The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States Government agency which is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid.
President John F. Kennedy created USAID from its predecessor agencies in 1961 by executive order. USAID's programs are authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act, which the Congress supplements through directions in annual funding appropriation acts and other legislation. Although it is technically an independent agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.
USAID operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.
In an interconnected world, instability anywhere around the world can impact us here at home. Working side-by-side with the military in active conflicts, USAID plays a critical role in our nation’s effort to stabilize countries and build responsive local governance; we work on the same problems as our military using a different set of tools. We also ease the transition between conflict and long-term development by investing in agriculture, health systems and democratic institutions. And while USAID can work in active conflict, or help countries transition from violence, the most important thing we can do is prevent conflict in the first place. This is smarter, safer and less costly than sending in soldiers.
USAID extends help from the American people to achieve results for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world. That assistance does not represent a Democratic value or a Republican value, but an American value; as beneficiaries of peace and prosperity, Americans have a responsibility to assist those less fortunate so we see the day when our assistance is no longer necessary.
USAID invests in ideas that work to improve the lives of millions of men, women and children by:
- Investing in agricultural productivity so countries can feed their people
- Combating maternal and child mortality and deadly diseases like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis
- Providing life-saving assistance in the wake of disaster
- Promoting democracy, human rights and good governance around the world
- Fostering private sector development and sustainable economic growth
- Helping communities adapt to a changing environment
- Elevating the role of women and girls throughout all our work