News Outlets Examine USAID Administrator Nomination

PBS’ Online NewsHour explores the recent nomination of Rajiv Shah as USAID administrator and the outlook for the agency. “While Shah still needs to be confirmed by the Senate, there has been high anticipation for a successor to be named. There is broad consensus in the government and aid community that the agency … is in need of realignment,” the NewsHour writes.  

Andrew Natsios, who led USAID between 2001 and 2006, said, “The more [US]AID is absorbed into the business system of State … the more it will look like a diplomatic institution, not a development institution.” The article also includes comments about USAID from Raymond Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America.

The NewsHour writes that “some of the questions swirling about USAID’s future independence and powers will likely be answered in the Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy due out later this year or the State Department’s Diplomacy and Development Review expected out next year” (Miller, 11/12).

Foreign Policy also examines the nomination and the state of USAID. The magazine writes, “Shah’s nomination has not just left questions about the man himself — but about the Obama administration’s position on USAID. Will Shah be a weak leader, auguring the diminution of its responsibilities? Or is he going to be a strong, efficient technocrat, re-establishing USAID’s policy heft and independent status?  Nobody is sure, but the nomination of an unknown to an undermined agency seems to augur the former.” The article concludes, “Shah’s nomination might raise more questions than it answers – but those questions increasingly point to a diminished USAID” (Lowrey, 11/12).

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