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.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is investing $4 million this year in Kenya’s immunization program. Speaking as a donor, I can tell you that childhood immunization programs provide a very high return on investment. Vaccination services prevent illnesses, which reduce direct health costs and save millions of shillings in indirect costs, a fact I know Secretary Macharia appreciates. More importantly, vaccination services save lives.
Cambodia has made substantial progress towards achieving its Millennium Development Goals, including reaching the targets for Goals 4 and 5 years ahead of the target dates. I would like to congratulate the Royal Government of Cambodia, in particular the Ministry of Health, for its leadership in these efforts. The deployment of midwives to all health facilities and the endorsement of the midwifery incentive scheme are recognized as driving forces behind this great success.
Regardless of where we work, we are driven by one core mission: to end extreme poverty and advance the dignity of every human being. Yet, we come together tonight at a time when this mission—and our values—are being tested. Across the globe, millions of children—especially girls—are facing daunting threats.
Syria’s children continue to endure relentless dangers, from barrel bombs to extremist militias. India’s girls risk their lives every time they fetch water or visit latrines. And Nigeria’s children are finding school a target for terrorists rather than a sanctuary for learning. All it takes it one look around the world to see that our joint efforts and advocacy are more critical than ever.
Habari zenu, Good morning,
Honorable Henry Rotich, Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury; Honorable Michael Kamau, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure; Lucy Mbugua Managing Director of the Kenya Airports Authority; other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor to be with you.
I am so pleased to be here to mark another milestone in our 50-year partnership with Kenya.
We are here today because we recognize that Kenya is in a position to benefit from the positive effects of a demographic change. The country is overflowing with young and ambitious Kenyans eager to contribute to the development of the country. If we can move them responsibly into their working age years as healthy, educated and productive adults, with fewer dependents, they can lead the development process and elevate Kenya to a middle-income country.
In Cambodia today, women are living longer, healthier lives than their mothers and their mothers before them. As the nation’s health system and economic opportunities continue to improve, Cambodian women have better access to higher-quality health services and products for themselves and their families. Giving birth is safer than it has ever been in Cambodia, for both mothers and their newborns. Contraceptives and other health commodities are more readily available and affordable. Deaths due to the most lethal diseases of the past – such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV – are declining each year.
It gives me the greatest honor and pleasure to be here today to pledge the U.S. Government’s support for the Government of Ethiopia’s unprecedented commitment to End Fistula and Transform Lives by 2020. We applaud the Federal Ministry of Health for its renewed focus on obstetric fistula and for taking the bold step of developing a Plan of Action to eliminate fistula by the year 2020.
More than 1 billion people - one-sixth of the world's population - suffer from one or more neglected tropical diseases, also known as NTDs. These diseases affect the world's most vulnerable populations - those who are poorest and have little or no means to protect themselves from illness. Their impact on individuals and communities is devastating. In addition to the over 500,000 people who die annually from the consequences of NTDs - millions suffer from chronic disability, pain, disfigurement, and social stigma that keeps them from living full, productive lives.
This is an incredibly exciting week for the global community- as we outline a new approach to working together to prevent maternal and child deaths and set ambitious goals that we hope to achieve in the years ahead.We’re thrilled that you are a part of it.
It is such an exciting time for this effort. Because for the first time in history, we stand within reach of a world that was simply once unimaginable—a world without child and maternal death.
Child Survival and maternal mortality have been a focus of the U.S. commitment to global health for decades. Every year, we commit nearly $1.5 billion to this moral mission. And today, we know that how we deploy those precious dollars has the potential to transform millions of communities that suffer from the senseless tragedy of losing children to preventable deaths.
Last updated: March 26, 2015