USAID Projects in the Middle East
Partnerships with people, governments and organizations
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on July 8, said: “Our third policy approach… is to elevate and integrate development as a core pillar …. We advance our security, our prosperity, and our values by improving the material conditions of people’s lives around the world.”
Clinton echoed the Obama administration’s new emphasis on the role of development efforts in U.S. foreign policy. Development programs currently exist to carry out Obama’s agenda in the Middle East and North Africa through the U.S. Agency for International Development. USAID has historically been at the forefront of American efforts to promote economic development through improvements in infrastructure, education and health. Its goal is to foster greater prosperity by working in partnership with the people, governments and organizations it serves in diverse communities throughout the world. USAID is therefore well positioned to implement the Obama approach.
USAID provides assistance in five regions of the world, including the Middle East. It operates seven country programs as well as a regional program in the Middle East and North Africa. Country programs exist in Egypt, the West Bank/Gaza, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan and Iraq.
To address concerns about joblessness among rapidly growing populations in many Middle Eastern countries, USAID implements programs that stimulate economic opportunities through trade facilitation, infrastructure improvements and business development. It also supports the future of Middle Eastern youth by making quality education available to more students. USAID health programs help to raise living standards, particularly for vulnerable groups such as women and children. Finally, USAID’s governance programs aim to cultivate strong local, regional and national institutions that will be able to provide reliable services to citizens. Each country program is guided by a multiyear strategic plan that identifies the sectors in which USAID will work and estimated levels of funding.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is part of USAID, and supports activities in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia, in close coordination with the American embassies in those countries.
Below are examples of USAID success stories in the Middle East and North Africa:
- USAID’s programs in Egypt have contributed to substantial improvements in the country’s infrastructure, including its water, sewage, power, rail, telecommunications, grain storage and port systems. It has also initiated projects in Egypt such as solid waste management, air quality management, Red Sea coastal resources management and biodiversity conservation, water resources management, energy efficiency, environmental management systems, environmental awareness and education.
- USAID in Egypt has collaborated with the Fayoum governorate in a variety of developmental areas such as health, water/wastewater, microfinance loans and agriculture.
- USAID supported a Jordanian government initiative for privately owned power generation, as well as the Jordanian government’s efforts to tap new sources of private capital for the power sector and to add new power-generating capacity at competitive prices, while improving the efficiency and reliability of the power supply.
- In Morocco, USAID built a financially self-sustainable wastewater-treatment plant in Drarga, where raw sewage had compromised residents’ health and severely contaminated the aquifer from which the village draws its water. The plant provides compost and treated wastewater to farmers for purchase and for use in irrigation, taking pressure off the aquifer. Similar projects were initiated in Fez and the Nakhla watershed near Tetouan.
- With assistance from a USAID trade capacity-building program in 2006, Morocco introduced a new risk-based cargo system, reducing the time to export by two days and time to import by four days.
- USAID provided funds to achieve economic growth and increase job opportunities for Jordanians when it gave balance-of-payments support to the Jordanian government to reduce Jordan’s international debt. This freed up funds for the government to carry out reform programs and make a real difference in the lives of Jordanian citizens. Another agreement supported social and economic services to support King Abdullah’s vision for reducing poverty and assisting disadvantaged youth in Jordan. Finallly, USAID provided millions to support of the kingdom’s good governance and democracy programs.
- This year, the United States delivered 32 pieces of heavy equipment worth more than $2 million (U.S.) to nine municipalities across Jordan. USAID also administered a program that funds light infrastructure projects such as municipal halls, community centers, security walls for schools, street lights, and renovations for municipal buildings.
- USAID provides a variety of in-country scholarships to students in Egypt and Lebanon to attend the American University of Cairo, Lebanon American University and the American University of Beirut. USAID also managed, in Yemen, an Adult Life-skills Literacy Education (YALLE) Program, implemented by Care International in the target governorate of Amran, as well as Yemen’s Internet in the Schools project.
- The USAID program in Egypt has supported the construction of 26 schools in Fayoum (21 primary and five preparatory) and aims to increase school access and enrollment for thousands of girls in underserved communities not only in Fayoum, but also in the governates of Beni Sweif and Minya. The program objective is to advocate for girls' education, construct new schools, improve the quality of learning and promote adult literacy initiatives.
- In 2006, another project in Egypt was designed to include private-sector funding and global development alliances for information technology resources and school-based information and communication technology centers to benefit students and the community.
- Since 1975, USAID has invested approximately $1 billion in Egypt’s education sector with impressive results. USAID's efforts to ensure gender equality in education have helped raise the primary school attendance of girls from 56 percent in 1975 to 95 percent in 2005.
- In 2008, USAID provided $7 million to support the education sector of Jordan. Additional support was provided to the Jordan Media Strengthening Program (JMSP), which is the Middle East's first comprehensive media program. The JMSP works with media outlets, training institutes, journalism faculties, and media nongovernmental organizations to improve the professionalism and sustainability of the Jordanian media sector.
- USAID funded a Model Schools Network Program (MSNP) to respond to an urgent need for improving the quality of Palestinian education at the basic level. The MSNP was implemented through the nonprofit group AMIDEAST and carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
- In 2005, USAID partnered with Morocco's Entraide Nationale and the National Federation of Charity Associations (FNAB) in a project to improve the quality and relevance of education in Morocco.
- Over the last year, USAID programs in the West Bank and Gaza have improved access to clean water and sanitation for more than 1.6 million Palestinians. USAID also conducted a five-year project in Egypt known as Takamol, named after the Arabic word for integration. Takamol promotes strengthening maternal/child health, family planning, and reproductive health services. Takamol is preparing the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population to fully support and sustain these services as USAID phases out its assistance.
- USAID assistance helped to renovate the specialized surgery ward, gynecology ward and orthopedics ward, including new plastering, painting and wall tiling of Rafidia Hospital, the largest hospital in the Northern West Bank, where the hospital suffered from overcrowded hospital wards and lack of modern medical equipment.
- Since 1993, USAID has provided more than $2.2 billion in U.S. economic assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza via projects designed to combat poverty, improve health and education, create jobs, and promote good governance.
- In the Middle East and North Africa region, USAID’s work has contributed to an increase in the total environmentally protected area, which has risen by 46 percent from 1990 to 2006. USAID initiated a program to improve water resources management in the Souss-Massa region of southern Morocco, and will focus on staff training, installing administrative and financial controls, and financing technical assistance to develop operational policies and procedures. Also, USAID will help develop a water master plan for the Souss-Massa that will address the long-term needs of the river basin area.
- On the West Bank, USAID supported the establishment of the new Jericho Courthouse including design, furniture, equipment, a signage system and court chambers. It also supported the construction of the Jenin Courthouse, the Civil Judgment Department in Ramallah and the Supreme Judicial Council Library.
- Between 2006 and 2008, USAID almost tripled the number of public-private partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa and more than tripled the resources it leverages through these partnerships. Partnerships have included programs in youth leadership, water, health communications and coffee exports.
- Since December 2008, USAID has provided badly needed medical and food supplies to health care facilities in Gaza. USAID continues to provide food assistance through the World Food Programme, supporting approximately 20,000 nonrefugee Palestinian households in Gaza.
- USAID works with private voluntary organizations, indigenous organizations, universities, American businesses, international agencies, other governments, and other U.S. government agencies. USAID has working relationships with more than 3,500 American companies and more than 300 U.S.-based private voluntary organizations. With this large presence on the ground, USAID is and will be a central player in the Obama administration’s agenda to improve relations through assisting partners in meeting their development goals.