This afternoon, Dr. Rajiv Shah was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as the 16th Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Secretary Clinton reaffirmed her confidence in Shah’s ability to lead the beleaguered agency, saying “it takes an exceptional person to walk into this with his eyes wide open and to embrace the multitude of challenges that we face. Someone who understands the mission of USAID.” She welcomed Shah to the podium with “great gratitude, delight, and relief.”
Shah echoed the message Secretary Clinton delivered in her speech Wednesday at the Peterson Institute, saying “Yesterday, Secretary Clinton articulated a powerful call to action for us. Her charge builds on the President’s bold vision to embrace development as indispensable to American foreign policy. As a result, we find ourselves at a unique moment of opportunity. A powerful consensus has formed across this government, at the highest levels, that development is vital to both our national security and the shared interests of an interconnected world.” Shah went on to list the six areas of concentration laid out by the Secretary, and including partnership, coordination, accountability, and staying “relentlessly focused on results.” Below are key excerpts from his speech:
“We need to rebuild the capacities USAID once had to analyze, plan, and invest strategically for the long term. And we need to develop new capabilities to pursue innovation, science and technology – and to better focus our programs on women and girls, who have the power to lift their families and communities out of poverty.”
“The object of our aid is to create the conditions where it is no longer needed, so that communities thrive, governance is strong, and schools and other institutions continue to operate long after we leave.”
“We have this unique opportunity to create massive improvement in the human condition – but to seize this opportunity, we have to do a better job establishing baseline data, measuring progress, being transparent about both our successes and our failures – learning from both and improving our approach as we go forward.”
Read a full transcript of the swearing-in ceremony here.