U.S. Agency for International Development: Foreign Aid Philosophy
The American economist and political theorist Walt Whitman Rostow had an influential role in determining how USAID would carry out its work. Rostow was a strong proponent of capitalism and free enterprise and a steadfast opponent of communism. One of the first U.S. Agency for International Development programs was the 1961 Alliance for Progress, which sought better economic cooperation between the nations of North America and South America. The charter that established the alliance called for, among other things, an annual increase in per capita income of 2.5 percent, the elimination of adult illiteracy by 1970, price stability, land reforms, and equitable income distribution.
Early USAID projects in Africa were designed to provide stability to nations that had newly declared their independence from European colonizers. In Asia, projects were primarily designed to counteract the spread of communism and the influence of the People’s Republic of China.