United States Agency for International Development
|United States Agency for International Development|
|Formed||November 3, 1961|
|Preceding Agency||International Cooperation Administration|
|Headquarters||Ronald Reagan Building
|Agency executives||Rajiv Shah, Administrator
Donald Steinberg, Deputy Administrator
Sean Carroll, Chief Operating Officer
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. USAID seeks to "extend a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recover from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country." USAID's stated goals include providing "economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States". It operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.
President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act. The Congress updates this authorization through annual funds appropriation acts, and other legislation. Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.
USAID's goals 
USAID's decentralized network of resident field missions makes the Agency an effective manager of USG programs in low-income countries. These programs serve a range of purposes.
- Disaster relief
- Poverty relief
- Technical cooperation on global issues, including the environment
- U.S. bilateral interests
- Socioeconomic development
Disaster relief 
Some of the U.S. Government's earliest foreign aid programs provided relief in crises created by war. In 1915, USG assistance through the Commission for Relief of Belgium headed by Herbert Hoover prevented starvation in Belgium after the German invasion. After 1945, the European Recovery Program championed by Secretary of State George Marshall (the "Marshall Plan") helped rebuild war-torn Western Europe. In our era, USAID leads USG relief efforts after wars and natural disasters through its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Privately funded U.S. NGOs and the U.S. military also play major roles in disaster relief overseas.
Poverty relief 
After 1945, many newly independent countries needed assistance to relieve the chronic deprivation afflicting their low-income populations. USAID and its predecessor agencies have continuously provided poverty relief in many forms, including assistance to public health and education services targeted at the poorest. USAID has also helped manage agricultural commodity assistance provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, USAID provides funding to NGOs to supplement private donations in relieving chronic poverty.
Technical cooperation on global issues 
Technical cooperation between nations is essential for addressing a range of cross-border interests like communicable diseases, environmental issues, trade and investment cooperation, safety standards for traded products, money laundering, and so forth. The USG has specialized agencies dealing with such areas, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Protection Agency. USAID's special ability to administer programs in low-income countries supports all USG civilian agencies' work on these vital global concerns.
Among these global interests, environmental issues attract high attention. Since 1991 USAID has been providing environment assistance to 45 countries. U.S. environmental regulation laws require that programs sponsored by USAID should be both economically and environmentally sustainable. USAID focuses on ensuring the protection of world resources that are currently most threatened and threatening for future generations. These resources include land and water and forests. USAID also focuses on managing and preparing people for the risks associated with global climate change.
USAID uses capacity building to address climate change in developing countries. Capacity building involves raising awareness about the impending threats caused by climate change. It also involves education, outreach and technical skills training as well as workshops that teach about clean energy, and sustainable agriculture.
USAID uses a capacity building technique because they have found that directly involved peoples carry out the most successful environmental campaigns. The direct involvement of trained stakeholders; means that projects will be continued even after USAID’s direct representatives have left.
U.S. bilateral interests 
To support U.S. geopolitical interests, USAID is often called upon to administer exceptional financial grants to allies. Also, when U.S. troops are in the field, USAID can supplement the "Civil Affairs" programs that the U.S. military conducts to win the friendship of local populations and thus to undermine insurgent support. In these circumstances, USAID may be directed by specially appointed diplomatic officials of the State Department, as in Afghanistan and Pakistan during operations against al-Qaeda. USAID can also be called upon to support projects of U.S. constituents that have exceptional interest.
Socioeconomic development 
To help low-income nations achieve self-sustaining socioeconomic development, USAID assists them in improving management of their own resources. USAID's assistance for socioeconomic development centers on providing technical advice, training, scholarships, commodities, and financial assistance. Through grants and contracts, USAID mobilizes the technical resources of the private sector, other USG agencies, universities, and NGOs to participate in this assistance.
Programs of the various types above frequently reinforce one another. For example, the Foreign Assistance Act requires USAID to use funds appropriated for geopolitical purposes ("Economic Support Funds") to support socioeconomic development to the maximum extent possible.
Modes of assistance 
Although USAID formerly provided loans, all USAID's assistance is now provided on a nonreimbursable basis ("grants"). USAID delivers assistance in two fundamentally different ways: technical assistance and financial assistance.
Technical assistance 
Technical assistance includes technical advice, training, scholarships, construction, and commodities, which are contracted or procured by USAID and provided in-kind to recipients.
- Technical advice can draw on experts from other USG agencies as well as experts from the private sector under contract.
- Scholarships to U.S. universities are complemented by technical assistance to developing country universities, including establishing partnerships with U.S. universities, to strengthen professional training overseas.
- Commodity assistance takes diverse forms: for example, it is essential to disaster relief and it also is highly sought after for institutional development in the form of IT systems development and computer procurement.
The various forms of technical assistance are frequently coordinated as "capacity building" packages to support the institutional development programs of developing country leaders.
Financial assistance 
Financial assistance supplies cash to developing country organizations to supplement their budgets. USAID also provides financial assistance to local and international NGOs who in turn give technical assistance in developing countries.
