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Ecuador is one of the five most ecologically diverse countries in the world.  USAID began its work in Ecuador in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy created the agency.  The United States Government, however, has been cooperating with Ecuador as early as 1942, when the two countries established a formal bilateral agreement.

Over the decades, our mutual goal has been the development and stability of the country and its people.  This partnership has produced improvements in the lives of millions of Ecuadorians, through increased economic opportunities, a stronger democracy, the provision of improved health services, better education, and protection of Ecuador’s world class biodiversity.

In the 1970s, USAID’s work focused on health, nutrition, basic education and family planning.  Economic development projects focused on improving agricultural productivity and promoting small and medium-sized companies to generate employment and increase incomes for vulnerable groups.

Ecuador’s return to democracy in 1979 heralded increased U.S. assistance, especially focused on multi-sectoral projects. .  Rural development projects incorporated aspects of agriculture, health and nutrition, drinking water, and environmental sanitation.  Integrated urban projects built public housing and urban infrastructure, and established a national training system for civil servants.

During the 1990s, USAID’s programs addressed non-traditional export production and increased access for entrepreneurs to micro-enterprise services such as savings and credit to generate sustainable growth. The environment also became a high priority for USAID during that time.  Ecuador’s biodiversity is of regional and global importance and its ecosystems are threatened through human activity including deforestation, spreading settlements, and illegal fishing.  Initiatives were launched to create alternatives to the expansion of the agricultural frontier in order to reduce forest loss and cut back on indiscriminate use of natural resources.  Projects focused on environmental education and development of policies promoting sustainable resource management.  Management models were developed in protected areas such as Cayambe-Coca, Cotacachi-Cayapas, Antisana, and Galápagos National Park.

Today, USAID’s programs continue to support the Government of Ecuador by promoting economic opportunities, improving the living conditions of thousands of citizens, advancing democratic values, and supporting the conservation of Ecuador’s unique biodiversity.

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Last updated: December 16, 2013

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