U.S. Agency for International Development Releases First Annual Letter

Highlights Results and New Reforms Across Past Year on the 50th Anniversary of the Agency's Creation

For Immediate Release

Thursday, March 31, 2011
USAID Press Office

Washington, D.C. - Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today released the Agency's first annual letter on Twitter.

Commemorating President John F. Kennedy's letter that called for the creation of the agency 50 years ago, USAID's letter offers a progress report of USAID reforms, chronicles the results of efforts across the past year and lays out future steps based on President Obama's commitment to rebuild USAID into the world's premier development Agency.

The letter describes how USAID is building a new culture and reforming to deliver American assistance faster, smarter and more efficiently:

"At USAID, we took [President Obama's] words to heart. We proposed eliminating bilateral development assistance to 11 countries in places where weak governance or corruption undermined its effectiveness, or where rapid growth made foreign assistance unnecessary. We also redirected some of our most talented staff from more rapidly developing regions like Eastern Europe and Latin America, to better manage our investments in Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where need is greater.

"...The reforms outlined in the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) weren't designed to return our Agency to its glory days. They were designed to do something greater: create a modern development enterprise. By making our Agency more efficient, more effective and more business-like, USAID Forward was designed to free our talented staff to deliver better outcomes."

On Haiti:

"...Time and again, similar acts of ingenuity drove home the effectiveness of USAID's talented ranks. It was clear our Agency could achieve even better results if we aggressively reformed the way we worked-in Haiti and around the world."

The letter illustrates how a small investment in foreign assistance strengthens our national security and economy for the American people:

"I want Americans to understand that by doing good, they also do well. Our assistance depends on generosity from the American people. But it also derives benefits for the American people: it keeps our country safe and strengthens our economy.

"For less than one percent of our national budget, U.S. development assistance saves lives, strengthens democracies and expands opportunity around the world.

"Because development assistance is so crucial, I stress our need to deliver it more effectively than ever before. We must work more closely with local partners and deliver results faster, more sustainably, and at a lower cost so more people can benefit.

"...To win the future, we must continue to reach developing world consumers through innovative business models and targeted assistance, accelerating the peaceful rise of the markets they represent. In short, we must continue to build a world with more South Koreas and fewer North Koreas."

To read the letter in its entirety, visit http://50.usaid.gov/2011-annual-letter/

Last updated: January 28, 2015

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