In recent years, the USG has increased its emphasis on financial assistance in place of technical assistance. In 2004, the Bush Administration created the Millennium Challenge Corporation as a new foreign aid agency that is mainly restricted to providing financial assistance. In 2009, the Obama Administration initiated a major realignment of USAID's own programs to emphasize financial assistance, referring to it as "government-to-government" or "G2G" assistance.
USAID's internal organization 
USAID is organized around country development programs managed by resident USAID offices in developing countries ("USAID missions"), supported by USAID's global headquarters in Washington, DC.
Country development programs 
USAID plans its work in each country around an individual country development program managed by a resident USAID mission. Missions work in over fifty countries, consulting with each country's government and non-governmental organizations to identify the programs that will receive USAID's assistance. As part of this process, USAID missions conduct socioeconomic analysis, design projects, award contracts and grants, administer projects (including evaluation and reporting), and manage flows of funds.
As countries develop and need less assistance, USAID shrinks and ultimately closes its resident missions. Since USAID's founding in 1961, it has closed its missions in a number of countries that had achieved a substantial level of prosperity, including South Korea, Turkey, Tunisia, and Costa Rica.
(Also, USAID closes missions when requested by host countries for political reasons. Recent closures have occurred in Russia and Bolivia. In September 2012, the U.S. closed USAID/Russia at the Kremlin's request. USAID's mission in Moscow had been in operation for two decades. On May 1, 2013, the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, asked USAID to close its mission, which had worked in the country for 49 years.)
USAID missions are led by Mission Directors and are staffed both by USAID Foreign Service Officers and by development professionals from the country itself, with the host-country professionals forming the majority of the staff. The length of a Foreign Service Officer's "tour" in most countries is four years, to provide enough time to develop in-depth knowledge about the country. (Shorter tours of one or two years are permitted in countries of exceptional hardship or danger.)
The Mission Director is a member of the U.S. Embassy's "Country Team" under the direction of the U.S. Ambassador. As USAID missions work in an unclassified environment with relative frequent public interaction, in many instances they have been located in independent offices in the business districts of capital cities. Since the passage of the foreign affairs consolidation law in 1998 and the bombings of U.S. Embassies in east Africa in the same year, USAID missions have gradually been moved into compounds alongside U.S. Embassy chancery buildings.
USAID's country programs are supported by USAID's headquarters in Washington, D.C., "USAID/Washington," where about half of USAID's Foreign Service Officers work on rotation from foreign assignments, alongside USAID's Civil Service staff and top leadership. USAID is headed by an Administrator appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The current USAID Administrator is Rajiv Shah, appointed by President Barack Obama.
USAID/Washington helps define overall USG civilian foreign assistance policy and budgets, working with the State Department, the Congress, and other federal government agencies. It is organized into "Bureaus" covering geographical areas, development subject areas, and administrative functions. Each Bureau is headed by an Assistant Administrator appointed by the President.
- Geographical bureaus:
- AFR—Sub-Saharan Africa
- LAC—Latin America & the Caribbean
- E&E—Europe and Eurasia
- ME—the Middle East
- OAPA—Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Functional bureaus:
- GH—Global Health
- E3—Economic Growth, Education, and the Environment
- DCHA—Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance
- BFS—Food Security
- Headquarter bureaus:
- LPA—Legislative and Public Affairs
- PPL—Policy, Planning, and Learning. 
Independent oversight of USAID activities is provided by its Office of Inspector General. USAID OIG conducts criminal and civil investigations, financial and performance audits, reviews, and inspections of USAID activities around the world.
USAID staffing 
USAID's global "direct-hire" staff—those with career contracts—includes Civil Service staff in Washington as well as U.S. Foreign Service Officers. The size of this staff was about 3,900 in 2012. An additional 400 U.S. staff work under contracts for shorter periods, typically two to three years. (By comparison, the State Department's U.S. workforce currently numbers about 19,000.)
USAID's host-country staff, who normally receive one-year contracts that are renewed annually, comprised fifty-seven percent of the Agency's global workforce in 2009.
USAID Foreign Service Officers are selected competitively for specific job openings on the basis of academic qualifications and experience in development programs. In 2008, USAID launched the "Development Leadership Initiative" to reverse the decline in USAID's Foreign Service Officer staffing, which had fallen to fewer than 1,000 worldwide. USAID's goal was to double the number of Foreign Service Officers by 2012. USAID currently has about 1,700 Foreign Service Officers (compared to 13,000 in the State Department).
Inside a USAID field Mission 
While USAID can have as little presence in a country as a single person assigned to the U.S. Embassy, a full USAID mission in a larger low-income country might have twenty or more USAID Foreign Service Officers and a hundred or more professional and administrative employees from the country itself. This staff is usually based in the Mission's central office in the country's capital city.
(To put the USAID Mission into context, consider that the NGOs and firms that deliver the technical assistance financed by the USAID Mission may have many hundreds of staff, almost entirely recruited from the country itself and located not in the Mission's office but rather with or near the recipients of the assistance. The recipients of this assistance, who are carrying out development projects, are the country's own communities, firms, NGOs, and government agencies, whose total staff implementing USAID-assisted projects may number in the tens of thousands. Beneficiaries of these projects may total in the millions. For example, millions of school children may benefit from a national school system's reading project, where the school system is drawing on expert advice from a specialized education consulting firm contracted by the USAID Mission.)
