development, which I represent, is an important supporter of education around the world. Education is a pathway to better opportunities for every person, their community, and their nation. Through the School Dropout Prevention Program (SDPP), USAID is working closely with the Ministry of Education to achieve Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goal: Universal Access to Basic Education by 2015. The SDPP program supports the Ministry’s policy on Preventing Student from Dropout of School and Information Communication Technology in education, which calls for access to ICT for all teachers and students, especially at the secondary level.
USAID and CCRDA share a common mission in Ethiopia.
At USAID, we fundamentally believe that ending extreme poverty requires inclusive, broad-based, sustainable growth; free, peaceful, and self-reliant societies with effective, legitimate governments; human development through health and education, and social safety nets that reach the poorest and most vulnerable. Similarly, our cross-cutting efforts in promoting good governance, empowering women and girls, and mitigating climate change are all essential to ending poverty.
Resilient, democratic societies don’t simply maintain stability: they are essential to sustaining development progress. At USAID we believe they embrace not only elections, but also legitimate, inclusive, and accountable institutions that effectively deliver services to all of their people, advancing human dignity and development. They have the ability to manage conflict, mitigate the impact of natural disasters, and forestall crisis that otherwise roll back development gains.
Why do we do this on behalf of the American people? In addition to the moral and humanitarian imperatives to assist those in need, the United States is safer and stronger when fewer people face destitution, when our trading partners are flourishing, when nations around the world can withstand crisis.
Globally, nearly 300,000 women and over 3 million infants die each year from complications in pregnancy and birth – with unplanned pregnancies often carrying the highest risk. Here in Cambodia, as evidenced by our last Demographic and Health Survey, 206 Cambodian women needlessly lose their lives for every 100,000 live births -- usually from preventable and treatable causes.
Last updated: March 26, 2015