MFAN Applauds Long-Awaited Confirmation of Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator

November 30, 2015

WASHINGTON – Seven months since her nomination by President Obama and nearly one year since the announcement that Administrator Rajiv Shah was stepping down, MFAN is pleased to see the Senate take action today to confirm Gayle Smith as USAID Administrator. Having a permanent USAID Administrator in place for the final 14 months of the Obama Administration is vital to sustaining strong U.S. leadership on development programs that are essential to our national interests and an expression of our core values.

“At a time when we are responding to major crises in places like Syria and Yemen, having a confirmed USAID Administrator could not be more urgent. While it has been disappointing that this nomination was held up for this long, putting those in need at risk, we are excited to now be moving ahead with such a strong leader,” said Carolyn Miles, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Save the Children.

Gayle Smith is a strong and experienced leader and, as a Co-Founder of MFAN, has long been a champion of the aid effectiveness agenda while ensuring development is an equal pillar of U.S. foreign policy.

“We know that Gayle is eager to hit the ground running and we look forward to working closely with her to continue to strengthen the capacity of USAID to deliver results,” said George Ingram MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at Brookings.

“Gayle Smith understands the importance of effective foreign aid and we fully expect her to speed up the momentum around institutionalizing key reforms, such as those included in the USAID Forward agenda and USAID’s Vision for Ending Extreme Poverty,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center.

Under former Administrator Shah and Acting Administrator Alfonso Lenhardt, USAID has proven the critical role that foreign assistance plays in these challenging times. Now under the leadership of Gayle Smith, the Agency can move towards fulfilling the “long-term commitment to rebuilding USAID as the U.S. Government’s lead development agency and as the world’s premier development agency,” as articulated by the 2010 policy directive on global development.

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