The USAID Mission's staff is divided into specialized offices in three groups: assistance management offices; the Mission Director's and the Program office; and the contracting, financial management, and facilities offices.
Assistance management offices 
Called "technical" offices by USAID staff, the offices design and manage the technical and financial assistance that USAID provides to projects in the country. The technical offices that are frequently found in USAID Missions include Health and Family Planning, Education, Environment, Democracy, and Economic Growth.
Health and Family Planning
Examples of projects assisted by Health and Family Planning offices are projects for eradication of communicable diseases, strengthening of public health systems focusing on maternal-child health including family planning services, HIV-AIDS monitoring, delivery of medical supplies including contraceptives and HIV vaccines, and coordination of Demographic and Health Surveys. This assistance is primarily targeted to the poor majority of the population and corresponds to USAID's poverty relief objective, as well as strengthening the basis for socioeconomic development.
USAID's Education offices mainly assist the national school system, emphasizing broadening coverage of quality basic education to reach the entire population. Examples of projects often assisted by Education offices are projects for curriculum development, teacher training, and provision of improved textbooks and materials. Larger programs have included school construction. Education offices often manage scholarship programs for training in the U.S., while assistance to the country's universities and professional education institutions may be provided by Economic Growth and Health offices. The Education office's emphasis on school access for the poor majority of the population corresponds to USAID's poverty relief objective, as well as to the socioeconomic development objective in the long term.
Examples of projects assisted by Environment offices are projects for tropical forest conservation, protection of indigenous people's lands, regulation of marine fishing industries, and pollution control. Assistance to projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that help communities adapt to climate change are gaining importance. Environment assistance corresponds to USAID's objective of technical cooperation on global issues, as well as laying a sustainable basis for USAID's socioeconomic development objective in the long term.
Examples of projects assisted by Democracy offices are projects for the country's political institutions, including elections, political parties, legislatures, and human rights organizations. Counterparts include the judicial sector and civil-society organizations that monitor government performance. Democracy assistance received its greatest impetus at the time of the creation of the successor states to the USSR starting in about 1990, corresponding both to USAID's objective of supporting U.S. bilateral interests and to USAID's socioeconomic development objective.
Examples of projects often assisted by Economic Growth offices are projects for improvements in agricultural techniques and marketing (the Mission may have a specialized "Agriculture" office), development of microfinance industries, streamlining of Customs administrations (to accelerate growth of exporting industries), and modernization of government regulatory frameworks for industry in various sectors (telecommunications, agriculture, and so forth). In USAID's early years and in some larger programs, Economic Growth offices have financed economic infrastructure like roads and electrical power plants. Economic Growth assistance is thus quite diverse in terms of potential sectors where it works. It corresponds to USAID's socioeconomic development objective and is the source of sustained poverty reduction. Economic Growth offices also occasionally manage assistance to poverty relief projects, such as to government programs that provide "cash transfer" payments to low-income families.
Special assistance offices
Some USAID Missions have specialized technical offices for areas like counter-narcotics assistance or assistance in conflict zones.
Disaster assistance on a large scale is provided through USAID's Office for U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. Rather than having a permanent presence in country Missions, this office has supplies pre-positioned in strategic locations to respond quickly to disasters when and where they occur.
The Office of the Mission Director and the Program Office 
The Mission Director's signature authorizes technical offices to provide assistance according to the designs and budgets they propose. With the help of the Program Office, the Mission Director ensures that designs are consistent with USAID policy for the country, including budgetary earmarks by which Washington directs that funds be used for certain general purposes such as public health or environmental conservation. The Program Office compiles combined reports to Washington to support budget requests to Congress and to verify that budgets were used as planned.
Contracting, financial management, and facilities offices 
While the Mission Director is the public face and key decision-maker for an impressive array of Mission technical and budgetary capabilities, arguably the offices that make USAID preeminent among U.S. government agencies in the ability to concretely follow through on assistance agreements are Missions' full-featured internal "support" offices.
Commitments of U.S. government funds to NGOs and firms that deliver USAID's assistance can only be made in compliance with carefully designed contracts and grant agreements executed by warranted Contracting Officers, not by the technical officers who design assistance. (The Mission Director is authorized to commit financial assistance directly to the country's government agencies.)
Financial management offices
Funds can be committed only when the Mission's Controller certifies their availability for the stated purpose. "FM" offices assist technical offices in financial analysis and in developing detailed budgets for inputs needed by projects assisted. They evaluate potential recipients' management abilities before financial assistance can be authorized and then review implementers' expenditure reports with great care. This office often has the largest number of staff of any office in the Mission.
Called the "Executive Office" in USAID (sometimes leading to confusion with the Embassy's Executive Office, which is the office of the Ambassador), "EXO" has traditionally provided logistical support for Mission offices, including personnel recruitments and management, computers, transportation, office space, and housing for U.S. staff. Increasing integration into Embassies' chancery complexes, and the State Department's recently increased role in managing USAID, is expanding the importance of coordination between USAID's EXO and the overall Embassy's General Services Office in dividing up responsibilities for specific kinds of support to the USAID Mission.
