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.
Before talking about closing space, I actually want to begin by talking about opening space; I believe these phenomena are inter-related. And we need to understand that relationship, that dynamic as we think about what we do concerning the backlash. They say that when you join government as a political appointee, you spend down your intellectual capital. Not so in the 21st century. Over nearly three and half years of serving in the Administration, I have been witness to, exposed to and learning about a revolution, and I don’t mean the Arab Spring. I mean a revolution in how citizens are using technology to hold government accountable.
As the world has grown more interconnected, this is the new face of development. The days of hiring a contractor to build a road might still be relevant in some parts of Afghanistan, but, in reality, over the long-term, if we are going to end extreme poverty, unnecessary child death and widespread child hunger, we’re going to do it by bringing businesses with real supply chains, logistics capabilities, the capacity to invent new technologies and the determination to measure results, and work in partnership, to some of the farthest corners of the globe.
We have come a long way. USAID began supporting HIV/AIDS programs in Vietnam in the mid-1990s. USAID and its U.S. Government partner agencies work in collaboration with and through the Government of Vietnam at the national, provincial, and district levels in support of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. USAID supports delivery prevention, care and treatment services, and advocacy for policies that will improve access to and the quality of HIV/AIDS services.
Honorable Speaker Ethuro, Honorable Governors, Honorable Members of Parliament and the Senate, Honorable Members of the East African Legislative Assembly, Honorable Assembly Speakers and Members, Government Officials, and members of civil society.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here with you today. As a representative of one member of the community of democracies, I am grateful for the opportunity to engage with you to discuss and compare notes on how to advance good governance. It is most certainly an evolving practice and one that gains by shared experiences.
On behalf of the USAID Kenya Mission Director, Karen Freeman, I extend my appreciation to you, Secretary Macharia, for the opportunity to mark the importance of World Breastfeeding Week.
Yesterday, the Senate marked I believe $1.7 billion for Feed the Future and everyone in this room has the right to know: Are these resources being used effectively? But we don’t even have the chance to try and prove that if you don’t make bold statements like you did yesterday that you will continue to support successful results oriented initiatives. So, thank you.
If the old model of development, or the more traditional model, was to hire a contractor to build a road, the new model is embedded in much of what the President saw and spoke about with respect to Feed the Future in priority countries: bringing together local farmers, businesses, policy reforms from government, a focus on measurement and results, and an absolute imperative that the resources we spend are in fact delivering significant results.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity today to announce a program that underscores American long-term commitment to Afghanistan and specifically to Afghan women. It’s a partnership we call Promote. We aren’t setting our sights low. We aren’t scaling back our ambitions at this critical point in our history. The Promote Partnership will be the largest investment USAID has ever made to advance women in development.
• Honorable Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Nkoane-Mashabane,
• UNISA Vice Principal Phakeng,
• IEC Chairperson Moepya,
• Professor Gutto and Professor Teffo,
• Distinguished members of the diplomatic corps,
• Representatives of the IEC and UNISA,
• Participating election management officials from across Africa,
• Other distinguished guests. All protocol observed.
Your Excellency First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta
The Cabinet Secretary for Health Mr. James Macharia
Your Excellency, Governor Hassan Joho
Senator Ali Omar
Senator Harod Chepchumba
County Commissioners Nelson Marwa
Member of Parliament Nyali, Awiti Bollo
Other Members of parliament
Development partners, Ladies and Gentlemen
USAID under the U.S. Feed the Future Initiative supports the Government of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Growth Program with the goals of raising agricultural productivity, improving income earning opportunities for women and the rural poor, and spurring growth in rural areas. The attainment of these goals is to a very large extent, dependent upon the development of policies and systems that encourage resiliency and adaptation to climate changes, private-sector participation and investment, good and transparent governance, and none of these can happen without secure land tenure and property rights.
Last updated: October 14, 2014