United States

Introduction

As the largest bilateral donor of the DAC, the United States’ official development assistance (ODA) constitutes a significant share of global development co-operation funding. Since the 2016 DAC Peer Review, the US Congress passed the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act), which recognises the particular strength of the American private sector in stimulating growth in lower and middle-income countries. The act consolidates the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)’s and the Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Development Credit Authority into a new International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) that will be established in 2019.

The United States recently produced self-reliance country roadmaps for partner countries, building on 17 metrics. The metrics examine areas such as open and accountable governance; inclusive development; economic policy; and the relative capacities of the government, civil society, citizens and the economy. These roadmaps will serve to anchor the country’s strategies, inform strategic decisions and dialogue, and indicate when USAID might signal a strategic transition.

Official development assistance

In 2018, the United States provided the highest aid volume (USD 34.3 billion) of any DAC member, which represented 0.17% of its gross national income (GNI). One-third of bilateral aid went to least developed countries (LDCs) and the largest share of United States’ aid was concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. The United States has a very high share of bilateral aid, 40% of which was channelled through civil society and the private sector combined in 2017.

In 2018, the United States provided USD 34.3 billion in total ODA (preliminary data, current prices), using the new “grant-equivalent” methodology (see the methodological notes for further details) adopted by DAC members on their reporting of 2018 data as a more accurate way to count the donor effort in development loans. This represented 0.17% of GNI. Under the “cash-flow basis” methodology used in the past, 2018 net ODA was USD 33.7 billion, which represented a fall of 5.0% in real terms from 2017, due to a decrease in the multilateral aid programme.

The United States’ share of untied bilateral ODA (excluding administrative costs and in-donor refugee costs) was 63.7% in 2017 (down from 64.6% in 2016), while the DAC country average was 82.1%. The grant element of total ODA was 100% in 2017.

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In 2017, 86.7% of gross ODA was provided bilaterally, of which 20.9% was channelled through multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions). The United States allocated 13.3% of total ODA as core contributions to multilateral organisations. Learn more about multilateral development finance

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In 2017, country programmable aid was 47% of the United States bilateral ODA, compared to a DAC country average of 48% (see the methodological notes for further details on country programmable aid). Project-type interventions accounted for 83.4% of this aid.

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In 2017, the United States channelled 35.1% of gross bilateral ODA through the public sector (down from 37.6% in 2016). The share of bilateral ODA channelled through private sector institutions was 17.0%. In 2017, the United States channelled USD 911 million through universities or other teaching and research institutions, equal to 3.0% of its gross bilateral ODA. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, USD 7.2 billion of gross bilateral ODA was channelled to and through civil society organisations (CSOs). Between 2016 and 2017, ODA channelled to and through CSOs decreased as a share of bilateral aid (from 25.6% to 23.5%). Learn more about ODA allocations to and through CSOs and the Civil Society Days.

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In 2017, bilateral ODA was primarily focused on sub-Saharan Africa. USD 11.3 billion was allocated to sub-Saharan Africa, USD 3.0 billion to the Middle East, USD 2.9 billion to South and Central Asia, and USD 2.1 billion to Latin America and the Caribbean.

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In 2017, 26.4% of gross bilateral ODA went to the United States’ top 10 recipients. Seven of its top 10 recipients are in sub-Saharan Africa. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 14.2 billion in 2017 (46.3% of gross bilateral ODA). Learn more about support to fragile contexts.

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In 2017, 32.8% of the United States’ gross bilateral ODA (USD 10.1 billion) was allocated to the LDCs, which received the highest share of bilateral ODA. This is slightly up from 32.1% in 2016. The DAC country average in 2017 was 23.5%. Lower middle-income countries received 21.9% of bilateral ODA in 2017, noting that 36.1% was unallocated by income group.

At 0.06% of GNI in 2017, total ODA to the LDCs (including imputed multilateral flows) was lower than the UN target of 0.15-0.20% of GNI.

