Three points for USAID

A boy receives a mark on his hand to show that he has been given polio vaccine. Photo by: USAID / CC BY

New vaccines against pneumonia and diarrhea are on their way to developing countries.

This was announced by U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah at the Council on Foreign Relation’s annual John B Hurford Memorial Lecture on Wednesday (March 7). Shah’s speech, titled “Transforming Foreign Aid,” centered on the agency’s global development priorities and form part of its 2012 reform agenda.

Shah said USAID will have to build the resilience of conflict nations, such as Sudan. He said instead of just responding to crises, USAID will have to focus on helping people persevere — including strengthening food security, another of USAID’s development priorities.

Shah said that if people care about fighting poverty, then people should care about boosting harvests. He said just a 1 percent gain in agricultural GDP can generate a  4 percent increase in the poor’s purchasing power — and thereby help address the growing rates of malnutrition in children around the world.

The USAID administrator mentioned yet again the importance of private sector engagement. He said U.S. assistance is not only from Americans, but also “for the American people.” He said increasing private sector activity in developing countries will enrich not only America’s partners, but also the U.S. economy through increased exports and new trade markets.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.