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USAID Administrator Shares Vision For Agency Reform

During a speech at the National Press Club on Friday, USAID Administrator Rajiv spoke about ongoing efforts to reform the agency he oversees, noting the importance of improving development strategies targeting women, among other things, All Headline News reports (6/20).

Shah “said he would reform procurement practices at the USAID, improve budget accountability and create partnerships with private foundations,” VOA News reports. “Instead of merely disbursing aid, he said the agency would focus on whether it is having an impact” and facilitating what Shah calls “extreme transparency.”

According to the article, Shah noted the role USAID played in response to the needs of the people of Haiti following the January earthquake (Socolovsky, 6/18).

“[A] more efficient, results-oriented agency is needed now more than ever,” Shah said, according to a USAID press release. “We can meet these challenges through the President’s signature long-term development initiatives, which are designed to meet the Millennium Development Goals – our Feed the Future program and the Global Health Initiative,” Shah said.

“The world has changed in the last decade … and the development community – starting with our agency – must change as well,” Shah continued. “To get better results we have to become development entrepreneurs, and I believe our ambitious reform agenda will help us get there: [USAID must] work in a new spirit of partnership and accountability, as we are doing in our efforts to end hunger and save lives through global health; [we must] make science, technology and innovation a core part of our approach” (6/18).

“In his prepared remarks, Shah touted that USAID has rebuilt its policy-planning staff and is also in the process of making large-scale reforms to budgeting, innovation policies, procurement, and evaluation,” Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog writes. Shah also commended the role Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was playing in the reform development at the State Department and USAID during the speech, explaining to reporters that he saw Clinton “elevating development to make USAID a more significant, more important, and better resourced organization,” the blog writes.

According to Shah, the White House’s Presidential Study Directive on Global Development (PSD-7), scheduled to be released this summer, and the the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), scheduled to be released this fall, will both be made available to the public, the blog notes (Rogin, 6/18).