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.
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.
You all are playing an important role in promoting land reform and the sustainable management and protection of Cambodia’s environment. It is only through our combined and coordinated efforts that we can ensure a better future for millions of Cambodians.
I am pleased to represent USAID at this very timely launch of the Lancet Every Newborn series here in Ethiopia designed to focus our collective efforts on addressing one of the most pressing issues for our child survival agenda, preventable newborn deaths. Thanks to the leadership and determination of the Ministry of Health and health workers across the country coupled with the support from many partners here today, much progress has been made in reducing under-five child mortality with Ethiopia proudly achieving MDG goal of cutting under-five mortality by two-thirds.
Yet while the 2014 mini-DHS results tells us that more mothers are giving birth with the assistance of a health care professional, even more are seeking ante-natal care, and many more are using contraception to space births. Newborns constitute 43 percent of under five deaths in Ethiopia, close to the world average of 44 percent, and represent a larger proportion of under-five deaths now than they did in 1990. Thus, despite progress in child survival, the single most important remaining cause of death among children less than five years of age is newborn deaths—deaths within the first 28 days of life.
It is an honor to be here this morning. Today, the United States and Kenya join hands to reaffirm our joint commitment to the fight against climate change. Today, we take action that will help us avert a worldwide climate catastrophe. Today, we launch a joint three-year project to help Kenya achieve its goal of low-carbon, sustainable economic growth and development.
We need to continue to open our doors to scientists, engineers, and innovators around the world to define the challenges, test our ideas, and scale the solutions. We need to measure success differently. Mentor local organizations and companies. Build sustainable markets. And we need to work every day to ensure that our efforts will be replaced by those of strong institutions, vibrant private sectors, and thriving civil societies. We look to you to serve as champions of this new way of working. Your partnership is essential to building enduring progress in the world’s most vulnerable communities. As you do, you’ll be creating opportunities abroad in the markets of the future—even as you help build the pathways out of poverty for millions of people around the world.
The USAID TB CARE I project has been one of the key parts of our assistance in improving the tuberculosis service in Kyrgyzstan.
USAID recognizes the vibrant work of women leaders throughout the region. We know your exchanges over the next few days will offer many fruitful opportunities for you to learn and benefit from one another’s experiences. The theme of the workshop is exploring the way forward. Although the workshop will last only a few days, I hope that each of you will listen carefully, participate fully, and be inspired. Learn from your neighbors. Take back a new approach to make a meaningful change when you return home.
Our mission is to end extreme poverty around the world, to promote rights and democracy, sometimes in tough settings. And that attracts a special kind of employee to our organization; and the more we can discuss, dialogue, and build the right culture, the more we know we are actually espousing in our day-to-day work the values we hold so dear so that everyone has rights and opportunity.
And to take this forward today, we’re taking these efforts to another level by announcing a Joint Communique on LGBTI Human Rights. To be signed by more than 20 countries, the communique will enable us to share best practices, improve international coordination, and advance a sustainable, community-based approach to our work.
The U.S. government, through President Obama’s global food security initiative known as “Feed the Future,” strives to increase agricultural production, incomes, nutrition, and the resiliency of rural households. I am very pleased to inform you all that Cambodia was one of nineteen countries in the world selected to participate in this initiative.
I am honored to join you today for this Advocacy meeting on Accelerating the Attainment of Millennium Development Goal 5 in Kenya. Now, “Millennium Development Goal 5” is a pretty dry name. So let me put it another way. We are here today about the health of mothers. We are here about the health of families. We are here because Kenyans do not want their country to be one of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world for mothers to give birth. We are here about our shared future.
Last updated: March 26, 2015