USAIDOn September 4, 1961, the Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act, which reorganized the U.S. foreign assistance programs including separating military and non-military aid. The Act mandated the creation of an agency to administer economic assistance programs, and on November 3, 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
USAID became the first U.S. foreign assistance organization whose primary emphasis was on long-range economic and social development assistance efforts. Freed from political and military functions that plagued its predecessor organizations, USAID was able to offer direct support to the developing nations of the world.
The agency unified already existing U.S. aid efforts, combining the economic and technical assistance operations of the International Cooperation Agency, the loan activities of the Development Loan Fund, the local currency functions of the Export-Import Bank, and the agricultural surplus distribution activities of the Food for Peace program of the Department of Agriculture.
While some could argue that the creation of USAID simply represented a bureaucratic reshuffling, the agency, and the legislation creating it, represented a recommitment to the very purposes of overseas development. USAID was established to unify assistance efforts, to provide a new focus on the needs of a changing world, and to assist other countries in maintaining their independence and become self-supporting.
More information on USAID's history you can find on the Agency's global website: www.usaid.gov
USAID in BulgariaAmerican assistance to Bulgaria began in early 1990 with $2 million in grants designated to strengthen the political processes in the country by supporting free and fair elections. The U.S. Government has since contributed over $560 million in SEED assistance and additional $66 million in humanitarian assistance to Bulgaria through 2008.
USAID/Bulgaria’s Mission was established in November 1991 focusing its efforts in the areas of economic restructuring, democratic transition, and social stabilization. To address national level political changes in 1997, USAID revised its strategy to focus on Bulgaria’s movement towards European Union accession and to actively support accelerated efforts for transition to a democratic political system and to an open, free, and competitive economy.
Over the following years, USAID/Bulgaria strengthened its objectives and reinforced synergistic activities throughout the program focusing on economic growth, democracy and governance, and social transition assistance.
In view of Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union in 2007, USAID developed its Graduation Strategy in 2003 which repackaged and refocused USAID’s activities to more adequately address the needs of the country. During the final phase of USAID presence in the country, 2003 – 2008, areas of assistance included rule of law and anti-corruption, economic growth and increased prosperity, and local governance.