Rajiv Shah, director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), will relinquish his post early in 2015.

President Barack Obama commented on Shah’s announcement, saying:

“For the past five years, Raj Shah has been at the center of my administration’s efforts to advance our global development agenda… [Shah] embodied America’s finest values by proactively advancing our development priorities, including ending global poverty, championing food security, promoting health and nutrition, expanding access to energy sources, and supporting political and economic reform in closed societies.”

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports on Shah’s announcement here.

Shah oversaw USAID’s “Feed the Future Initiative”, which is tackling global hunger and poverty by supporting work in partner countries to develop their agricultural sectors to spur economic growth.

USAID s the lead U.S. government agency working to fight poverty and promote democracy around the world. The agency engages in a variety of humanitarian efforts, including the fight on Ebola. During Shah’s tenure, the agency came under scrutiny for secret dealings with Cuba. Shah’s announcement of his departure coincides with breaking news that the U.S. government is seeking to normalize relations with Cuba. You can learn more about the work of USAID and read Shah’s announcement here.