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Archives for Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah

USAID at UNGA 2013: Day One

This year’s United Nations General Assembly focuses on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inclusive development goals for persons with disabilities. 

UNGA Day One: September 23, 2013

Highlight:

Yesterday afternoon, Administrator Shah sat down with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. During the live television interview, Dr. Shah discussed important role of businesses in development, the tragedy in Kenya, and the Agency’s ongoing mission to provide assistance amid a shrinking budget.

Announcements:

Recap of Events:

  • “Investing in Africa and Beyond” – To explore the state of impact investing as a complement to government funding, JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) hosted an evening program for 250 participants  on the first evening of UNGA from 5-7:30PM. The event provided an opportunity for investors to be catalytic in funding market-oriented solutions to meet social needs, and discuss how we can move the market forward via layered financing and new collaborations. The first panel, moderated by Economist reporter Matthew Bishop, featured Tony Blair and Administrator Shah. The panel addressed how to use innovative finance to address social needs in Africa. The second panel, featuring Bill Gates and Jamie Dimon, focused on breaking new ground on their new Global Health Investment Fund.

  • Social Good Summit:

    • Priya Jaisinghani spoke on a panel about mobile technology‘s role in financial inclusion, with Aldi Haryopratomo, the CEO of Ruma, Arjuna Costa of the Omidyar Network, and Casey Gheen of Lenddo. Priya spoke of the role that a lack of financial services may play in political and economic stability.
    • Later, Astronaut Ron Garan who is currently on detail to USAID, led a discussion on the need for global collaboration and coordination of data and information with Rob Baker, Presidential Innovation Fellow for Open Data, and Harbrinder Kang, Director of Business Development for Cisco. Ron spoke of seeing the world from the International Space Station and recognizing that we have the resources needed to solve global problems, but that we need to work together. Rob Baker discussed his experience with collaborative mapping in post-disaster situations, and spoke of the opportunity for Open Data.

Learn more about this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and its focus on the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and inclusive development goals for persons with disabilities.

Follow @USAID and @RajShah for ongoing updates during the week and join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtags #UNGA and #UNGA2013.

USAID in the News

WPRO630 99.7FM in Rhode Island covered USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah tour of the Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions, a Providence non-profit maker of fortified, high energy dense peanut pastes that the agency distributes as ready to use therapeutic food and supplementary food for distribution to countries such as Chad, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan and Syria.

Pallets of USAID-supplied food, water and supplies. Photo credit: USAID

Pallets of USAID-supplied food, water and supplies. Photo credit: USAID

Barrington Patch reported Navyn Salem, executive director of Edesia, led a tour of the small factory for USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. The delegation donned white smocks and hair nets to get a first-hand look at a major supplier of fortified peanut-based, ready-to-use food products.  USAID, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and other agencies that address emergencies, conflict zones, and disadvantaged communities overseas buy the ready-to-use foods (RTUF). Shah was especially pleased with USIAD’s partnership with Edesia. These are “newly created, scientifically advanced food products that are designed to save the lives of some of the least fortunate people in the world,” Shah said. “From this facility, you reach 1.6 million kids in 35 countries.” Providence Journal cited Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions annually produce 6,000 metric tons of nutritional food supplements that are shipped around the world tAfro locations where war, famine or natural disaster have imperiled children’s lives. Its factory in Providence , now employs nearly 50 people, including former refugees from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burundi and Burma. Using mostly U.S.-sourced ingredients, Edesia makes and ships enough nutrition packets to aid about 600,000 children annually.

Fibre2Fashion, an online textile and fashion website reported that the Global demand for fashion, diversification of sourcing and manufacturing locations around the world, along with the growing African middle class has stimulated demand for stylish, African-made apparel. USAID Africa Trade Hubs build momentum by supporting efforts, such as the Origin Africa Designer Showcase, to promote Africa as a reliable sourcing destination and to help African business take advantage of trade opportunities available under AGOA.

Christian Science Monitor noted that Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) will team up with USAID to create an easy-to-use database of Congolese community-based organizations. “Through the database and the landscape analysis, USAID and ECI have laid the groundwork for augmenting foreign assistance in Eastern Congo,” said USAID’s Global Partnerships Division Director Christopher Jurgens. “Serving as a model of strategic investment in the region, the partnership’s assessment will shape future engagement and elevate awareness and commitment to the region within international development and donor communities.”

