11 November 2009

Rajiv Shah at USAID?

I just heard that Raj Shah has been nominated by the Obama Administration as the new Administrator of USAID. It is good news that this important agency is finally getting some attention from the Administration. Raj was the head of health and then agriculture at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so he has a good breadth of experience. I have had a few interactions with Raj over the past two years. Some people who are worried about the Foundation's potentially unchecked influence (and about AGRA in particular) will not like this appointment. I don't know who the other contenders were, but I do know that Raj cares deeply about the resources under his stewardship actually having a positive impact on the poorest groups in society. In particular he is seriously committed to fixing the broken feedback loop in international development by creating spaces to listen to smallholder farmers and families who have a hard time getting access to good quality health care. If his nomination is confirmed I encourage you to get in touch to tell him how you think USAID should be reshaped.

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