USAID's history 
U.S. Government foreign aid agencies before USAID 
Before the Second World War, a notable example of U.S. Government foreign assistance was its contribution to the 1915 Committee for Relief in Belgium headed by Herbert Hoover, to prevent starvation in Belgium after the German invasion. During this period, however, U.S. assistance in low-income countries was often the product of private initiative, including prominently the Rockefeller Foundation's assistance for breeding improved maize and wheat varieties and its support for public health initiatives.
It was World War II that stimulated a sustained U.S. Government foreign aid effort. One of the USG's responses to the shock of Germany's occupation of France in 1940 was the creation of the Office of Inter-American Affairs, or OIAA, to ensure that German influence would not grow in the Western Hemisphere. Under State Department oversight, the OIAA's more than 1,000 employees undertook a variety of programs including technical assistance projects for economic stabilization, food supply, health, and sanitation.
OIAA, which ended in 1946, furnished the model for President Truman's global "Point Four Program." Announced as the fourth element of his overall foreign policy in January, 1949, Point Four was to provide technical knowledge to aid the growth of underdeveloped countries around the world. In 1950, the Technical Cooperation Administration (TCA) was established within the Department of State to run the Point Four program.
Point Four's technical development program for underdeveloped areas complemented the Marshall Plan, which the U.S. had created in 1948 to help rebuild war-torn Western Europe. Implemented by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA), the Marshall Plan also expanded its reconstruction finance to strategic parts of the Middle East and Asia. In addition to Point Four and the Marshall Plan, the Fulbright Program of academic exchanges was established in 1946, globalizing the wartime program of exchange visits between professionals from Latin America and the United States.
In light of the Korean War, Congress passed in October 1951 the Mutual Security Act and created the Mutual Security Agency (MSA) to better coordinate civilian assistance with military assistance. The MSA absorbed the Marshall Plan's ECA. The Technical Cooperation Administration was preserved but was subordinated to MSA.
In 1953 at the end of the Korean War, the Foreign Operations Administration (FOA) was established as an independent government agency outside the Department of State to consolidate economic and technical assistance, including both the MSA and the TCA, on a world-wide basis. The new majority in Congress also required a 25 per cent reduction in staff, which fell mainly on former TCA staff as in general the Foreign Operations Administration adopted the organization and procedures inherited through the MSA from the Marshall Plan's ECA, rather than those of Point Four's TCA.
In 1955, the foreign aid agency was brought back under the administrative control of the Department of State and renamed the International Cooperation Administration (ICA).
In 1956, the Senate conducted a study of foreign aid with the help of a number of independent researchers. The result was a new development assistance policy stated in a 1959 amendment to the Mutual Security Act, which established development in low-income regions as a U.S. objective separate from other foreign-policy interests.
In 1957, an entity was established within ICA, the Development Loan Fund, to manage ICA's portfolio of loans for development projects. In 1959, the Development Loan Fund became an independent agency.
(Pre-1961 reorganizations can be traced here: http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/469.html#469.7.)
USAID's creation 
In 1961, the Congress approved the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 with President Kennedy's support. The Act retained the 1959 policy of international development as an independent U.S. objective and added an emphasis on the need for long-term efforts. Organizationally, the Act called for merging the ICA, the Development Loan Fund, and other foreign aid entities into a new agency.
To implement the Act, the Secretary of State, as directed by an Executive Order of the President, created within the State Department a new Agency for International Development or A.I.D. (subsequently re-branded as USAID). USAID's internal organization was adjusted to emphasize country-by-country programming. As in the previous change in Administration in 1953, a major reduction in staff took place.
(The Peace Corps was also established at this time. In addition, the Fulbright educational and cultural exchange program was strengthened by the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961.)
"New Directions" in the 1970s 
During the early 1970s, foreign aid became one of the focal points in Legislative-Executive differences over the Vietnam War. In September 1970, President Nixon proposed abolishing USAID and replacing it with three new institutions: one for development loans, one for technical assistance and research, and one for trade, investment and financial policy. Consistent with this approach, in early 1971 President Nixon transferred the administration of private investment programs from USAID to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, which had been established by foreign aid legislation at the end of 1969.
The Congress did not act on the President's proposal for replacing USAID, but rather adopted in 1973 a proposal supported by USAID management for "New Directions" in foreign aid. By amending the Foreign Assistance Act, the Congress provided that U.S. aid should emphasize "Basic Human Needs": food and nutrition; population planning and health; and education and human resources development. President Nixon signed the New Directions act into law (PL 93-189) in December 1973.
In 1974, a further amendment of the Foreign Assistance Act prohibited assistance for police, thus ending USAID's involvement in Public Safety programs in Latin America, which in the 1960s were, along with the Vietnam War, part of the U.S. Government's anti-Communist strategy.
While foreign aid has always operated within the framework of U.S. foreign policy, the organizational linkages between the Department of State and USAID have been reviewed on many occasions.
