The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.
Following the success of the reconstruction of Europe after World War II through the Marshall Plan and the Truman Administration's Point Four Program -- the 1950 program to engage in technically-based international economic development -- President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law in 1961 and USAID was created by executive order. 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.
U.S. foreign assistance has always had the twofold purpose of furthering America's interests while improving lives in the developing world. The Agency carries out U.S. foreign policy by promoting broad-scale human progress at the same time it expands stable, free societies, creates markets and trade partners for the United States, and fosters good will abroad.
Spending less than one-half of 1 percent of the federal budget, USAID works in over 100 countries to: promote broadly shared economic prosperity; strengthen democracy and good governance; improve global health, food security, environmental sustainability and education; help societies prevent and recover from conflicts; and provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.
For more information, visit the USAID website.