Rajiv Shah

Official Photo
Administrator

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.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 10:00pm

Early on, the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognized the huge potential of Cagayan de Oro City as an economic hub in the region. In 2010, USAID’s Local Implementation of National Competitiveness for Economic Growth (or LINC-EG) project assisted the City in streamlining its business permits and licensing system through the setting up of a Business One-Stop Shop.

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 12:15pm

USAID represents a chance to build partner capacities in such a way that Afghanistan will be able to join the global economy, wean itself from donor dependency, govern its population justly, and secure its own ungoverned spaces. Development, almost any way you measure it, is a good and cost-effective alternative to eventually having to deploy soldiers. Now, as the military begins to draw-down, it is more important than ever that our Afghan colleagues, the people of Afghanistan, feel secure in the knowledge that our civilian engagement will endure, and that we will support them as they enter this decade of transformation.

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 9:00am

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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014 - 4:00am

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.”

Monday, February 3, 2014 - 12:30pm

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.

Friday, January 31, 2014 - 3:45pm

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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014 - 10:00pm

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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - 4:45am

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.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 4:45am

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. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 4:00am

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.

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Frontiers in Development 2014 Speaker Highlights - Rajiv Shah
Frontiers in Development 2014 Speaker Highlights - Rajiv Shah
USAID's Dr. Rajiv Shah at Fletcher Class Day 2014: Naive optimism is exactly what we need
Administrator Rajiv Shah at Fletcher Class Day 2014

Last updated: November 04, 2014

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