In 1978, legislation drafted at the request of Senator Hubert Humphrey was introduced to create a Cabinet-level International Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA). IDCA's intended role was to supervise USAID in place of the State Department. However, although IDCA was established by Executive Order in September 1979, it did not in practice make USAID independent.
In 1995, legislation to abolish USAID was introduced once again, this time by Senator Jesse Helms, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who aimed to replace USAID with a grant-making foundation. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill abolishing USAID, the measure did not become law. However, in order to gain Congressional cooperation for his foreign affairs agenda President Clinton adopted in 1997 a State Department proposal to integrate more foreign affairs agencies into the Department. The "Foreign Affairs Agencies Consolidation Act of 1998" (Division G of PL 105-277), besides abolishing the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and the United States Information Agency (which formerly maintained American libraries overseas), also abolished IDCA. Although the law authorized the President to abolish USAID, President Clinton did not exercise this option.
In 2003, President Bush established PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, putting USAID's HIV/AIDS programs under the direction of the State Department's new Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator. Then, in 2004, the Bush Administration created the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) as a new foreign aid agency to provide financial assistance to a limited number of countries selected for good performance in socioeconomic development. The MCC also finances some USAID-administered development assistance projects.
In January 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice created the Office of the Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance ('F') within the State Department. F's purpose was to ensure that foreign assistance would be used as much as possible to meet foreign policy objectives. Under a Director with the rank of Deputy Secretary, F integrated foreign assistance planning and resource management across State and USAID, directing all USAID offices' budgets according to a detailed "Standardized Program Structure" comprising hundreds of "Program Sub-Elements." USAID accordingly closed its office responsible for overall budgeting and development policy.
On September 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a classified Presidential Policy Determination (PPD) on Global Development. As described by an unclassified fact sheet, the PPD promised to elevate the role of development assistance within U.S. policy and rebuild "USAID as the U.S. Government’s lead development agency." It also established an Interagency Policy Committee on Global Development led by the National Security Staff and added to U.S. development efforts an emphasis on innovation. A few months later, on December 21, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton released the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which reaffirmed the plan to re-build USAID's Foreign Service staffing while also emphasizing the increased role that staff from the State Department and domestic agencies would play in implementing U.S. assistance. In addition, it laid out a program for a future transfer of health sector assistance back from the State Department to USAID.
Consistent with this evolving policy environment, USAID re-created in mid-2010 a development planning office, the Bureau of Policy, Planning, and Learning, and on November 23, 2010, announced the creation of a new Bureau for Food Security to lead the implementation of President Obama's Feed the Future Initiative, which had formerly been managed by the State Department.
USAID Forward 
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- Project Implementation ("Implementation and Procurement Reform")
- Increase the contracts and grants awarded to local organizations in USAID's host countries.
- Increase the use of small businesses.
- Include metrics in implementation agreements to increase focus on institutional capacity building.
- Use host country project implementation systems where appropriate.
- Talent Management
- Expand professional roles for USAID's professional staff recruited from host countries ("Foreign Service Nationals").
- Improve hiring and training practices, as well as providing better incentives.
- Policy Capacity
- Create the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL) and expand research on evidence-based development policies.
- Re-emphasize science and technology and reintroduce a culture of research, knowledge-sharing and evaluation.
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Expand use of independent and scientific project evaluations.
- Budget Management
- Re-create an Office of Budget and Resource Management to ensure that budget procedures align resources with country strategies and toward programs that are demonstrating meaningful results.
- Science and Technology:
- Upgrade USAID's internal S&T capabilities, expand technical expertise, and improve staff access to analytical tools like Geospatial Information Systems.
- Drawing from the examples of major S&T initiatives of the past, like oral rehydration therapies and the Green Revolution, develop a set of Grand Challenges for Development to focus the Agency and its development partners on scientific and technical barriers that limit development progress.
- Build S&T capacity in developing countries through cooperative research grants, improved access to scientific knowledge, and higher education and training opportunities.
- Foster innovative development solutions by connecting USAID staff to leading innovators in the private sector and academia.
- Create "Development Innovation Ventures" to fund and pilot innovations.
Budgetary resources for USAID 
|Nation||Billions of Dollars|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||0.24|
|West Bank and Gaza||0.20|
The cost of supplying USAID's assistance includes the agency's "Operating Expenses," $1.35 billion in fiscal year 2012, and "Bilateral Economic Assistance" program costs, $20.83 billion in fiscal year 2012 (the vast bulk of which was administered by USAID).
Up-to-date details of the budget for USAID's assistance and other aspects of the USG's foreign assistance are available from USAID's budget webpage, http://www.usaid.gov/results-and-data/budget-spending. This page contains a link to the U.S. Government's Foreign Operations budget (the "150 Account"), which show the budgets of all International Affairs programs and operations for civilian agencies, including USAID.
This page also has a link to a "Where Does the Money Go?" table, which shows the recipients of USAID's financial assistance (foreign governments as well as NGOs), the totals that were spent for various countries, and the sources from which USAID procured the goods and services that it provided as technical assistance (U.S. government agencies, universities, and private companies). A table of the 20 countries whose U.S. assistance had the largest budgetary cost in fiscal year 2012 is shown here.
