Agency for International Development

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Agency for International Development

Agency for International Development (AID), federal agency created (Sept., 1961) to consolidate U.S. nonmilitary foreign aid programs. Originally an agency in the State Department, it has been a component part of the U.S. International Development Cooperation Agency, along with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, since 1979. AID administers bilateral assistance to more than 80 countries as development assistance and as economic support funds. Development aid targets agriculture, rural development, nutrition, health, education, population planning, and market-oriented development. Economic support funds are flexible grants to sustain or restore economic activity. AID also administers Food for Peace (with the Department of Agriculture), disaster assistance, a housing guaranty program, scientific and technical aid, and the Women in Development program. In the 1980s and 90s AID stressed the development of open, democratic societies, and promoted the dynamism of free markets and individual initiative in developing countries, including the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. Other principles governing AID's programs include concern for individual economic and social well-being, responsible environmental policies, and management of natural resources.

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