Rajiv Shah's career plans after USAID

    U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah. His current role as head of the aid agency might be his last position in public service, Shah said in answer to a question about his career plans. Photo by: USAID / CC BY-NC

    What comes next for Rajiv Shah?

    Many who have followed the career of the young head of the U.S. Agency for International Development have been itching to ask the question — and Asif Shaikh, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, finally did so at the 2013 CIDC Conference on Wednesday.

    Shaikh put the question in no uncertain terms, and even narrowed down Shah’s options for him.

    “While very senior in your function, you are young brilliant and accomplished, respected on both sides of the aisle. So, let’s say that after USAID you were faced with only three options: Senate, cabinet, ambassadorship. Which one would you take?”

    As expected, Shah — about whom retirement, reappointment, and even campaign rumors have circulated for months as he moves into the fifth year of his administration — mostly dodged the question. But he did suggest his current role at USAID might be his last position in public service, at least for a while.

    “No one really believes me. I am honored to serve in this role. I love coming in every day. Every day I meet someone new … who just blows my socks off. And I’m just really proud of this field,” said the USAID chief. “I really don’t want a different job in this administration, and my wife really doesn’t want me to have a different job in public service. So this is probably it.”

    Shah added: “But we all have the benefit of working with people who are mission driven. That’s a very, very special thing.”

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    About the author

    • Michael Igoe

      Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.