About the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
The United States has a long history of extending a helping hand to those people overseas struggling to make a better life, recovering from a disaster or striving to live in a free and democratic country. It is this caring that stands as a hallmark of the United States around the world -- and shows the world our true character as a nation.
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. Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works around the world to achieve these goals.
USAID's history goes back to the Marshall Plan reconstruction of Europe after World War Two and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created by executive order USAID.
Since that time, USAID has been the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms.
USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. Our Work supports long-term and equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting:
- economic growth, agriculture and trade;
- global health; and
- democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance
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