Annual Letter 2014



Before joining USAID, I never could have imagined the depth of passion that exists for our nation’s leadership in global development.


When I was sworn in, people often asked me if I was worried about the unpopularity of development. According to nearly every poll, Americans wanted to cut foreign aid. But over the last four years, I have seen how a new model of development that delivers meaningful results in a cost-effective way can inspire people from all walks of life.

I have seen this excitement on college campuses, where it feels like every student wants to do a science project or an internship in global development. I have seen it in boardrooms, where CEOs look for opportunities to invest in solutions that end poverty.

And I saw it this year at the National Prayer Breakfast, where a gathering of bipartisan leaders honored our work to fight hunger and disease. When we make our case effectively, people not only listen; they unite enthusiastically in support.

I believe this passion comes from an understanding that our nation is at its best, at its strongest, at its most secure, when we lead with our values.

Today, I am more certain than ever that if we continue to advance these values with cost-effective results, we can achieve one of the greatest moral aspirations ever imagined. We can answer President Obama’s historic call to end extreme poverty in the next two decades.

Because we are closer than you think.

1990: 1 in 3, 2000: 1 in 4, 2010: 1 in 5, 2020: 1 in 10, 2030: 1 in 30
Extreme Poverty as a Fraction of the Global Population
The World Bank

From 1990 to 2010, child mortality fell by half, the number of children in primary school grew to 90 percent, and around 2 billion people gained access to clean water. Since 1999, the total number of those living in extreme poverty has declined by nearly 50 million people every year, on average.

Projections of what we can achieve differ, but most experts agree that reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty from 1.2 billion to 200 million people— roughly 3 percent of the global population in 2030—is an ambitious but achievable target.

To reach it, however, we need a new model of development that reflects the exciting realities of our time. That is why, four years ago, I asked a bipartisan congressional coalition to support an evidence-based transformation of our foreign assistance. By insisting on policy reforms, harnessing innovation, and leveraging private capital, we have found new ways to focus our resources and maximize our impact. Real work remains applying these practices across the board, but I want to thank our teams and political champions for their extraordinary support to ensure that our nation pursues its humanitarian mission with effectiveness and confidence.

Taken together, our experiences over the last four years paint a picture of the road ahead for development that should push us even farther, faster.

Raj Shah signature

Rajiv Shah
USAID Administrator



A New Model At USAID

Corporate Priorities Funding Level
2006-2009 v. 2010-2013
Result Cost-Effectiveness and Leverage
Feed the Future +206% Helped 6.7M farmers grow more food and improved nutrition for 12.7M children in 2013. Cost-benefit analyses show an average rate of return of 32% for Feed the Future investments.
Child Survival +42% Helped achieve 8% reduction in under-5 mortality in our 24 priority countries in 2 years alone, saving 560,000 lives. Helping Babies Breathe Alliance leveraged $3 for every $1 we invested, raising an additional $23M for this lifesaving partnership.
AIDS-Free Generation +29% With PEPFAR, we provided antiretroviral treatment to 6.7M people with HIV/AIDS in 2013—a four-fold increase since 2008. The Global Fund raised $2 for every $1 pledged by the U.S. Government, leveraging billions for HIV/AIDS.
Power Africa +420% 2,500MW of power projects have financially closed; another 5,500MW are in the planning stages—together enough to light over 10M homes. For every $1 the U.S. Government has committed, the private sector has committed $2—over $14 billion so far.
Resilience +$451M Reduced disaster risk for 27M people and strengthened resilience for 3.4M in targeted zones in the Horn of Africa in 2013. Each $1 of investment in resilience yields $2.9 in development gains, avoided livestock losses, and unneeded aid.
Education +28% Expanded education opportunities for 19M students in 2013. All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development matched $1 for every $1 we invested.
Water +38% Provided 38M people with access to water and 17.7M with access to improved sanitation since 2006. Securing Water for Food: A Grand Challenge for Development leveraged roughly $2 for every $1 we invested.