Rajiv Shah Speaks about USAID Reforms

On June 2, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah spoke to the InterAction Forum about planned reforms at USAID.  You can read the full text of his candid and impassioned speech here

From Dr. Shah’s speech, we get the sense that change really is in the air at USAID.  His key point was that we are in a unique window of opportunity for change over the next 12-18 months.  There is currently an unprecedented political opportunity for global development policy reform: we have a supportive President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Joint Chiefs of Staffs.  Congressional leaders also support reforming foreign aid.  And we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the Foreign Assistance Act, USAID, and the Peace Corps.

Dr. Shah emphasized that USAID is starting to do things differently.  Here are some of the changes planned for USAID:

The main challenge to reform that Dr. Shah identified is resistance from Congress, because during hard economic times anything having to do with foreign aid is a tough sell.

Dr. Shah also made some requests to InterAction member organizations:

All in all, an interesting speech and a recommended read.