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Biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid

  • Biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid
    1/ Alex Sky // Pixabay

    Biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid

    Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 almost 60 years ago in order to create the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an independent U.S. agency responsible for providing foreign aid and developmental assistance worldwide. USAID, along with the U.S. State Department, has since provided billions of dollars in foreign military and humanitarian assistance. The United States is now the largest donor of food aid in the world; although while most Americans think their country allots around a quarter of its budget to humanitarian assistance, only about 1% of the annual federal budget actually goes to foreign aid.

    The U.S. State Department and USAID in 2017 asked for $50.1 billion in funding to promote “national security strategy and foreign policy priorities.” President Trump has criticized the amount the U.S. spends on foreign assistance and threatened to cut aid to countries that don’t support U.S. policies. Still, his administration backed off plans to bypass Congress to do so.

    Using data from ForeignAssistance.gov and USAID, Stacker created a list of the 50 countries that received the most U.S. foreign aid in 2017. The USAID budget is proposed in the spring of the previous year; for example, the 2019 USAID budget was proposed in March 2018. 

    Here, click through to see the top 50 recipients of U.S. foreign aid in 2017.

    ALSO: States receiving the most federal aid

  • #50. Peru
    2/ Pedro Szekely // Wikicommons

    #50. Peru

    2017 obligations: $122.5 million (28% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($50 million), other social infrastructure and services ($17 million), agriculture ($15 million)

    The United States established a diplomatic relationship with Peru in 1827 that was strengthened in 2009 with the United States–Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA). Since then, the goal of USAID-led support has been to give farmers an alternative livelihood in areas with coca (the plant base of cocaine), to provide sustainable natural resource management, and to reduce corruption. In 2017, USAID helped Peru’s National Forestry Wildlife System launch a new system that would help track timber and stop illegal shipments.

  • #49. Micronesia (Federated States)
    3/ Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade // Flickr

    #49. Micronesia (Federated States)

    2017 obligations: $125.1 million (11% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: general budget support ($49 million); education, level unspecified ($29 million); health, general ($24 million)

    The United States has had a diplomatic and cooperative relationship with the islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) since World War II, when FSM became part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. The United States is set to provide more than $110 million in assistance annually until the fiscal year 2023. Grants focus on education, health, infrastructure, and providing clean water. Money is also directed to a jointly managed trust fund.

  • #48. Myanmar
    4/ Corto Maltese // Wikicommons

    #48. Myanmar

    2017 obligations: $148.4 million (15% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($37 million), emergency response ($36 million), agriculture ($14 million)

    Since 2013, the United States has provided more than $68 million to strengthen the democratic process in Myanmar (also known as Burma), but the country’s attempt to transition to a democracy resulted in a massive human rights and humanitarian crisis in the Rakhine State starting in August 2017. More than 650,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh. In May 2018, the United States allocated an additional $44 million—bringing the total to $299 million for the fiscal year 2017—to assist Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and others affected by the violence and conflict.

  • #47. Vietnam
    5/ Viethavvh // Good Free Photos

    #47. Vietnam

    2017 obligations: $149.7 million (5% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($37 million); HIV/AIDS ($31 million); general environmental protection ($28 million)

    The United States established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1950. Shortly afterward, the country fell into years of civil war. The United States did not recognize North Vietnam and fought with South Vietnam against the government during the Vietnam War, a conflict that didn’t end until 1975. Currently, U.S. assistance goes toward the Maritime Security Initiative, the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, and foreign military financing. In 2017, the United States and Vietnam established a working group for the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative, which provides humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

  • #46. Turkey
    6/ Ben Morlock // Wikicommons

    #46. Turkey

    2017 obligations: $152.6 million (1% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($147 million), government and civil society ($2 million), post-secondary education ($1 million)

    The majority of USAID funds for the fiscal year 2017 were allocated to the Syria Humanitarian Response. The United States and Turkey have been NATO allies since 1952, but the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated in recent years. In 2018, President Donald Trump ordered the doubling of tariffs on Turkish imports of steel and aluminum, straining the relationship that had already suffered after Turkey refused to release Andrew Brunson, an American pastor arrested and charged with espionage in Turkey during the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  • #45. Philippines
    7/ Bernard Spragg // Flickr

    #45. Philippines

    2017 obligations: $153.8 million (47% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($59 million); general environmental protection ($27 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($18 million)

    The Philippines and the United States are development, trade, and security partners. USAID funds are primarily used to help the country maintain stability in conflict-affected areas and to help with disaster preparation. In May 2017, conflict broke out between armed groups and the government of the Philippines in Marawi, and the United States allocated $59.1 million toward humanitarian and recovery work in and around the area.

