As neighbors, the U.S. works closely with Mexico to address significant bilateral and cross-border issues. The U.S. began providing assistance to Mexico in 1951 focusing on technical assistance, training, as well as food security and housing guarantee programs. The U.S. also supported the creation of a Mexican counterpart agency to the U.S. Geological Survey, a vocational rehabilitation service, partnerships between Mexican and U.S. universities to strengthen faculties, and innovative service delivery models related to primary health care and business development.
In the 1970s, USAID’s program in Mexico focused on population and family planning. In 1977, Mexico’s annual population growth rate was 3.4percent and by 2004, it had been reduced to 1.4 percent. USAID programs later expanded to cover other issues, including agriculture, food assistance, micro-enterprise development, and disaster response.
In the 1990s, USAID’s portfolio transitioned to focus on environment, support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, partnerships with Mexican organizations, and support for policy reform. Some key successes included the establishment of the Mexican Conservation Fund, learning exchanges with other governments focused on a wide variety of development issues, and the control of tuberculosis outbreaks along the U.S.-Mexico border. USAID also began a series of university and state-level partnership programs and initiated a regional program to support scholarships for indigenous populations.
In 2008, USAID began supporting programs under the Merida Initiative, a joint strategy for regional security cooperation between Mexico and the United States that contributes to efforts to combat organized crime. Today, USAID programs support Mexican initiatives related to the rule of law and human rights, crime and violence prevention, global climate change, and economic competitiveness. These programs build on the strong partnerships and relationships with the Mexican government, the private sector, and civil society that have evolved over the years.
Last updated: September 22, 2014