DEFINITION of 'U.S. Agency for International Development - USAID'
An independent federal agency of the United States that provides aid to citizens of foreign countries. Types of aid provided by USAID include disaster relief, technical assistance, poverty alleviation and economic development. The agency creates country-specific programs that provide tailored solutions based on individual needs. USAID is under the guidance of the Secretary of State.
BREAKING DOWN 'U.S. Agency for International Development - USAID'
Prior to the creation of USAID in 1961, the U.S. government operated a number of agencies designed to provide non-military aid to foreign governments in the wake of the Marshall Plan. President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order creating the agency, which required aid to foreign governments to be spent on goods and services provided by U.S. organizations and companies.