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.
2015 is an important year for our collective partnership to address extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies, often in the most difficult parts of our world. But no matter where we work across the globe, the men and women of the State Department and USAID work on behalf of the American people. And the modest yet critical investments we make in improving the quality of life for the world’s most fortunate, in fact, contribute directly to American strength, security, trade, and prosperity.
And above all, over the last years we have refocused our investments to make sure that we’re doing our work in a way where, over time, our aid and assistance is no longer necessary, where self-sufficiency can replace the need for outside assistance. The President’s budget request this year includes $22.3 billion that USAID will manage or partly manage. These critical resources allow us to advance our country’s interests in a far-ranging set of contexts. By leveraging public-private partnerships and harnessing the power of technology, science, and innovation, we’re now able to deliver clear, focused, and measurable results with these resources.
It is my pleasure to be with you today to witness the signing of the Bilateral Assistance Agreement for Basic Education between the Philippines and the United States of America.
As a former teacher, and the son of a teacher and school principal, I share your conviction that a quality basic education is the right of every child.
Distinguished guests, I’m honored to be here today to speak about the fight against corruption, an issue that is increasingly vital in Central and Eastern Europe. Looking around the room, I see that we are a diverse group – civil society, government officials, journalists, judges, diplomats – and everyone cares deeply about combatting corruption. We also share profound concern about the people and the future of Macedonia, and are committed to working together in the fight against corruption.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are the backbone of almost all economies in the world. Their essential contribution to sustained and broad-based development has become even more indispensable in the regional and global economy of today. This is particularly the case in ASEAN, with each member nation having between 52 and 97 percent of its domestic employment within the SME sector. Here in Cambodia, a recent report from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia puts SME employment at 73 percent of the domestic work force.
Two and a half years ago, as part of a discussion of how we would get, there a few of us gathered in the dead of winter for a discussion on how we tackle perhaps the greatest barrier to growth across the African continent. At that time I would not have imagined that Power Africa would grow into such a vibrant and exciting public-private collaboration to achieve exactly that objective. Progress has come not from putting a whole lot of new money on the table, or even because we have so many new partners that are engaged - and both of those are areas where we have made real progress - but our progress actually comes from a willingness to embrace a new model of development.
As you all know, wildlife trafficking is a logistics and transport-intensive activity. Traffickers of wildlife and wildlife products have discrete smuggling methods, networks, routes and markets. And evidence indicates that legitimate transportation and distribution supply chains are also being used to traffic illegal wildlife. For example, ivory is most often hidden in shipping containers, while rhino horn is usually trafficked by air passengers.
For generations, the United States has been a leader in providing development assistance to alleviate suffering in Kenya and across the globe. But food price spikes and resulting instability in 2007 and 2008 were a wake-up call: More needed to be done to break the vicious cycle of hunger and poverty.
And we are especially honored to have Ethiopia’s First Lady join us this morning to officially open the conference. She has been a very important advocate for strengthening the role of women in the professional world, and her presence today also shows Ethiopia’s support for this important initiative that addresses the role of women in agribusiness.
As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of normalized relations between the United States and Vietnam and look to the future, perhaps is there no greater opportunity to bring our two great nations together than on climate change and the environment. It is, therefore, truly an honor to speak on this topic so early in my tenure here in Vietnam and at such an important event.
Khi chúng ta cùng kỷ niệm 20 năm bình thường hóa quan hệ giữa Việt Nam và Hoa Kỳ và hướng tới tương lai, có lẽ vấn đề biến đổi khí hậu và môi trường chính là cơ hội tốt nhất để đưa hai nước xích lại gần nhau. Vì vậy, đây thực sự là vinh hạnh cho tôi khi được phát biểu về vấn đề này vào đầu nhiệm kỳ của mình ở Việt Nam và trong một sự kiện quan trọng như thế này.
Last updated: March 26, 2015