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Rajiv Shah Discusses Diversifying USAID Partners In Scientific American Interview

In an interview with Scientific American, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah discusses modernizing and diversifying foreign assistance. He says his agency has “moved more than $730 million to more than 1,200 small-scale, diversified, local partners,” including small businesses and small non-governmental organizations (NGOs). “We have the same high standards of accountability for everybody, but we have dramatically diversified our partner base through this effort we call USAID Forward,” Shah says, adding, “We do it because we think more competition reduces cost and improves outcomes. And because at the end of the day, our goal is to exit these settings and have strong, capable local institutions take our place.” Asked about other countries’ concerns over genetically modified organisms in U.S. food aid, Shah says, “Our commitment is to ending hunger through business, science and partnership. … But it will always be the country’s decision as to how to regulate and make decisions about the use of different kinds of technology” (Maron, October 2013).