DEFINITION of 'U.S. Agency for International Development - USAID'

The U.S. Agency for International Development is an independent federal agency that provides civilian aid to foreign countries.

BREAKING DOWN 'U.S. Agency for International Development - USAID'

President John F. Kennedy created USAID in 1961 by executive order. The agency is tasked with administering the federal government's foreign civilian aid programs, which include disaster relief, technical assistance, poverty alleviation and economic development. While USAID is independent, it falls under the guidance of the Secretary of State. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, foreign aid makes up around 1% of the federal budget, or 0.7% if military aid is excluded.

History of USAID

U.S. civilian assistance to foreign nations began in the 19th century with informal "technical missions," in which experts – often with government assistance – traveled to Asia and Latin America to spread knowledge of industrial techniques, economic policy, sanitation and other fields. In 1919, Congress formed the American Relief Administration to provide humanitarian assistance to post-war Europe. Later interwar government aid efforts focused on Latin America.

Following World War II, the Marshall Plan saw the U.S. spend over $13 billion – $140 billion in 2017 – to rebuild war-ravaged European economies. The Cold War led to competition between the Soviet Union and the U.S. to win the favor of "third-world" countries (that is, outside the first-world West or second-world communist bloc). While much of this effort was focused on military aid, civilian assistance also played a part. It was in this context that Kennedy ordered the State Department to create and independent agency to coordinate civilian foreign aid.

  1. United States Agency For International ...

    A U.S. government organization that provides aid to foreign countries. ...
  2. Civilian Labor Force

    Civilian labor force is a term used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ...
  3. Agency Bond

    An agency bond is a bond issued by a government agency. These ...
  4. Federal Agencies

    Federal agencies are special government organizations set up ...
  5. Foreign Investment

    Foreign investment involves capital flows from one nation to ...
  6. The World Bank

    The World Bank is an international organization dedicated to ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    What Are the Different Types of Foreign Aid?

    Foreign aid can take many forms and may involve governments and private-sector contributors. Some efforts are more effective than others.
  2. Personal Finance

    Make a Successful Transfer from Military to Civilian Jobs

    Here are several tips to help during your transition from the military to a civilian job.
  3. Insights

    Trump Budget Funds Pentagon with Cuts to Health, Aid

    "This is a hard-power budget, not a soft-power budget."
  4. Financial Advisor

    Helping Clients Weigh College Financial Aid Offers

    Now's the time for reviewing financial aid offers, which can often be confusing. Here are a few tips to help clients make sense of them.
  5. Personal Finance

    How Financial Aid for College Tuition Has Changed

    Financial aid for college tuition has gone high-tech and currently favors higher-income applicants.
  6. Insights

    Trump's Executive Orders (So Far)

    Trump has been fulfilling campaign promises by issuing executive orders.
  7. Insights

    What Is the World Bank?

    You've heard of the World Bank, now find out how it functions and why some groups oppose it.
  8. Investing

    Lots of ETFs Have Exposure to Gunmakers, Study Says

    ETFs still have some work to do when it comes to trimming exposure to gunmakers.
  9. Investing

    Financial Planning Tips And Resources For Veterans

    Veterans or all kinds have special needs when it comes to financial planning. Here are some tips as well as a comprehensive list of online resources.
  10. Personal Finance

    Economic Effects Of Life After Military Service

    The end of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will have an impact on the economy. Discover how.
  1. What was the Marshall Plan?

    The Marshall Plan was a U.S.-sponsored program implemented following the second world war to aid European countries that ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are some of the major regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing financial ...

    Discover the specific responsibilities of some of the major regulatory agencies that oversee financial institutions in the ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Risk

    Financial risk is the possibility that shareholders will lose money when investing in a company if its cash flow fails to ...
  2. Enterprise Value (EV)

    Enterprise Value (EV) is a measure of a company's total value, often used as a more comprehensive alternative to equity market ...
  3. Relative Strength Index - RSI

    Relative Strength Indicator (RSI) is a technical momentum indicator that compares the magnitude of recent gains to recent ...
  4. Dividend

    A dividend is a distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.
  5. Inventory Turnover

    Inventory turnover is a ratio showing how many times a company has sold and replaces inventory over a period.
  6. Watchlist

    A watchlist is list of securities being monitored for potential trading or investing opportunities.
Trading Center