U.S. assistance budget totals are shown along with other countries' total assistance budgets in tables in a webpage of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, http://www.oecd.org/development/stats/statisticsonresourceflowstodevelopingcountries.htm.
At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, most of the world's governments adopted a program for action under the auspices of the United Nations Agenda 21, which included an Official Development Assistance (ODA) aid target of 0.7% of gross national product (GNP) for rich nations, specified as roughly 22 members of the OECD and known as the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). However, most countries do not adhere to this target, as the OECD's table indicates that the DAC average ODA in 2011 was 0.31% of GNP. The U.S. figure for 2011 was 0.20% of GNP, which still left the U.S. as the largest single source of ODA among individual countries.
USAID bilateral assistance in the news 
Response to 2010 Haiti earthquake 
Dr. Rajiv Shah became Administrator of USAID, shortly before the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. In response, USAID and other agencies, began working to help Haiti recover and rebuild. Together with the international community and the Government of Haiti, Dr. Shah led USAID to help provide safer housing for almost 200,000 displaced Haitians; supported vaccinations for more than 1 million people; cleared more than 1.3 million cubic meters of the approximately 10 million cubic meters of rubble generated; helped more than 10,000 farmers double the yields of staples like corn, beans, and sorghum; and provided short-term employment to more than 350,000 Haitians, injecting more than $19 million into the local economy. USAID has provided nearly $42 million to help combat cholera, helping to decrease the number of cases requiring hospitalization and reduce the case fatality rate.
USAID has been a major partner in the United States Government's (USG) reconstruction and development effort in Iraq. As of June 2009[update], USAID has invested approximately $6.6 billion on programs designed to stabilize communities; foster economic and agricultural growth; and build the capacity of the national, local, and provincial governments to represent and respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.
USAID has periodically supported the Lebanese American University and the American University of Beirut financially, with major contributions to the Lebanese American University's Campaign for excellence.
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In 2008, the coca growers union affiliated with Bolivian President Evo Morales ejected the 100 employees and contractors from USAID working in the Chapare region, citing frustration with U.S. efforts to persuade them to switch to growing unviable alternatives. From 1998 to 2003, Bolivian farmers could receive USAID funding for help planting other crops only if they eliminated all their coca, according to the Andean Information Network. Other rules, such as the requirement that participating communities declare themselves "terrorist-free zones" as required by U.S. law irritated people, said Kathryn Ledebur, director of the organization. "Eradicate all your coca and then you grow an orange tree that will get fruit in eight years but you don't have anything to eat in the meantime? A bad idea," she said. "The thing about kicking out USAID, I don't think it's an anti-American sentiment overall but rather a rejection of bad programs".
East Africa 
On September 19, 2011, Dr. Rajiv Shah, along with Dr. Jill Biden and Ad Council, launched the "FWD" campaign to raise awareness about that year's severe drought in East Africa. Through TV and internet ads as well as social media initiatives, FWD encouraged Americans to spread awareness about the crisis, support the humanitarian organizations that were conducting relief operations, and consult the Feed the Future global initiative for broader solutions. Celebrities Geena Davis, Uma Thurman, Josh Hartnett and Chanel Iman took part in the campaign via a series of Public Service Announcements. Corporations like Cargill, General Mills, PepsiCo. and General Mills also signed on to support FWD.
Controversies and criticism 
USAID and U.S. foreign economic assistance in general have been the subject of debate, controversy, and criticism continuously since the 1950s.
Controversy over goals 
Those who advocate that poverty relief should be the primary goal of foreign aid may criticize the choice of geopolitical influence as the goal of a given budget allocation. But the budget for povery relief may be criticized in turn by advocates of environmental conservation, if they feel that it leaves little funding free for environmental projects. Focusing on the environment, on the other hand, may seem premature to advocates of socioeconomic development who see that as the key to realizing all the other goals, including poverty reduction and environmental protection.
These are debates that are arbitrated in Washington by the Congress and the Administration before budgets are decided and before USAID staff undertake detailed programming in the field. In practice, the programs that USAID implements in each country pursue a mix of goals, each of which has value to some stakeholder of foreign aid.
Controversy over modes of assistance 
Some feel that USAID overemphasizes technical assistance and should instead provide more financial assistance (budget support, or debt relief). They argue that financial assistance allows recipients to spend as they like with less influence from donors. Others feel that financial assistance does not result in durable improvements and that person-to-person technical assistance has the advantage of sharing knowledge and experience with techniques that have worked before, leading to permanent improvements.
In practice, many USAID missions find that their counterparts appreciate having some of both: a package that includes some financial assistance for things that can simply be bought and some technical assistance to confront problems and issues whose solutions are not so clear.
Criticism of the cost of delivering USAID assistance 
USAID is frequently criticized for paying the full market cost of expert services that it provides to counterparts. Those service providers generally are higher paid than the average person in low-income, developing countries.
While the majority of the staff working on USAID-financed projects are from the country where the work is being carried out, USAID's counterparts also appreciate USAID's being able to recruit from anywhere in the world to get the right person for specific tasks, including widely recognized experts in many cases. USAID uses competition to arrive at market rates for the staff it recruits, and USAID has experimented with volunteer programs for expertise from high paid professions.
