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.
Over three intense days we have seen how countries who have committed to reducing child mortality face great challenges and achieve progress by using proven cost–effective and high impact interventions, building health care delivery systems, working directly with and on the community level, investing in the education of girls and women, and by forging political will and determination. These improvements in maternal, infant, and child health are critical for overall development of nations.
Since the Legislative Research Program began more than a year ago, USAID has worked with the to strengthen the capacity to provide National Assembly members and staff with greater in-depth information and analysis on critical laws and policies.
The U.S. Government launched the EC-LEDS initiative more than two years ago to support developing country-led efforts to accelerate their economic growth, achieve their development goals, and address climate change. Vietnam was one of our first partners and we are privileged to work with you in this endeavor.
Haleh described my official title as Deputy Administrator, and that’s what it says on the website. I help provide overall direction and management for the Agency, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Africa, oversee implementation of USAID Forward and advancement of presidential initiatives such as food security, global health, climate change, and democracy and governance. But in this small intimate environment –webcast throughout the world—I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
My real day job is to ensure that all our development efforts are implemented in an inclusive manner, in particular drawing on the contributions of previously marginalized and disempowered groups, whether that is women, people with disabilities, indigenous groups, youth, the LGBT community, and religious and ethnic minorities. They must be at the center of our work, and they must be planners, implementers and beneficiaries of all of our development efforts. We have a watchword we use at USAID, “Nothing about them without them.”
USAID is proud to be a partner with the GVN in these important efforts to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. Since 1989, the U.S. Government has provided over $54 million in assistance to people with disabilities, regardless of cause. In collaboration with the GVN and partners such as the Vietnam Assistance to the Handicapped, we have been able to contribute to the development of Vietnam's National Law on Disability, Accessibility Codes and Standards for public transportation, public construction and access to information. In addition, we have been contributing to the establishment of the Blue Ribbon Employer Council that promotes employment for PWDs, the establishment of the National Coordinating Council on Disabilities and the Vietnam Disability Federation to promote enforcement of the disability law and policies.
It is my pleasure to represent the United States Government and the American people at this grant signing ceremony for the Sustaining Malaria Reduction Interventions in Ethiopia program. First, I would like to begin by congratulating Dr. Kesetebirhan, on his promotion to Minister of Health and thank him for his long-standing commitment and contribution to public health and especially to malaria control efforts in Ethiopia.
Today’s action plan is an unprecedented approach to coordinate the efforts of more than 30 government offices within seven agencies in 100 countries and to unite them with a common purpose, with three core objectives: Every child survives and gets healthy food, Every child grows up in the protective and nurturing embrace of a family, and Every child is safe from violence and exploitation.
We’ve always known that achieving these goals is within our power, but today—for the first time—we have a real, evidence-based, results-oriented plan to get us there. It is a plan that doesn’t just describe our aspirations, but outlines specific and achievable outcomes we must deliver. And it is a plan that doesn’t just describe the challenges we face, but cites specific scientific studies that underpin our learning and inform our new approaches.
I am greatly honored to be here today to launch USAID Ethiopia’s flagship program for pastoral Ethiopia called Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion, known by its acronym PRIME. The word “prime” means to catalyze. We aim to catalyze improvements in the livelihoods of pastoral peoples, including the women who play critical economic and social roles in the wellbeing of families and communities; we aim to catalyze livestock production and markets, and to catalyze the ability of those populations most vulnerable to climate change to adapt and respond without undue suffering
Mexico and the United States have a shared border, a shared history, and, increasingly, a shared road to prosperity based on partnership between our two peoples. When they met in Washington in late November, President Obama and President Peña Nieto articulated a common vision that puts even closer economic integration and prosperity at the forefront of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. My visit and the program we are launching today are a tangible reflection of this.
The demand for justice and security is what brings us here today. In Guatemala and other Central American countries, the United States has long emphasized the importance of institutional capacity building. Today is an opportunity to reaffirm our partnership with Guatemala to improve citizen security and bolster the rule of law.
The USAID Security and Justice Sector Reform Project works hand-in-hand with the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Governance, the Public Ministry, the Institute of Public Defense and the National Forensic Institute to improve internal systems and processes thereby building more effective institutions.
Last updated: March 26, 2015