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How Asia develops is critical to U.S. economic and security interests. A leading U.S. export market, Asia is projected to remain the world’s fastest growing region through the next decade, presenting tremendous untapped market potential. Yet, at the same time, Asia grapples with immense development challenges -- including COVID-19 -- that threaten to derail this promising future. 

USAID plays a vital role in partnering with the countries of Asia to ensure that these development decisions help realize their long-term success and move them forward on their journeys to self-reliance. USAID defines this end-goal as the day when they are able to plan, finance and implement solutions to solve their own development challenges. We help foster inclusive and equitable growth, promote and strengthen democratic institutions, and improve natural resource management, all of which are key to helping partner countries achieve sustainable self-reliance. USAID assistance helps shape a more stable and prosperous Asia region, and advances U.S. security and economic priorities.

Despite the region’s growing wealth, income inequality across much of Asia is rising, further entrenching the nearly half of the world’s extreme poor who live there. Countries are constrained by weak regulatory environments, unsustainable debt, lack of infrastructure, and corruption — conditions that impede the power of enterprise-led development and undermine the long-term stability of our partners.

Asia is also experiencing a wave of closing democratic space, rising autocracy, and increasing religious intolerance. Instability, conflict, and violence that plague some places render any development progress fragile. Asia’s natural disasters — which number more than any other region of the world — frequently test the resilience of millions upon millions of the world’s most vulnerable. Furthermore, Asia remains a hotspot for emerging pandemic threats; widespread illegal trafficking helps fuel transnational crime and terrorism; and severe natural resource degradation threatens livelihoods and food security.

For more information on our past work dating back to USAID's creation, visit the Development Experience Clearinghouse.

Last updated: January 21, 2021

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