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.
Good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of Ambassador Lenhardt and the staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) I am pleased to welcome you all to the Financial Inclusion Forum. I want to start by thanking USAID’s co-sponsor for the Forum, the U.S. Department of Treasury. I thank them for hosting us today, and for the incredible energy they are bringing to the Administration’s efforts to advance financial inclusion and economic participation – both domestically and internationally.
Tuberculosis (TB) is silently killing India. An estimated 2.2 million cases are reported annually: of these 220,000 prove fatal. Or to put it simply, two people die of TB every three minutes in India. This is the highest number of deaths from TB anywhere in the world.
One of USAID’s main objectives in Timor-Leste is to partner with the government and people to accelerate inclusive economic growth in the agricultural sector, improve Timorese citizens’ ability to engage in the private sector, and increase the productivity of selected agriculture value chains. Since about 80 percent of Timor-Leste’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihoods, USAID focuses on accelerating inclusive economic growth for farm households in the country’s rural areas. Our partnerships support activities aimed at boosting output above subsistence levels and improving incomes by increasing farm productivity and establishing links to markets.
The global goal of eliminating trachoma by 2020 is a major piece in ending preventable blindness and suffering by millions throughout the world. Recently, we have seen significant progress toward the goal. From 2011 to 2013, the number of people at risk of developing Trachoma has been reduced from 314 million to 229 million. Host governments in endemic countries, donors, the World Health Organization, pharmaceutical companies, and others have shown a deep commitment to ending the neglect and eliminating trachoma.
One of the reasons veteran owned small businesses make such great partners for USAID, and for the government more broadly, is that we share a key motivation: service to country. Everything we do at USAID is done on behalf of the American people. In addition to strengthening the United States’ position as a global leader, our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies help enhance our own security and prosperity here at home.
The U.S. Government is proud to be the single largest donor on the Thai-Burma border. By supporting the technical, institutional, leadership and advocacy capacities of community organizations, USAID has helped to increase access to critical health care, education, food security and protection for displaced people in conflict-affected areas in the South East part of the country and in the border provinces and refugee camps of Thailand.
Going forward, we must continue to build on decades of U.S. leadership in global food security, and solidify our efforts to make lasting progress against hunger, poverty and malnutrition. Together, all the U.S. Government agencies and Feed the Future partners, including all of you here today, can help ensure everyone has the nutritious food they need to lead full, healthy lives.
I commend the County Government and the parents and students of Ama Primary School for your commitment to improving learning.
Last year’s landmark ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities demonstrated Vietnam’s commitment to respecting rights, embracing the value of diversity, and promoting equal opportunities. It added a potentially important new dimension to our cooperation that is also at the core of USAID’s broader strategy for development cooperation, which is the emphasis on inclusion.
Last updated: April 15, 2016