The Significance of USADF
Congress established the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), which is an independent U.S. government agency. Its mission is very simple; to fund grassroots groups and entrepreneurs, as well as small and medium-sized businesses throughout Africa. The organization began in 1980 and has helped 7 million people since its origins. Here is some information about the significance of USADF.


The significance of USADF is that it focuses on the impoverished while prioritizing people with specific needs such as troubled youth, disabled people and others from different minority groups, such as women. For every $10,000, 79 more people obtain access to electricity, and 25 more people more workers gain jobs. In the last five years, USADF has been a key factor of The Global Food Security Act by contributing $61 million that helped 3.4 million people in 20 African countries.

USADF aids community enterprises by providing grants of up to $250,000. This allows underserved people to participate in Africa’s development story.

USADF also works with communities to understand problems at the root in order to determine the most effective solution. Some of the problems USADF is attempting to deal with are food insecurity and unemployment.

The Significance of USADF in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the world’s lowest energy access rates, with only around half of its population having access to electricity. Approximately 600 million people do not have electricity while 890 million people must utilize traditional fuels so they can cook. USADF’s off-grid energy grants promote market-based solutions that connect people and businesses to electricity. Since 2014, more than 130 off-grid energy projects have received more than $11 million in order to provide people with energy access.

While USADF funds energy projects, it also invests in agriculture. Close to 57% of Africa’s off-grid population works in agriculture. As a result, USADF has worked with businesses in agriculture, in order to provide them with support and reduce food insecurity. For example, through its partnership with the Feed the Future initiative, USADF has implemented projects in six African countries.

Looking Ahead

On June 24, 2021, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) introduced a bipartisan resolution for the continued support of USADF. Since he came to Congress in 2018, Phillips has prioritized sustainable development and peacebuilding as a member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights, as well as the Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance. Now, he is demonstrating his active support of USADF.

“By focusing on grassroots projects and meeting real needs of people at the community level, the U.S. African Development Foundation has pioneered a successful model for development, garnering broad bipartisan support,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), a Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa who is co-leading this initiative.

This bill is crucial as it will dictate the future of a foundation that has helped millions of people. Fortunately, the future of USADF looks bright.

– Noya Stessel
Photo: Flickr

Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 Introduced to House Committee on Foreign Affairs
On February 27th 2018, Representative Chris Smith introduced a bill to reauthorize the Global Food Security Act for four years from 2018 through 2021.

The Original Law

The original Global Food Security Act, also introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, became a law in 2016. The law only lasted a year, and has since encountered difficulty being reintroduced.

The law sought to outline a clear approach for the United States’ foreign assistance, so that its role was not just to increase food security in developing countries (as the name of the bill suggests), but to also provide economic growth through sustainable agricultural means, increase nutrition and resilience, help women and children particularly to receive that nutrition and fight against hunger and poverty in general.

The bill became law in 2016 under then-President Obama, who said of the law at the White House Summit on Global Development: “No society can flourish, children can’t flourish if they’re going hungry. We can’t ask a child to feed her mind when she can barely feed her stomach.”

Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. attempted to reintroduce the law in 2017. The law was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in December of that year, but never made it to a vote.

New Changes

Rep. Chris Smith’s Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 would add several amendments to the old law. The first change would be to one of the goals in the Statement of Policy Objectives. The new objective focuses on providing adequate nutrition to women and children, and increasing maternal and child health.

Aside from the goal of improving nutrition and encouraging more diverse diets, the 2018 version of the act would add a new emphasis on deworming programs. The second amendment includes The Inter-American Foundation in the list of relevant federal departments and agencies for the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act.

The last three changes update the language of the bill so that the act will extend from September of 2018 through 2021.

Foreign Assistance Act of 1961

Another addition to the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 is that it amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to reflect the extension of the years to 2021.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 is a law that was originally signed by President John F. Kennedy in November of that same year. Its goal was to promote the United States’ general welfare, security and foreign policy through helping developing countries achieve security and a stable economy.

The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 are both important not just for the benefit of developing countries, but also for achieving the best national security interest for the U.S. The original 2016 act states that helping developing countries by encouraging economic growth based on agriculture is an important step to end global poverty and hunger.

So far, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018 has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. To help get this bill signed into law, you can use the Borgen Project’s website to contact your representative and encourage them to support it.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr