Terms

United States Agency for International Development USAID

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

What is USAID?

USAID is an international development agency run by the United States government. It provides international development and humanitarian assistance to developing nations while promoting American interests, U.S. national security, and economic prosperity abroad. Established in 1961, USAID works in over 100 countries.

Key Takeaways

  • USAID is a U.S. government-run international development agency.
  • The agency works in over 100 developing nations and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
  • Its mission is to boost democratic values worldwide, help nations become self-reliant, and advance American interests abroad.
  • USAID works in sectors including food and agriculture, democracy and human rights, the economy, health, and humanitarian aid.
  • The agency assists partner nations through small-enterprise loans, technical assistance, disaster relief, and training.

Understanding USAID

USAID was developed in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to advance American interests abroad through development efforts and humanitarian aid. With the global economy still fragile after World War II, promoting growth in developing countries and helping them maintain independence and freedom was vital for the U.S.’s prosperity.

USAID works in over 100 developing countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and Eurasia. The agency is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with bureaus responsible for programs and activities in specific countries.

USAID’s mission remains the same today. It aims to boost democratic values worldwide, help nations become self-reliant, and address drivers of violence, instability, transnational crime, and other security threats.

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USAID works in sectors including:

  • Food and agriculture
  • Democracy and human rights
  • Economy and trade
  • Education
  • Environmental issues
  • Gender equality
  • Health
  • Humanitarian aid
  • Water and sanitation
  • Crises and conflict

Development assistance involves supporting recipient countries to become self-reliant. USAID provides small-enterprise loans, technical assistance, food and disaster relief, training, and scholarships to achieve these goals.

USAID is a taxpayer-funded agency and reports to the United States Congress on important matters. Reports are available on the agency’s website to maintain transparency to the general public.

Special Considerations

USAID’s budget is recommended by the American president each fiscal year. The request for the 2022 fiscal year was $58.5 billion, including $27.7 billion managed by the agency itself. The budget supports partners’ pursuit of self-reliance, economic growth, and the protection of U.S. interests abroad.

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