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.
I am pleased to be here today at the start of this important initiative in the history of Kenya’s power sector. I wish to start off by thanking the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for the great work they have done over the past couple of years in developing the country’s electricity sub-sector.
Let me make one thing very clear, the United States will continue to stand with the people of South Sudan. Our support for them will not waiver. I am pleased to announce today, in some ways but also disappointed, to announce that we we are committing an additional 133 million dollars in humanitarian assistance to support them. That brings us to 1.9 billion dollars.
This event is being sponsored by Power Africa’s Women in African Power network and the African Development Bank. On behalf of Power Africa, Women in African Power and AfDB, I would like to thank you for attending and express my hopes that you will find this event informative and enjoyable.
For over a decade USAID has been partnering with the Government of Kenya to invest in the health workforce. Investing in the health workforce is critical because, even if we strengthen all other aspects of the health system, if there aren’t qualified health workers motivated to care for patients and placed where they are needed, Kenya will not meet its health goals.
The U.S. government, through the U.S.Agency for Internation Development (USAID) has been providing support to Population Services International (PSI) and their local partner, Population Services Khmer (PSK) to support the Royal Government of Cambodia to reduce child mortality due to acute respiratory infection (ARI)/pneumonia and diarrhea.
It is in response to this trans-boundary threat, that USAID is taking decisive action to reduce wildlife crime in the region. USAID is working with national wildlife conservation agencies in expanding existing counter wildlife trafficking interventions using advanced tools like the WILD app for digital monitoring and tracking of wildlife.
As a friend of Cambodia, the U.S. government is committed to supporting work in transitional justice and peace and reconciliation. Through USAID, we provide financial support to TPO and other organizations working in the transitional justice sector. As USAID’s partner for the Truth, Reconciliation and Healing Towards a Shared Future project, TPO works directly with former Khmer Rouge members and with the survivors of the regime. Their extraordinary efforts have helped Cambodian people cope with trauma and learn how to live peacefully together in the same communities regardless if one was a former Khmer Rouge member or a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of those who suffered under the Khmer Rouge have been able to move forward with their lives.
The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem has significant socio-economic benefits not only for Kenya and Tanzania, but also for the entire East Africa Region. This basin supports the livelihoods of more than one million people by providing critical biodiversity and ecosystem services such as water supply, agriculture, and livestock and fisheries production. The basin is also home to some of the world’s most iconic and magnificent wildlife in the world, an important part of the economy and tourism industry.
When criminals exploit human beings to pursue profits in the global seafood market, they also disregard the environment in the process, damaging fisheries and destroying ecosystems. That is why at USAID, we strongly believe that we must look at these enormous challenges in an integrated way–working both to improve the sustainability of our oceans and increase respect for the rights and dignity of the people working in this industry around the world.
On behalf of the donor community and the USAID mission in Kenya and East Africa, I am delighted to join CIMMYT on this auspicious occasion to mark the 50 years they have devoted to ensuring that smallholder farmers and their families can meet their need for food and nutritional security. This is a daunting but critical task in this part of the world. So first of all, I want to say thank you for your dedicated work.
Last updated: April 15, 2016