Ecuador is among the top ten megadiverse countries in the world. It is home to the Amazon rainforest, Andean paramos and cloud forests, and the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador’s rich cultural diversity and natural resources are the backbone of the country’s sustainable development. Activities in agriculture, fisheries, and extractive industries drive the economy.
Despite Ecuador’s status as a middle income country, the country has experienced a growing economic imbalance for over a decade which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rural villages, where large percentages of indigenous and other marginalized groups live, further lag in development. There is also significant income and regional disparity. Key elements hindering more equitable development include inadequate infrastructure, lack of service delivery in rural areas, and a high vulnerability to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic explosions, and floods.
Ecuador continues to encounter significant development challenges. These include strengthening democratic structures, protecting the environment, mitigating the impacts of climate change, creating favorable conditions for accelerated economic growth (including investment, employment, and integrating a large influx of migrants into its society and economy), and addressing historical social and economic inequalities. To address these challenges and advance the country’s economic and social development, USAID partners with the Government of Ecuador, civil society, academia, and historically marginalized stakeholders–including youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQIA+, persons with disabilities, Montubios, and Afro-descendants. USAID’s programming in Ecuador is rooted in the belief that integrating marginalized voices into the design, implementation, and evaluation of our programming is essential to achieving inclusive sustainable development that provides equitable opportunities for all people to thrive.
Through this partnership, USAID plays an important role in preserving Ecuador’s biodiversity, responding to natural disasters, and strengthening civil society and citizen engagement with government actors. USAID’s development priorities in Ecuador address climate change, democracy, rights, and governance, energy transformation, economic reactivation, and preparing and responding to humanitarian crises. USAID’s work promotes the active engagement of all citizens and civil society to address corruption and reinforce transparency, empowering the people of Ecuador to protect their rights. Programming supports economic reactivation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and amplifies opportunities for the integration of migrant populations.
USAID works in Ecuador to mitigate the impacts of climate change, conserve biodiversity, and increase access to sustainable energy sources. USAID combats corruption and criminal activity profiting from timber, wildlife, mineral, and fisheries resources. USAID also works in Ecuador to provide sustainable economic alternatives to illegal resource extraction by reducing barriers to private investment and increasing market linkages for impacted communities. Programs strengthen governing institutions and develop resilient and diversified power systems.
USAID believes in a better, safer Ecuador for all, and seeks to ensure Ecuadorians are a part of their development journey every step of the way.