Washington, DC – Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, offered the following statement regarding today’s nomination of Dr. Rajiv Shah to be Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID):
“Oxfam America welcomes the Obama administration’s announcement of Dr. Rajiv Shah as USAID Administrator. With solid experience in international agriculture and health, Shah is well positioned to lead this crucial US agency.
“We look forward to working with Shah and USAID to reinvigorate and restore the agency’s capacity to lead US development efforts around the world. Oxfam America believes that a commitment to modernizing US government development assistance can have a lasting impact on global poverty and that, over time, smart development will enhance US moral standing and national interests and ultimately build a safer world for all.
“Shah assumes responsibility over USAID at a crucial moment in history. For many years, USAID has been under-resourced and politically marginalized. But today’s international challenges – from the financial crisis to climate change -- make it more important than ever to rebuild USAID from a compliance agency for NGOs and contractors to what it once was: the world's most prestigious development agency.
“Shah’s challenges are great. He must work within a legal framework that is almost half a century old. US development efforts have become diffuse and USAID’s development objectives unclear, with the Pentagon and more than 20 other federal agencies increasingly engaged in development activities. There is a need to reassert the leadership role of USAID in managing US overseas development assistance, and strengthen its ability to deliver concrete results that will enhance USAID’s standing and credibility. Most importantly, there is a need for a national global development strategy to guide the US government's efforts to fight global poverty.
“But there’s also growing momentum for a new era in US foreign aid, with a number of processes already underway that will reshape US global development policy. Additionally, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to initiate foreign aid reform, as well as strengthen and elevate USAID.”
“Oxfam America is eager to work with Shah as he contributes to this effort to make US development programs more effective.”