Middle East


We partner with the people of the Middle East to build a peaceful and prosperous future. Our programs have directly contributed to improvements in infrastructure, health, education, governance, and economic growth. 

Today, we see in the Middle East a region of great hope and opportunity but also one facing daunting challenges, including:

  • Youth bulge:  nearly two-thirds of the population is under age 30

  • Unemployment:  highest rate of youth unemployment in the world, with 24 percent of young people out of work

  • Gender equality:  just 26 percent of women in the Middle East participate in the workforce, compared with 54 percent elsewhere

USAID offers tools that can help the people of the Middle East meet some of these challenges, develop opportunities, and increase the ability for all to participate more fully in the political and economic life of their societies. 

USAID’s assistance not only delivers on America’s values; it constitutes an investment in the safety, security, and prosperity of this critically important region. USAID’s development experience allows us to address the parallel needs that fueled the Arab Spring: people’s desire to seek new opportunities, to participate in decisions that affect their lives, and to work in economies and be part of societies that are free of corruption.

In TunisiaLibyaEgypt and Yemen, we are seizing the new openings available to partner with these countries. USAID is helping to strengthen governmental institutions to ensure that they can address economic grievances and provide for the legitimate needs of their citizens. USAID also is embracing new and varied local partners in civil society and the private sector. For example, in Egypt since the revolution, 40 percent of USAID grant recipients are new partners for USAID.

USAID's priorities in the Middle East are to:

  • Enhance participatory democracy and improve transparency and accountability

  • Expand inclusive economic growth

  • Engage civil society, youth, and women

  • Increase employment and education opportunities to give youth job skills and roles in society

  • Support a comprehensive peace in the Middle East

  • Advance U.S. initiatives related to Global HealthFeed the Future, and Global Climate Change


  • Legacy of support:  We played a historic role in the Middle East, helping eradicate malaria in Jordan and playing a key role in the restoration and reopening the Suez Canal in Egypt.

  • Building peace:  A USAID-supported women’s group reached 23,000 Libyans with an outreach campaign that promoted reconciliation and unity.

  • Enhancing opportunities:  The United States has funded the construction and rehabilitation of schools and health clinics over the past year for Palestinians in an area of critical need in the West Bank, where U.S. efforts were possible only with the cooperation of Israeli and Palestinian officials, working together.

  • Supporting democracy:  In Yemen, USAID trained journalists, men and women, in interpreting government policy and crafting articles that effectively explain how policies impact targeted audiences, thus enhancing the role of media in good governance and promotion of civic participation.

  • Investing in youth:  USAID’s higher education scholarship program in Lebanon provides full, four-year scholarships to meritorious, economically disadvantaged Lebanese public school graduates to study at top Lebanese universities. 

Related Links

USAID and Western Union Launch the Libya Diaspora Marketplace

Conflict Management and Mitigation Program Fact Sheet [PDF]


Last updated: October 17, 2014

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