Questions are fequently asked as to whether it is a good practice to recruit project specialists under limited-term contracts lasting from a few weeks to two or three years, rather than relying more predominantly on career U.S. Government employees with twenty- or thirty-year employment contracts. A perceived shift from USAID employees to contractors caused concern in the 1960s and has continued to be debated continuously since then.
Economic interests 
USAID states that "U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America's foreign policy interests in expanding democracy and free markets while improving the lives of the citizens of the developing world." However, non-government organization watch groups have noted that as much as 40% of aid to Afghanistan has found its way back to donor countries through awarding contracts at inflated costs.
Although USAID officially selects contractors on a competitive and objective basis, watch dog groups, politicians, foreign governments and corporations have occasionally accused the agency of allowing its bidding process to be unduly influenced by the political and financial interests of its current Presidential administration. Under the Bush administration, for instance, it emerged that all five implementing partners selected to bid on a $600 million Iraq reconstruction contract enjoyed close ties to the administration.
Political interests 
Some critics say that the US government gives aid to reward political and military partners rather than to advance genuine social or humanitarian causes abroad. William Blum has said that in the 1960s and early 1970s USAID has maintained "a close working relationship with the CIA, and Agency officers often operated abroad under USAID cover." The 1960s-era Office of Public Safety, a now-disbanded division of USAID, has been mentioned as an example of this, having served as a front for training foreign police in counterinsurgency methods (including torture techniques).
Folha de São Paulo, Brazil's largest newspaper, accused USAID of trying to influence political reform in Brazil in a way that would have purposely benefited right-wing parties. USAID spent $95,000 US in 2005 on a seminar in the Brazilian Congress to promote a reform aimed at pushing for legislation punishing party infidelity. According to USAID papers acquired by Folha under the Freedom of Information Act, the seminar was planned so as to coincide with the eve of talks in that country's Congress on a broad political reform. The papers read that although the "pattern of weak party discipline is found across the political spectrum, it is somewhat less true of parties on the liberal left, such as the [ruling] Worker's Party." The papers also expressed a concern about the "'indigenization' of the conference so that it is not viewed as providing a U.S. perspective." The event's main sponsor was the International Republican Institute.
In the summer of 2012, ALBA countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, San Vicente y Las Granadinas, Dominica, Antigua y Barbuda) called on its members to expel USAID from their countries. 
Influence on the United Nations 
Several studies suggest that foreign aid is used as a political weapon for the U.S. to elicit desired actions from other nations. A state's membership of the U.N. Security Council can give a considerable raise of U.S. assistance.
In 1990 when the Yemeni Ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Saleh al-Ashtal, voted against a resolution for a U.S.-led coalition to use force against Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Thomas Pickering walked to the seat of the Yemeni Ambassador and retorted: "That was the most expensive No vote you ever cast". Immediately afterwards, USAID ceased operations and funding in Yemen.
Renouncing terrorism 
USAID requires NGOs to sign a document renouncing terrorism, as a condition of funding. Issam Abdul Rahman, media coordinator for the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations' Network, a body representing 135 NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said his organization "takes issue with politically conditioned funding." In addition, the PFLP, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, said that the USAID condition was nothing more than an attempt “to impose political solutions prepared in the kitchens of Western intelligence agencies to weaken the rights and principles of Palestinians, especially the right of return.”
Israel-Palestinian conflict 
According to Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor, USAID and the fully-USAID funded National Endowment for Democracy, have been criticized for their funding of "political advocacy NGOs that demonize Israel and promote BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns targeting Israel. This activity is entirely inconsistent with US policy." Steinberg also said that "Obviously, USAID and NED do not endorse such views."
See also 
- Best Places to Work in the Federal Government
- USAID: USAID History
- USAID Official Website
- United States Agency for International Development (2009). "USAID: Frequently Asked Questions". United States Agency for International Development. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
- USAID: Automated Directives System 400
- "USAID Primer: What We Do and How We Do It" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Muller, Dwane (november). USAID's approach to monitoring Capacity Building Activities. pp. 1–10.
- "Our Work-Environment". USAID.
- "Global Climate Change-Capacity Building". USAID.
- "USAID Primer: What We Do and How We Do It". Usaid.gov. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "USAID: Organization". Usaid.gov. 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Mohammed, Arshad (September 18, 2012). "USAID mission in Russia to close following Moscow decision". Reuters. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
- "Bolivia’s President Morales expels USAID, accused it of working against him". Washington Post. May 1st, 2013.
- "USAID Organization". Retrieved 2011-07-21.
- See GAO report number GAO-10-496 of June 2010.
- "USAID Careers: Foreign Service". Usaid.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "Diplomacy Post-9/11: Life in the U.S. Foreign Service". Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "USAID Careers: Development Leadership Initiative". Usaid.gov. 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "USAID: USAID History". Usaid.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Sartorius, Rolf H. and Vernon W. Ruttan, "The Source of the Basic Human Needs Mandate," The Journal of Developing Areas 23 (April 1989), pages 331-362.
- Greenhouse, Steven (March 16, 1995). "Helms Seeks to Merge Foreign Policy Agencies". The New York Times.
