Five Years of USAID Forward

Five years ago, USAID undertook an ambitious reform agenda called USAID Forward, an effort to strengthen the Agency by embracing new partnerships, investing in the catalytic role of innovation and demanding a relentless focus on results. Taken together, these reforms represent the best of American ideals abroad, while advancing the security and prosperity of Americans at home. In line with our commitment to transparency, we are releasing our fourth set of data detailing USAID’s results for 2015.

USAID Forward At a Glance

The reforms are focused on three main areas:

  • Deliver results on a meaningful scale through a strengthened USAID
  • Promote sustainable development through high-impact partnerships and local solutions
  • Identify and scale up innovative, breakthrough solutions to intractable development challenges


The Agency has made significant progress since USAID Forward was first announced in 2010, the same year as the release of the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development and the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. With the FY15 data release—here’s how far we’ve come:

  • We’re improving our focus and selectivity with our country development cooperation strategies, which 60 out of 62 USAID Missions have completed.
  • Worldwide, we’ve completed over 1,000 evaluations by external teams—98% of which are used by USAID staff to inform decisions including designing follow-on projects, making mid-course corrections, developing country strategies, scaling-up projects, allocating budgets USAID evaluations are available to the public on the Development Experience Clearinghouse (
  • We are investing in our staff and strengthening the discipline of development, with USAID’s Mentoring Program using innovation and expertise to build capacity and enhance the professional development of more than 900 staff during the past fiscal year with a planned increase of 10% per year.  
  • USAID Missions are using, strengthening and partnering with local systems – governments, civil society, and private sector together – to achieve sustainable development results.  Overall, we obligated 27% of our funding to local actors in FY 2015, including cash transfers and qualifying trust funds.
  • We’ve made a critical shift in the way we deliver assistance, including substantially strengthening both our Development Credit Authority (DCA) credit guarantees and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
  • Over the course of USAID Forward, USAID Mission Global Development Alliances leveraged over $1.5 billion in new resources from the private sector towards our development goals.  
  • Since the launch of USAID Forward, the size and impact of USAID’s DCA credit guarantees has more than doubled – in FY 2015 alone, through the use of DCA guarantees, $695 million of private capital was made available in support of USAID’s development objectives through 46 guarantees with 45 financial partners.  
  • USAID has fostered over 420 development innovations through the U.S. Global Development Lab, improving the lives of over 24.5 million people.
  • We are bringing new perspectives to long-standing development challenges: with over 10,000 applicants for innovation grants, 60 percent of which had never before received USAID funding and 25 percent of Grand Challenge applicants coming from developing countries.

Moving USAID Forward

At USAID, we are continually working to institutionalize the discipline of development and bring together the best and most powerful aspects of America with young people, entrepreneurs, and community leaders around the world. We will continue to develop meaningful and productive partnerships with businesses, universities, NGOs, host governments, local partners and more to enhance and sustain our efforts for years to come.  

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