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 thank the Kenya Wildlife Service, Narok county government, and all the other conservation champions here today for inviting me to participate in this great occasion. This is an extraordinary day because not only are we celebrating World Wildlife Day, but we are also celebrating Africa Environment Day and Wangari Maathai day.
Fifteen years ago when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were launched, there were 100 million primary school age kids out of school. MDG Goal 2 set out to change that and improvements in access to school happened, but unfortunately, for millions of children, "schooling" was not leading to "learning." So, with the strong support of members of Congress, and all of you, we issued our USAID Education Strategy and focused on just three goals. The Strategy set ambitious targets which will take a long time to reach, but which are crucial.
J’aurais bien souhaité être ici devant vous pour assister à l’annonce d’une nouvelle beaucoup plus joyeuse mais tel n’est peut-être pas le cas. En effet, nous sommes réunis aujourd’hui en ce lieu pour tirer la sonnette d’alarme et dire: « L’éléphant d’Afrique est en danger d’extinction à cause du commerce illicite de l’ivoire
The U.S. Mission and its Health Portfolio leadership stand with the Cabinet Secretary and his team to improve the health of the people of Kenya, through both service delivery and strengthening of Kenyan public health systems
C’est un grand plaisir pour moi d’être ici avec vous aujourd’hui. D’abord, c’est la première opportunité pour moi de rencontrer nos partenaires de Solutions Locales et Konbit. Mais surtout, je suis ravi que ma première sortie officielle marque le lancement d’un projet tout à fait particulier et innovateur. En effet, c’est un important projet d’assistance directe à des organisations et entreprises Haïtiennes.
USAID is no stranger to working with faith-based organizations. Since USAID’s creation in 1961, by President John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president in U.S. history, we have engaged with religious leaders and institutions to end extreme poverty, respond to human suffering and as, President Kennedy said, “to establish the principle that all the people are entitled to a decent way of life.” As State Secretary Silberhorn also said, with 84 percent of people around the world identifying with a religious group, it is impossible to be effective in the world without strong partnerships with faith-based groups and religious leaders.
It is an exciting and pivotal time for U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the most dynamic, fastest growing region in the world. Over the next five years, nearly half of all growth outside the United States is expected to come from Asia.
The Free Maternity Services policy introduced in 2013 has greatly increased demand for health services For this reason, in addition to providing medical equipment to hospitals, ample space in these facilities for health services is also necessary. We have worked with counties, including Machakos, to meet this need by renovating maternal and newborn units, including hospitals in Kangundo and Athi River.
Yet, even if a woman owns a computer or mobile phone, she won’t use it to its full potential if she lacks the necessary skills and confidence. USAID is proud that through our partnership in the Women and the Web Alliance, we are improving the digital literacy skills and confidence of women to use technology in improving their lives.
As you already know, trafficking in persons is a global human rights challenge. The criminal networks involved in trafficking make huge profits by preying upon the most vulnerable in our region. This destructive practice breaks down rule of law, corrupts global commerce, and severely disrupts the social fabric in affected communities.
Last updated: April 15, 2016