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.
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.
It is my pleasure to be here today to launch the next phase of development cooperation between the United States and Vietnam. USAID’s development work has played a pivotal role in advancing the relationship between our two countries. The Country Development Cooperation Strategy launched today, outlines a shared vision and continued partnership to address Vietnam’s development needs over the next five years.
The reality that we know today is unacceptable and heartbreaking—that nearly 300,000 mothers and 3 million newborns continue to die each year from causes we know how to prevent. Without access to a skilled birth attendant who provides life-saving care in rural settings, a mother’s risk of dying at what should be the most joyous moment of her life is 120 times higher than here in the United States.
That is why Saving Mothers was specifically designed to target the three big delays that put the lives of women and newborns at risk every day: the delays in seeking, reaching, and receiving good care. In many cases, something as simple as knowing the danger signs during pregnancy or arranging for transportation to a clinic ahead of time is all it takes to save a mother’s life.
Last updated: October 14, 2014