Progress Report: USAID


“From the American people,” is the USAID motto, which was highlighted in Rajiv Shah’s testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Appropriations on March 4th.

Sarah Jane Staats noticed that Shah’s testimony mirrored Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Center for Global Development back in January.

Specifically, it reiterated five principles: “partnerships, not patronage,” “coordination,” “targeted investments based on measurable results,” “innovation and technology,” and “focus on women and girls.”

When Shah was confirmed in January, Staats had advised that he would need an experienced staff, strong policy capacity, congressional support and budget authority. Alas, 12 key USAID leadership positions remain empty and the FY2011 budget is unsatisfactory. Despite these deficiencies, Staats commends Rajiv Shah—who, as a newbie, probably did not have much say in drafting the budget—for rallying congressional support and his commitment to policy capacity improvement. Two months and going strong!


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