The Hill reports that “in a letter sent Tuesday to national security adviser Susan Rice,” a group of 22 lawmakers called for a “more efficient system” to help the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons within Syria. Ahead of the impending strikes, the House Democrats want “Rice to work with the State Department and USAID to establish training, capacity building, and aid delivery partnerships with Syrian relief organizations in order to expand their operations.’”

starbucks-coffee-logoCNN continues to cover plans to establish Starbucks franchises throughout Columbia, and intends to work with two firms with “experience in the region: Latin American restaurant operator Alsea and food company Grupo Nutresa.” The Seattle-based giant is also “teaming up with the US Agency for International Development,” a private-public partnership that “includes a three-year, $1.5 million commitment from each to support the Starbucks Farmer Support Center.”

The AP reports that on Monday, Starbucks announced plans “to open its first cafe in Colombia.” In addition, the company “announced a $3 million partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development to help Colombian farmers boost coffee yields and economic stability.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the USAID partnership will help to provide technical and agronomy support to farmers in Colombia. Bloomberg Business Week reports that “Starbucks and USAID are each investing $1.5 million during the next three years for research to help small-plot coffee farmers in Colombia.” The piece notes that “USAID has initiated other projects to help areas in Colombia affected by internal conflict, drug trafficking and violence.” Reuters quotes USAID chief Raj Shah, who said that the focus of the initiative is to reduce “extreme poverty, which is still a reality for almost all of these small-scale coffee growers that have barely one hectare (2.5 acres) of land.”

AllGov.com profiled Nisha Desai Biswal, the newly-nominated next assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Affairs. The piece notes that Biswal, “assistant administrator for Asia at the U.S. Agency for International Development,” “will be the first person of South Asian origin to head the bureau.”

Washington Blade highlighted thirty activists from across Colombia are attending a four-day training in the city of Cartagena designed to encourage LGBT people to become more involved in the country’s political process.  The training is the second to take place in the South American country as part of the USAID-backed LGBT Global Development Partnership that will contribute $11 million over the next four years to advocacy groups in Ecuador and other developing countries.

Keeping our Promise on Aid Transparency

I am proud to announce a significant step forward in our efforts to deliver development results more transparently and effectively than ever before. For the first time ever, you can visit the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and check out how our partners have spent our dollars.

Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator at USAID

Today’s unprecedented release of new financial data  includes over 30 database fields and nearly 53,000 records—all from the first three quarters of fiscal year 2013. Never before has our Agency published spending data so comprehensively and so soon after the close of the quarter.

This release is just the latest in a series of important changes we have made to advance President Obama’s unparalleled commitment to transparency and our own USAID Forward reform agenda. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has created foreignassistance.gov, signed onto the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and joined the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), which showcases our data in an open, timely, and internationally compatible format. The data that we are adding today will be converted to this format and reported to the IATI registry, helping the U.S. government meet the commitments that we made at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in November 2011.

Our commitment to transparencyhas not only helped strengthen accountability and improve communication; it has also had a direct impact on the way we work every day. A few months ago, we opened up some of the data behind our Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which monitors factors like rainfall, market prices, and incomes around the world. Within weeks of making that information public, small businesses in Kenya were using the data in a new way—empowering farmers in remote villages with the information they need to negotiate better prices for their crops.

With today’s unprecedented release of new financial data on the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, you can see timely information about what, where, how and with whom we spend our development dollars.

Most importantly, we want our data to be easy to understand, use, and share.  In May, President Obama signed an Executive Order making government information

open and machine readable as the new default. In support of this vision, we have created apps for the iPhone and iPad so you can explore our high-quality project evaluations, Demographic Health Surveys results for more than 80 countries, and a USAID map of our programs around the world.  In fact, I recently had the opportunity to show these apps to President Obama while we were traveling in Africa, and he was excited about the even greater potential we have to open our wealth of data to millions of entrepreneurs, innovators, and students around the world.

I encourage you to explore the data, download our apps, and think creatively about ways you can help us harness the power of information to end extreme poverty around the world.

“Come Back at Night and You Will Understand”

Rajiv Shah serves as Administrator at USAID

This plain-spoken answer—from a father who lived in a village without access to electricity—came in response to the question: What is life like without electrical power?

For most of the world, electricity allows business to flourish, students to study, and clinics to run long after the sun goes down. But for 600 million Africans, these opportunities simply don’t exist.

