FACT SHEET - U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the U.S. Government foreign aid agency. Our Mission is to promote peace and stability by supporting the people of developing and transitional countries in their efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social progress, and to participate more fully in resolving the problems of their countries and the world.
USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. The work of USAID supports both short-term disaster response and long-term, equitable economic growth and advances U.S. foreign policy objectives.
USAID has been a major partner in the United States Government’s (USG) reconstruction and development effort in Iraq. Since March 2003, USAID has invested over $8.0 billion on infrastructure, and programs designed to stabilize communities; foster economic and agricultural growth; and build the capacity of the national, local and provincial governments to represent and respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.
USAID works closely with a variety of USG agencies and international institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank; Iraq’s national, provincial and local governments; and a network of partners that includes non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local community groups and Iraqi citizens to implement a variety of development programs. USAID efforts focus primarily on supporting the political, economic and security conditions necessary for a stable and prosperous Iraq.
Strengthening a just, representative and accountable government
Democracy and Governance
USAID’s Democracy and Governance Program is a multi-faceted initiative that encourages the integration of democratic principles into all levels of Iraqi government – national, provincial and local – to enhance the lives of Iraqis throughout the country. The democracy and governance portfolio has five programs:
Elections Support Project is the USAID/Iraq Mission’s most recent contribution to the US Government's long running support of free, fair, and credible elections in Iraq. The Elections Support Project provides technical assistance, mentoring, and training to the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC). With representative offices in each province, referred to as Governorate Electoral Offices, the IHEC announces and implements regulations, rules, and procedures related to referenda and elections. The IHEC is also responsible for ensuring that Iraqis, including citizens outside the country, can participate in decision-making processes through their elected representatives.
Access to Justice Project assists professional legal associations, legal assistance, civic education and advocacy NGOs, law schools and government institutions to improve their support and services to vulnerable and disadvantaged Iraqis, including women, widows, orphans, religious and ethnic minorities, the impoverished, internally displaced persons and refugees, detainees and the incarcerated (including juveniles).
The project is designed to build capacity of key Iraqi partners, through provision of training, technical assistance and sub-grants.
Improving the Capacity of National Government Institutions
Administrative Reform Project (USAID-Tarabot) aims to strengthen the Government of Iraq’s resource management systems and its civil service structures. The Administrative Reform Project is promoting economic diversification, while working to bring essential public services to an acceptable level, and reduce Iraq’s dependence on its oil reserves. USAID will build upon the solid foundation laid by its National Capacity Development program, USAID-Tatweer, which focused on reforming internal operational systems and instituting best practices and international standards. By strengthening Iraq’s policy and resource management at the national, provincial and local levels of government, USAID-Tarabot Administrative Reform Project will develop Iraq’s “whole-of-government” capacity in three areas: 1) Civil Service Reform; 2) National Policy Management; and 3) Administrative Decentralization.
Primary Health Care Project aims to complement other capacity building programs by providing technical assistance to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, to ensure the provision of quality primary health care services. Through the Primary Health Care Project, USAID is supporting the Ministry of Health to strengthen the delivery of quality primary health care services throughout Iraq. The project focuses on developing management systems and processes for delivering clinical care; improving the quality of primary care; and building effective community partnerships to ensure that local communities are more closely involved in health service planning and implementation. Through close collaboration with partners at the national, provincial and local levels, the Primary Health Care Project is working to build the capacity of service providers to develop highly functional health centers able to meet the primary health care needs of Iraqis.
Governance Strengthening Project aims to increase the ability of provinical governors, and provincial and local councils to better respond to the need of Iraqi citizens. The three components of the program are: legal reform , which focuses on clarifying the authorities and responsiblities of provincial governments and local councils to improve the decentralization framework; institutional strengthening to assist provincial and local councils to implement their core authorities and responsibilities; and assistance to provincial and local elected officials to increase their ability to hold executive ministries accountable for services. Activities under these components are Iraqi-led, supporting Government of Iraq and civil society efforts to strengthen the responsiveness of provinical and local governments to community needs.
Integration into the Global Economy and Expanding Private Sector Economic Opportunities
Economic Growth and Agriculture
Broad economic growth driven by a strong private sector is vital to alleviating poverty and promoting stability in Iraq. USAID’s economic-growth programs facilitate public sector reform and private sector growth, provide better access to financial services, develop private agribusinesses, and create an enabling environment that fosters private sector development.
Provincial Economic Growth Program (USAID-Tijara), supports ten Iraqi-owned microfinance institutions (MFIs) established by its predecessor Izdihar project and three international MFIs. In addition to loan capital, the program (named after the Arabic word for ‘trade’) provides training, technical assistance and other capacity building. In addition, USAID/Tijara has helped establish the Iraqi Company for Bank Guarantees and the Iraqi Company for Finance for SMEs. This approach has helped develop profitable lending portfolios in private banks nationwide. In addition to trade assistance, USAID has assisted the government in building the capacity of the National Investment Commission. This has included helping the Commission develop by-laws, implementing regulations for the investment law, and a one-stop-shop to promote international investment in Iraq.
Financial Development Project is designed to assist Iraqi counterparts develop a comprehensive financial sector infrastructure that will help ensure the long-term growth of the sector. USAID’s Financial Development project helps raise the financial sector’s capacity to international standards with a special focus on private banks. The Iraq Financial Development Project works with private sector stakeholders and organizations to advocate for reforms and provide assistance to the Government of Iraq counterparts, such as the Central Bank of Iraq, to implement focused reforms and capacity building that support expansion of financial intermediation.
Contributions to regional peace and security
The Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) within USAID facilitates and coordinates USG emergency humanitarian assistance overseas. In Iraq, OFDA provides assistance to Iraqis who have been forced to move elsewhere in the country due to sectarian strife, personal threats against their safety, or escalating violence within their communities.
Faced with more than 2.8 million internally displaced persons in Iraq, OFDA and its network of six NGO partners and three United Nations organizations are providing shelter, relief commodities (i.e., non-food items such as blankets and jerry cans), emergency health care, potable water and sanitation systems, income-generating activities, and host community/host family assistance. OFDA also coordinates relief efforts with the UN High Commissioner on Refugees and other international organizations.
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