- "Department of State (DoS)". Pepfar.gov. 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "About MCC | MCC | Washington, DC". Mcc.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance". State.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "Fact Sheet: U.S. Global Development Policy | The White House". Whitehouse.gov. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Scott Gruber, LPA/PIPOS (2010-07-02). "USAID FrontLines: Insights From Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah". Usaid.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- November 24, 2010 (2010-11-24). "USAID Impact » Bread for the World Applauds New Bureau of Food Security". Blog.usaid.gov. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- USAID.gov, USAID Press Release on USAID Forward Reform Agenda.
- USAID Assistance for Iraq : Accomplishments, United States Agency for International Development.
- C-Span: Rebuilding Iraq
- "The Legacy and the promise (Lebanese American University)".
- Andean Information Network, 27 June 2008, "Bolivian coca growers cut ties with USAID"
- BBC News, May 1 2013, "Bolivian President Evo Morales expels USAid"
- "New PSAs: 'FWD' Awareness About the Horn of Africa Crisis". Ad Age. October 26, 2011
- Richard Norton-Taylor 40% of Afghan aid returns to donor countries, says report guardian.co.uk 25 March 2008
- Barbara Slavin Another Iraq deal rewards company with connections USA Today 4/17/2003
- Mark Tran Halliburton misses $600m Iraq contract guardian.oc.uk 31 March 2003
- "Robert Sandels: Cuba Crackdown: a Revolt Against Bush National Security Strategy?". Counterpunch.org. 2002-05-20. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "Undermining Bolivia". The Progressive. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- "Bush aide resigns - Politics - White House - msnbc.com". MSNBC. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Golinger, Eva (2007-09-12). "USAID in Bolivia and Venezuela: The Silent Subversion". venezuelanalysis.com. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- William Blum, Killing hope : U.S. military and CIA interventions since World War II Zed Books, 2003, ISBN 978-1-84277-369-7 pp.142, 200, 234.
- Michael Otterman, American torture: from the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and beyond (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2007), p. 60.
- EUA tentaram influenciar reforma política do Brasil Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- ALBA Expels USAID from Member Countries Retrieved 2012-09-16
- "Security Council Seat Tied to Aid". Globalpolicy.org. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
- Hornberger, Jacob" But Foreign Aid Is Bribery! And Blackmail, Extortion, and Theft Too!" September 26, 2003
- U.S. State Department, Country Fact Sheets - Background Note: Yemen. 12 March 2012
- How dare you make us cooperate with Israel, Palestinian NGOs protest to EU
- Report: Anti-Israel NGOs receive US funding
- NGO watchdog flags ‘inconsistencies’ to Congress
Further reading 
- Bollen, Kenneth; Paxton, Pamela; Morishima, Rumi (June 2005). "Assessing international evaluations: An example from USAID’s Democracy and Governance Programs" (pdf). American Journal of Evaluation 26 (2): 189–203. doi:10.1177/1098214005275640. Evaluation performed on behalf of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), at the request of and with funding from the Strategic and Operational Research Agenda (SORA) of USAID (Office of Democracy and Governance in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance), according to the National Research Council (2008, p. 28).
- National Research Council, Committee on Evaluation of USAID Democracy Assistance Programs (2008). Goldstone, Jack A, ed. Improving democracy assistance: Building knowledge through evaluations and research (html). pp. xvi+336. ISBN 0-309-11736-4, ISBN 978-0-309-11736-4 Check
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: United States Agency for International Development|
- USAID website
- Records of the Agency for International Development (AID) in the National Archives
- USAID Overview video short
- USAID Development Innovation Ventures
- USAID-produced Lebanon television short for 2007 public affairs campaign
- USAID-sponsored and financed anti-human trafficking music video
- Highlights of President Kennedy's Act for International Development, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Dept. of State, June 1961
- Historical bibliography of the United States Agency for International Development, USAID Center for Development Information and Evaluation (CDIE), April 1995
- USAID primer : what we do and how we do it, USAID, rev. January 2006
- Access over 167,000 USAID documents, reports and publications through USAID's Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC)
- Access over 9,100 USAID project descriptions, 1946–1996, through USAID's Development Experience Clearinghouse (DEC)
- U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Obligations and Loan Authorizations, USAID annual report to U.S. Congress
- FrontLines--the employee news publication of USAID
- The US and Foreign Aid Assistance, article by Anup Shah
- EM-DAT: The OFDA/CRED International Disaster Database
- CE-DAT: The Complex Emergency Database
- Eurodad: Aid Effectiveness, Conditionality, Aid Accounting
- Albert H. Huntington Jr. (AID Staff Member), Collection of Documents Related to Foreign Aid, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library
- US Aid to Pakistan by the Numbers - Center for American Progress
- US Aid to Afghanistan by the Numbers - Center for American Progress
- Myth: More US aid will help the hungry
- USAID Armenia
- GVEP International
- Moseley, W.G. 2006. “America’s Lost Vision: The Demise of Development.” International Herald Tribune. Pg. 7, August 9.
- Breaking Open the Black Box: Increasing Aid Transparency and Accountability in Haiti, from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, April 2013