Rajiv Shah to head USAID
President Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Rajiv Shah to head US Agency for International Development (USAID).
The post of Administrator of the federal agency responsible for all non-military aid by the US had been kept vacant by the Obama Administration so far. If Congress confirms the nomination of Shah—who at present is the Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at the US Department of Agriculture—then he would possibly become the highest ranking Indian American in any US Administration.
“Rajiv brings fresh ideas and the dedication and impressive background necessary to help guide USAID as it works to achieve this important goal,” Obama said in a statement announcing his decision to nominate Shah as the Administrator of USAID yesterday. The mission of USAID is to advance US' interests by strengthening our relationships abroad.
At the USDA, Shah manages more than 10,000 staff worldwide, including 2,200 federal scientists and works with budgets upwards of US$ 2.6 billion.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Shah served as the director for Agriculture Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, he served as the foundation’s first director for financial services to the poor and led the strategic opportunities initiative through which he worked with foundation co-chairs to identify, assess and recommend new areas of giving. Prior to joining the foundation, he worked on health care policy for the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and served as a member of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s transition committee on health. He is a co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans.”