"Rajiv brings fresh ideas and the dedication and impressive background necessary to help guide USAID as it works to achieve this important goal," President Obama said while announcing Shah's nomination.
"The mission of USAID is to advance America's interests by strengthening our relationships abroad," Obama said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "By nominating Raj to lead the USAID, Obama has reaffirmed that development must be a core pillar of American foreign policy."
"If confirmed, Raj will bring an impressive record of accomplishment and a deep understanding of what works in development to his role as USAID Administrator," she said.
Shah, a medical doctor, currently serves as chief scientist for the US Department of Agriculture and previously worked as director for agricultural development at the foundation headed by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife.
36-year-old Shah is a co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans. In addition, he has served as a policy aide in the British Parliament and worked at the World Health Organization.
Dr Shah earned his MD from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and his Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business.