US agency marks 60 years of development assistance to Nigeria

During the month of November, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is commemorating a major milestone, marking 60 years since its founding by President John F. Kennedy. Nigeria was among the first countries in the world to receive development assistance under the Agency in 1961.

For six decades, USAID has built its reputation as the world’s premier international development organization by partnering with more than 100 countries to strengthen communities and improve lives.

“On this anniversary of President Kennedy’s vision of the United States as the world’s leader in providing a helping hand to countries struggling to develop,” Mission Director Anne Patterson said, “I am proud to represent USAID in Nigeria, a country with tremendous potential to be the leader in West Africa if it can overcome its many challenges.”

In Nigeria and around the world, USAID partners with some of the world’s top development agencies, the United Nations, local non-governmental and civil society organizations, and host country governments to help save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen governance, and improve health, education, and economic prosperity.

In 2021, USAID will spend $787 million in development and humanitarian assistance in Nigeria.

Perhaps its biggest ongoing success in Nigeria has been its response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that has wrought the country since the 1980s. Through funding from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Walter Reed Army Research Institute, culminating in a 2019-2020 “surge” that greatly reduced a rising trend in vulnerable areas, especially in combination with ongoing tuberculosis and new COVID-19 pandemics. Today USAID supports testing for 2.4 million Nigerians a year and provides free life-saving antiretroviral therapy for 89 per cent of the nearly 400,000 individuals who have tested positive.

Another 62 million Nigerian mothers and children benefited from USAID health programs last year through training of public health workers, increasing access to quality medicines, and improving leadership in the health sector with a focus on primary health care.

USAID support has protected 68 million Nigerians from malaria by donations of mosquito nets through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which has contributed to a drop in child deaths by 16 per cent over 10 years and helped reduce malaria prevalence from 42 per cent to 23 per cent.

Since 2015, USAID interventions in Education have helped millions of children and youth improve their lives through better early grade reading skills, and focus especially on more than 340,000 children whose education was suspended through conflict.

Through Feed the Future, 2.3 million smallholder farmers benefited from improved products, improved techniques, and access to markets and financing through USAID agriculture programs last year. Power Africa reforms will improve an enabling environment and increase private investment in the energy sector, and strengthen the management of water systems to increase access to reliable water and sanitation.

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