The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the United States Government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid. Responding to President Barack Obama's pledge in his 2013 State of the Union Address to "join with our allies to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades," USAID has adopted as its mission statement "to partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing the security and prosperity of the United States." USAID operates in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
President John F. Kennedy created USAID from its predecessor agencies in 1961 by executive order. USAID's programs are authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act, which the Congress supplements through directions in annual funding appropriation acts and other legislation. Although technically an independent federal agency, USAID operates subject to the foreign policy guidance of the President, Secretary of State, and the National Security Council.
USAID's decentralized network of resident field missions is drawn on to manage US government (USG) programs in low-income countries for a range of purposes.
USAID is organized around country development programs managed by resident USAID offices in developing countries ("USAID missions"), supported by USAID's global headquarters in Washington, DC.SAID plans its work in each country around an individual country development program managed by a resident mission. Missions work in over fifty countries, consulting with their government and non-governmental organizations to identify programs that will receive USAID's assistance.As part of this process, the missions conduct socioeconomic analysis, design assistance, award contracts and grants, administer assistance (including evaluation and reporting), and manage flows of funds.As countries develop and need less assistance, USAID shrinks and ultimately closes its resident missions. Since USAID's founding in 1961, it has closed its missions in a number of countries that had achieved a substantial level of prosperity, including South Korea, Turkey, Tunisia, and Costa Rica.