As a result, a sick child in Nigeria is unable to take antibiotics because the medication has to be refrigerated. A farmer in northern Ghana purchases a cell phone to connect himself with the world, but every other day he has to walk to the nearest electrified village and pay to charge the phone—a waste of time and money.

These difficulties are repeated on a large scale across the continent. Nearly half of all businesses try to cope with frequent power outages by using expensive stand-alone diesel generators that also pollute the environment. These stop-gap measures are no basis on which to build a modern economy.

In order to shape a brighter future, we cannot rely on donors alone. African countries must have transparent, accountable, and streamlined systems that attract private investors and developers. To help shape this environment, the United States, together with African governments and the international business community, is kicking off an initiative to bring more reliable, clean power to Africa. Announced by President Obama in Cape Town, Power Africa will create the conditions needed for long-term investments in energy infrastructure – generators, transmission lines and distribution systems. In ten years, we’ll bring 10,000 megawatts on line – and bring power to millions of African homes and businesses.

At its core, Power Africa represents a new model for development that is beginning to define the way we work around the world. Like the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition and the Call to Action in Child Survival, Power Africa harnesses public-private partnerships and demands greater accountability from our partners to deliver incredible results.

On his trip to Africa, the President recognized the profound potential of this new model. “[Power Africa] is representative of my new approach when it comes to development,” President Obama explained in Tanzania. “I believe the purpose of development should be to build capacity and to help other countries actually stand on their own feet… Instead of perpetual aid, development has to fuel investment and economic growth so that assistance is no longer necessary.”

Through Power Africa, we will help create incentives and reduce risk for American investors in Africa, while working with African governments to modernize inefficient old networks and establish fair and transparent partnerships with the private sector. We will also be working with businesses themselves – American, African, and others. Investment specialists will analyze barriers to investment and then work with all parties to remove those roadblocks.

Once the first Power Africa projects succeed in bringing electrical power to African communities, the impact of those examples will encourage other ventures to follow in their footsteps. Electricity provides the countless opportunities and freedoms that define development.  It will take a great deal of commitment and patience to solve this problem, but today we know it can be solved.

Resource:

Follow @USAIDAfrica on Twitter to learn about our global development work in the continent!

Video of the Week: LiveatState on USAID in Africa

Last week at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., Administrator Shah participated in a LiveAtState virtual press conference where we talked about his trip to Africa with President Obama and several key initiatives that were the focus of the trip, including Power Africa, the Young African Leaders Initiative, Feed the Future, and the New Alliance for Food Security. A text transcript is available.

USAID is proud of the new and innovative ways we work with the continent to build a peaceful and prosperous future. Sub-Saharan Africa is making steady progress toward ending extreme poverty, fueled by robust economic growth, better governance, and service delivery in many countries.

These gains have been supported by the U.S. Government’s investments in improved agriculture, health care and democratic institutions, and our increased focus on women and a new generation of African thinkers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, each of which are delivering transformational results. In concert with partners throughout Africa, we are working toward ending extreme poverty and providing millions with a foothold in the global economy-and helping to realize the promise of the world’s most youthful region.

Join the conversation on Twitter and learn more about USAID’s work in Africa using hashtag #USAIDAfrica.

Photo of the Week: POTUS and Administrator Shah at Agriculture Technology Marketplace in Senegal

 

During his trip to Africa, President Barack Obama, along with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, highlighted the Government of Senegal’s commitment to ensuring prosperity and trade through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. President Obama joined Administrator Shah to tour the Feed the Future Agricultural Technology Marketplace, a gathering of several West African private sector entities, NGO partners, and farmers demonstrating how key research and innovation can help improve the lives of smallholder farmers. Each booth at the marketplace highlighted how agricultural research and innovation helps West African farmers to increase incomes and nutrition for their families. Photo is from Pete Souza/White House.

Resources:

Follow @usaid and @usaidafrica on Twitter and learn about our global development work using #USAIDAfrica!

Video of the Week: President Obama Speaks on Food Security

During his trip to Africa, President Obama delivered remarks on the importance of confronting an urgent challenge that affects nearly 900 million people around the world — chronic hunger and the need for long-term food security. During his visit to Senegal, the President toured the Feed the Future Agricultural Technology Marketplace, a gathering of several West African private sector entities, NGO partners and farmers who demonstrated how key research and innovation can help improve the lives of smallholder farmers and their families. At the event, and along with Administrator Shah, President Obama highlighted the Government of Senegal’s commitment to ensuring prosperity and trade through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The President also announced the release of the Feed the Future 2013 Progress Report, which outlines progress made through the initiative in fiscal year 2012. Read more about the marketplace event.

