As a younger man, Dr Raj Shah had boarded a flight from the US to India for a 24-hour visit. The sole purpose of the visit was to propose to his future wife at the Taj Mahal. He matched that athleticism when he scaled the 14,400-foot Mt Ranier, considered by seasoned mountaineers to be one of the most difficult climbs in the US. The peak combines the challenges of a treacherous glacier with the unpredictability of an active volcano. Yet these accomplishments pale in comparison with the task Dr Shah faces at the helm of the US Agency for International Development, a key component in a larger effort by President Barack Obama's administration to repair America's image overseas.
Despite the many challenges facing the continent, “Africa is not … defined by poverty, misery and violence,” said Félix Tshisekedi, the chairperson of the African Union (AU). “Our continent is also defined by opportunities.”