President Obama has nominated senior White House official Gayle Smith as the next administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Smith, who has a background in international development and is considered an expert in African affairs, faces Senate confirmation. A former Clinton staffer, Smith would succeed Dr. Rajiv Shah if selected.

As USAID administrator, Smith would be responsible for leading the government’s response to humanitarian disasters, such as the earthquake in Nepal. She would also be charged with managing USAID’s $20 billion budget.

Helene Cooper (@helenecooper) writes for the New York Times:

Ms. Smith should be able to match Dr. Shah’s success, said Liz Schrayer, president of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, a group of businesses and nonprofits that supports development, in part because she has backed the same initiatives.

“Gayle supports prioritizing economic growth and making sure countries have skin in the game and are committed to real reform,” Ms. Schrayer said. “That’s where I think Republicans who have been supportive of Raj will be supportive of Gayle.”


USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable “resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.” It operates a wide-ranging agriculture and food security program that includes Feed the Future.



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