Follow @USAID, @USAIDAfrica and @rajshah for updates about the President’s trip and #USAIDAfrica about our work in Africa!

Learn more about Feed the Future

Food Security Takes Center Stage during President’s Last Day in Senegal

This originally appeared on the Feed the Future Blog

It’s not every day that the president of the United States travels to Senegal.

It’s also not every day that he announces more than $180 million in agriculture investments in the West Africa region to improve food security.

President Obama delivers remarks during a visit to the Feed the Future Agricultural Technologies Marketplace in Senegal. Photo credit: Kate Gage, USAID

Today, during his first stop on his Africa trip, President Barack Obama, along with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, highlighted the Government of Senegal’s commitment to ensuring prosperity and trade through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Senegal announced its intention to join the New Alliance earlier this month.

  • The Government of Senegal announced that, in partnership with the Government of Canada, it will commit to three key policy reforms to help build an environment more conducive to investment in the agriculture sector.
  • Ten private sector companies—nine of them Senegalese enterprises—have signed letters of intent to invest over $134.4 million in the agriculture sector. These investments will help provide new market opportunities for smallholder farmers through activities including maize, peanut and rice production and processing; fertilizer; organic soy and peanut seed production; and processing for cashews, dairy, millet and tomato.

At the same time, President Obama also announced that the United States has delivered on a major New Alliance commitment made at the 2012 G8 Summit at Camp David. USAID and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have launched the Scaling Seeds & Technologies Partnership, a multilateral effort that will coordinate diverse country-led, donor-financed and private-sector efforts to promote technology-driven agricultural productivity growth. The $47 million grant will work to increase production of high-quality seeds by 45 percent over three years (for 97,758 metric tons of additional seed) and ensure that 40 percent more farmers gain access to innovative agricultural technologies.

Closing out his time in Senegal, President Obama joined Administrator Shah to tour the Feed the Future Agricultural Technology Marketplace, a gathering of several West African private sector entities, NGO partners, and farmers demonstrating how key research and innovation can help improve the lives of smallholder farmers.

At the marketplace, President Obama announced the release of the Feed the Future 2013 Progress Report, which outlines progress made through the initiative in fiscal year 2012.

These investments in agriculture embody our new approach to development, which emphasizes:

  • Country-led reforms that foster a positive environment for private investment
  • Partnership with the private sector as an engine of growth and development
  • Innovations in science and technology to bend the curve of development
  • Local capacity building to ensure sustainable, long-term progress

See the White House fact sheet on global food security and nutrition for more information.

Additional Resources

Photo of the Week: U.S. & India Announce Innovation, Science, and Technology Awards

 

Yesterday, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah announced the Millennium Alliance (MA) winners in India. MA is a partnership between USAID, FICCI, and India’s Technology Development Board, Department of Science and Technology to support new innovations that strengthen early grade reading as well as increase access to clean and affordable energy, safe drinking water, quality health care, and a nutritious food supply to those most in need. Out of over 1,400 applications in the first round, nine awardees were announced on June 24 in New Delhi, India.

In this photo is one of the winners receiving the award certificate from Honorable Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Mr. S. Jaipal Reddy and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah. Photo is from U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India.

USAID in the News

Betsy Engebretson published a piece on Georgetown’s Public Policy Reviewblog about the USAID’s new Water and Development Strategy and how it can strengthen global water, sanitation, and hygiene efforts.

Children in Sindh, Pakistan, play at a water pump. Photo credit: Georgetown Public Policy Review

The Huffington Post published a blog on Father’s Day with Administrator Shah and Tony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Child Survival Call to Action. Nicole Schiegg also published a blog in the Huffington Post on child survival.

Ronald Brownstein published an article in the National Journal about USAID’s new orientation that is making a bigger difference with less money. Administrator Raj Shah is quoted saying, “We have tried to put in place a new model as so many more actors have gotten involved.  There’s a new constellation of engagement on these issues that make possible great outcomes.”

USAID/Montenegro premiered a video documentary series during the mission’s closeout event on June 12. The event brought together 250 partners and government officials plus the U.S. Ambassador to celebrate the conclusion of 12 years of USAID assistance in governance, economic growth and support for people with disabilities.

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