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Dr. Rajiv Shah reportedly to be named head of the US Agency for International Development

DR. RAJIV SHAH

DR. RAJIV SHAH

Foreign Policy’s The Cable is reporting this afternoon:

Senate Foreign Relations chairman John Kerry promised swift proceedings for Rajiv Shah, President Obama’s impending nominee for administration of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

In an interview with The Cable, Kerry said he has been notified that the White House has chosen Shah, the USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist, to head up USAID and will announce later today. Two administration officials also confirmed that the Shah announcement will come today.

“It’s terrific, we’ll move forward as soon as we can, I hope weeks,” Kerry said. He said he wasn’t aware of any objections on the Republican side. Kerry will meet with Shah in the coming days, he said.

When asked if personally supported Shah, Kerry said, “Basically, in principle, unless I come across something that says otherwise.”

Shah, 36, previously helped launch the Global Development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Development groups were quick to praise the selection but also to call for increased powers for the USAID administrator role, which is now under review.

Congress should confirm Dr. Shah quickly,” said Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann and George Ingram in a statement,¬†”We are hopeful that his unique combination of knowledge about global health, agriculture, and other issues will allow him to provide a strong and indispensable development voice as major decisions are made about U.S. foreign policy.”

They called for Shah to receive a seat at the National Security Council, a lead role in the State Department’s Quadrennial Defense and Diplomacy Review, and they also implored the administration to return independent budget authority to USAID.

Finally a nominee! Let’s hope the confirmation process proceeds quickly.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.