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In 2017, 48.2% of bilateral ODA commitments (USD 15.0 billion) was allocated to social infrastructure and services, with a focus on health and population policies (USD 8.3 billion) and support to government and civil society (USD 4.2 billion). Humanitarian aid amounted to USD 8.3 billion. In 2017, the United States committed USD 54.9 million of ODA to support developing countries to raise domestic revenue, amounting to 0.2% of bilateral allocable aid. The United States also committed USD 2.4 billion (8.8% of bilateral allocable aid) to promote aid for trade and improve developing countries’ trade performance and integration into the world economy in 2017.

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USD 5.7 billion of gross bilateral allocable ODA supported gender equality. In 2017, 21.0% of the United States’ bilateral allocable aid had gender equality and women’s empowerment as a principal or significant objective (down from 23.9% in 2016), compared with the DAC country average of 36%. The United States’ aid to population, reproductive health and education focuses on gender. Learn more about ODA focused on gender equality and the DAC Network on Gender Equality.

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USD 2.5 billion of bilateral ODA commitments supported the environment. In 2017, 9.0% of the United States’ gross bilateral allocable aid supported the environment and 3.9% (USD 1.1 billion) focused on climate change, compared with the respective DAC country averages of 33% and 25%. Allocations supporting the environment decreased from 12.3% in 2016, while those focused on climate change fell from 5.1% in 2016. The proportion of bilateral allocable ODA focusing specifically on adaptation fell from 3.8% in 2016 to 3.2% in 2017, and the proportion focusing specifically on mitigation from 4.9% to 2.8%. Learn more about climate-related development finance.

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Other financial flows and amounts mobilised from the private sector

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In 2017, the United States’ development finance institution – OPIC – and USAID mobilised USD 5.1 billion from the private sector through guarantees, direct investment in companies and simple co-financing arrangements with the private sector.

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Of the country-allocable private finance mobilised in 2012-17, 87% targeted middle-income countries and 8% the LDCs.

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The United States’ private finance mobilised mainly related to activities in the banking and financial services (45%); energy (24%); and industry, mining and construction (10%) sectors. Learn more about the amounts mobilised from private sector for development.

Institutional set-up

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the US government that works closely with the State Department and receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State. In October 2018, Congress passed the BUILD Act, which consolidates OPIC and USAID’s Development Credit Authority into a new International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) that will be established in 2019.

In 2017, USAID managed 56.3% of the United States’ gross ODA, while the US State Department managed 18.9%, primarily covering the major President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other related communicable diseases programme. A smaller percentage of ODA is managed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an innovative US foreign assistance agency whose mission is to reduce poverty through economic growth. There are an additional 19 government agencies in the U.S. Government that manage foreign assistance.

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Evaluation system

All U.S. state agencies implementing foreign assistance funding are required to meet monitoring and evaluation requirements of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (FATAA) of 2016 and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Monitoring and Evaluation guidelines. Three US government agencies, the US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (US MCC), manage and evaluate a significant share of US foreign assistance, and illustrate the implementation of FATAA and the OMB guidelines.

The Evaluation Policy of the Department of State includes independence and integrity as one of its three standards for evaluation. Under the Department of State, the Office of US Foreign Assistance oversees and supports implementation of the Department’s Program and Project Design, Monitoring and Evaluation Policy through provision of guidance, toolkits, templates, and technical assistance. In USAID, the Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research oversees implementation of program monitoring, evaluation and learning requirements as part of USAID’s Program Cycle and Evaluation policies and provides guidance, training, tools and technical assistance on monitoring, evaluation and learning to the operating units (USAID’s field missions, bureaus and independent offices, regional offices, technical offices, overseas missions etc.). Meanwhile, the Department of Policy and Evaluation manages MCC’s rigorous independent evaluations. Lastly, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviews the integrity of the programmes and operations of the Department of State, USAID, and MCC, among others, including the work of the evaluation departments. Read more on the United States’ evaluation system.

Read the United States’ evaluation plan.

Visit the DAC Evaluation Resource Centre website for evaluations of the United States’ development co-operation.

Performance against the commitments for effective development co-operation

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Note: All indicators except untied ODA and transparency cover up to USD 4 473 million of development co-operation funding, as reported by 53 partner countries.

Explore the Monitoring Dashboard of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

US Agency for International Development (USAID): www.usaid.gov

Millennium Challenge Corporation: https://www.mcc.gov

Member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) since 1961.

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