The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the world’s premier development organization. Founded in 1961, the agency has overseen decades of world economic growth and an unprecedented reduction in global poverty.
Below are 10 quick but important facts about USAID:
- USAID is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government and operates subject to the guidance of the President, the Secretary of State and the National Security Council.
- USAID is the largest provider of food assistance in the world.
- USAID’s annual budget of $27 billion is larger than the national spending of 165 countries.
- Intervention by USAID is always subject to careful analysis to prevent disruption of local agricultural production, markets and adverse effects on recipient nation currencies.
- USAID’s budget, spending and programs are subject to oversight and auditing by the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, and the Government Accountability Office under the legislative branch. All of its budget and oversight documents are public record.
- USAID has made steady improvement in recent years in rankings by the International Aid Transparency Initiative, primarily due to better data management and increased technology modernization.
- As these 10 facts about USAID demonstrate, the organization’s mission involves much more than direct crisis aid. Besides food and disaster relief, USAID has major directives in health, human rights and governance, education, economic growth, agriculture and food security and gender equality.
- A significant number of countries have gone from recipients of USAID programs to become donor nations themselves. The Republic of Korea and Brazil are two prime examples.
- USAID’s spending accounts for less than one-half of one percent of the U.S. federal budget.
- After decades of change, in 2013 USAID launched a new mission statement for the 21st century built on two pillars: ending extreme poverty, and promoting democratic, resilient societies.
As a key pillar in development efforts worldwide, USAID is central to the history of this century, as the world stands on the cusp of some of its greatest humanitarian achievements while, at the same time, facing unprecedented ecological challenges. USAID is a leader and a massively experienced player in facing the world’s biggest problems. Strategies to improve aid and development around the world and to sustain progress into the future rely on these facts about USAID.
– Paul Robertson