  • #44. Côte d'Ivoire
    8/ Oluniyi Ajao // Flickr

    #44. Côte d'Ivoire

    2017 obligations: $163.5 million (1% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($114 million), basic education ($15 million), basic health ($11 million)

    The United States is working with the government of Côte d’Ivoire to help it become an emerging country by 2020. The majority of funds are allocated toward the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The CDC started partnering with the country in 1987, expanding PEPFAR in 2004. Around 2.8% of the country’s population between the ages of 15 and 49 have HIV (3.9% women and 1.9% men). In 2003, it was 7%.

  • #43. Russia
    9/ Thomas Depenbusch // Flickr

    #43. Russia

    2017 obligations: $167.8 million (785% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($159 million); government and civil society ($7 million), emergency response ($2 million)

    The United States and Russia have historically had a competitive, but diplomatic, relationship. U.S. funding in 2017 went toward combating terrorism and nuclear arms proliferation, with some funding for health and medical services.

  • #42. Rwanda
    10/ Dylan Waters // Flickr

    #42. Rwanda

    2017 obligations: $169.8 million (37% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($54 million), emergency response ($26 million), agriculture ($21 million)

    Rwanda and the United States developed a diplomatic relationship in 1962. In 1994, the country experienced the most rapid genocide in history. More than a 500,000 Rwandan Tutsis were targeted and murdered in an atrocity some say the American government, along with other developed countries, could have prevented. Since then, the United States has provided PEPFAR funds for HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as support for basic needs like food and health services.

  • #41. Niger
    11/ Kibi86 // Pixabay

    #41. Niger

    2017 obligations: $173.0 million (19% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($77 million); developmental food aid/food security assistance ($43 million); conflict, peace, and security ($25 million)

    Following its independence from France, Niger—one of the poorest countries in the world—developed a diplomatic relationship with the United States in 1960. The U.S. provides funds for emergency assistance to help Niger recover from natural disasters, as well as agricultural assistance under the Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) initiative.

  • #40. Honduras
    12/ Maria Michelle // Pixabay

    #40. Honduras

    2017 obligations: $181.0 million (42% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($82 million), agriculture ($23 million), basic education ($18 million)

    In October 2018, President Donald Trump threatened to cut off or “substantially reduce” the amount of aid the United States gives to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, claiming the countries “were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.” The majority of the 2017 assistance went toward reducing crime, violence, government corruption, and high levels of poverty and food insecurity.

  • #39. Ghana
    13/ Lapping // Pixabay

    #39. Ghana

    2017 obligations: $184.3 million (74% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: basic health ($47 million); agriculture ($44 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($20 million)

    The United States is helping Ghana in its efforts to become a middle-income country. The U.S. provides basic food and health assistance to Ghana through Feed the Future (FTF), the Global Health Initiative, and Power Africa, as well as through support from the regional Trade Africa program.

  • #38. Nepal
    14/ Jeanne Menjoulet // Flickr

    #38. Nepal

    2017 obligations: $192.8 million (1% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: basic education ($31 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($27 million); energy ($24 million)

    The United States and Nepal have a strong diplomatic relationship that started in 1948. In 2017, resources were allocated to the government of Nepal to support six main categories: housing and infrastructure, livelihoods and food security, health and education services, protecting vulnerable populations, local governance, and disaster risk management.

  • #37. Sudan
    15/ EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation // Flickr

    #37. Sudan

    2017 obligations: $193.4 million (37% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($184 million), government and civil society ($5 million), operating expenses ($3 million)

    The main goal of the United States in Sudan is to promote peace, but the two countries haven’t always had a good relationship. In 1993, the United States designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, and suspended U.S. embassy operations in 1996; they resumed in 2002. The United States helped negotiate the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). In 2011, South Sudan became an independent country. USAID is the largest donor of food assistance in the country, which has been devastated by conflict for decades.

