Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Mr. Almas-ullah, a 41-year old farmer in eastern Afghanistan, has been farming poppies since his childhood. Unhappy with growing the illegal crop, he decided he wanted to earn a legitimate living.  “Poppy farming did not significantly improve our lives. I didn’t have peace of mind and always felt guilty,” said Almas-ullah.

USAID has been instrumental in developing Kazakhstan’s transition to a free market economy since its departure from the Soviet Union in 1991. With USAID assistance Kazakhstan adopted international accounting standards, privatized state-owned assets, and opened stock and bond markets in 1999. Two years after these markets opened, a local bank named Lariba decided to use Kazakhstan’s capital market to obtain the capital necessary to expand its mortgage product. 

Children in Goshta now study inside classrooms instead of tents thanks to the efforts of the community and the cooperation of the provincial and district governments.
“Our children used to stroll through the streets, fighting and bullying each other,” explained community elder Haji Delawar Khan. “Now they are studying at Goshta School and are busy with school studies.”

Like many farmers, those in the Nyangao Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) in the Lindi region of Tanzania lacked the collateral needed to access credit from banks. Unlike other sectors, farmers have a short window of opportunity to profit from their yields every season. In addition, farmers are forced to sell immediately at harvest -when prices are low - to prevent perishable crops from spoiling.

Van Oers, a green bean processing company in Senegal, flourished on the foresight that exporting produce to Europe during the winter when northern farmers are stymied by the cold is profitable.

Despite the company’s success, Van Oers wanted to expand further but found that commercial banks in Senegal would not provide it with loans because of the perceived risk of agribusiness.  In 2009, a USAID loan guarantee shifted the possibilities for Van Oers and 41 other small and medium sized enterprises that were granted commercial loans to fulfill their business goals.

In 2003, CAFERWA, a small coffee company in the central African country of Rwanda, made a strategic decision to enter the specialty coffee market. CAFERWA recognized that selling specialty coffee on the international market would increase the company’s revenue.

To produce the improved coffee, CAFERWA needed funds to repair their coffee washing station. The only bank that was willing to extend a loan was the Rwanda Development Bank, a state-owned bank.  Private banks perceived lending to agribusinesses as too risky.

In 2005, Safebond Company Limited, a two-year old shore-handling and off-loading company, won a contract to provide services for the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority. The government of Ghana would maintain ownership of the port, while Safebond would be responsible for all the loading, offloading, storage, and management of freight cargo. Despite this victory for such a young company, one challenge remained: Safebond needed $600,000 in financing to pur-chase six forklifts to fulfill its contract.


Last updated: January 03, 2014