USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah: Reinvent USAID to Meet 21st Century Development and Security Challenges

Jun 18, 2010, 16:25 ET from U.S. Agency for International Development

WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a speech before the National Press Club today, Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), emphasized the importance of modernizing development assistance.



Shah noted that "a more efficient, results-oriented agency is needed now more than ever. America's greatest security challenges are no longer just state-based. Extreme poverty compromises basic human dignities, banishes hope for the future and paves the way for the rise of transnational extremism. We can meet these challenges through the President's signature long-term development initiatives, which are designed to meet the Millennium Development Goals – our Feed the Future program and the Global Health Initiative...a modern aid agency must work where the link between the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life and our own national security is more acute."

"The world has changed in the last decade," Shah said, "and the development community – starting with our agency – must change as well. To get better results we have to become development entrepreneurs, and I believe our ambitious reform agenda will help us get there: [USAID must] work in a new spirit of partnership and accountability, as we are doing in our efforts to end hunger and save lives through global health; [we must] make science, technology and innovation a core part of our approach. If we succeed, we can help crate a safer, more stable world capable of meeting our shared global challenges. And as in Haiti, we intend to be swift, aggressive and coordinated in our effort to get there."

Shah noted that "Haiti's recovery is just starting and will take years. Development is a difficult long-term endeavor and we face significant challenges, especially as the hurricane season approaches."

"But the early results of our efforts are encouraging – and they helped me shape my reform agenda," Shah stated. "I learned that to bring out the best in our people, we need to unleash the pent up entrepreneurial energy within the Agency. We need to apply the latest learnings to the most pressing problems. And we need to encourage our staff to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our beneficiaries and partners in government, civil society and the private sector."

Full text of the speech, as prepared, can be found here.

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SOURCE U.S. Agency for International Development