  • #36. Zimbabwe
    16/ Gary Bembridge // Flickr

    #36. Zimbabwe

    2017 obligations: $194.1 million (26% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($94 million), emergency response ($23 million), basic health ($21 million)

    The United States has had strained political relations with Zimbabwe for years. But in 2017, President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year reign ended, signaling a potential new era in diplomacy. While the United States has imposed political sanctions on Zimbabwe over the years, it has also provided humanitarian aid through emergency and health services. USAID funding to Zimbabwe has focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment through PEPFAR. The HIV prevalence rate has declined from 26% to 14% since 1999. The number of malaria cases decreased by 73% from 2006 to 2015.

  • #35. Tunisia
    17/ Alex Sky // Pixabay

    #35. Tunisia

    2017 obligations: $194.2 million (33% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($100 million); government and civil society ($57 million); banking and financial services ($20 million)

    In 2015, Tunisia—birthplace of the Arab Spring—formed a democratically elected government. The United States’ main objective is to provide support that will aid in the formation of a stable government and society.

  • #34. Senegal
    18/ Jeff Ataway // Wikicommons

    #34. Senegal

    2017 obligations: $196.9 million (97% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: basic education ($53 million), basic health ($30 million), agriculture ($24 million)

    The United States and Senegal established a diplomatic relationship in 1960. The two countries work together to promote peace in Africa. Due to the lack of jobs for the large population of young people, U.S. aid focuses on increasing educational opportunities, in addition to providing basic health services and supporting agricultural productivity.

  • #33. Liberia
    19/ UK Dept for International Development // Flickr

    #33. Liberia

    2017 obligations: $212.4 million (55% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: basic education ($65 million), basic health ($37 million), government and civil society ($27 million)

    An Ebola outbreak in 2014 dramatically stunted Liberia’s growth and development. In 2017, much of U.S. humanitarian aid went toward services aimed at strengthening literacy and education, while also providing health and medical services.

  • #32. Mali
    20/ Ferdinand Reus // Wikicommons

    #32. Mali

    2017 obligations: $230.5 million (10% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($37 million), basic health ($37 million), basic education ($37 million)

    The United States is committed to restoring peace and strengthening health and education services in Mali, which is near the bottom of the Human Development Index. The country is also still recovering from the 2012 Tuareg rebellion.

  • #31. Guatemala
    21/ Frank_am_main // Flickr

    #31. Guatemala

    2017 obligations: $257.3 million (13% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($62 million), other social infrastructure and services ($30 million), basic education ($28 million)

    U.S. assistance in Guatemala aims to combat violence, poverty, and chronic malnutrition, all factors that make it difficult for the country to develop. Guatemala is also extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change.

  • #30. Bangladesh
    22/ Max Pixel

    #30. Bangladesh

    2017 obligations: $260.9 million (1% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($50 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($41 million); basic health ($38 million)

    Bangladesh is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in Asia outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan. U.S. assistance provides emergency services through the NGO Health Service Delivery Project (NHSDP), which helps the country’s agriculture growth, builds infrastructure, and trains teachers, health care providers, and soldiers. The United States is also aiming to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve health and education, and combat violence in the country.

  • #29. Indonesia
    23/ Thomas Depenbusch // Flickr

    #29. Indonesia

    2017 obligations: $277.1 million (25% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: basic health ($81 million), government and civil society ($57 million), general environmental protection ($34 million)

    In 1949, the United States established a diplomatic relationship with Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim-majority nation and third-largest democracy. In 2017, U.S. aid funded the LESTARI Project, a program aimed at reducing greenhouse gas production and preserving biodiversity. Foreign aid also supported sanitation efforts and services for maternal and newborn health.

  • #28. Mexico
    24/ Raul Morales // Good Free Photos

    #28. Mexico

    2017 obligations: $289.9 million (231% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($211 million), other social infrastructure and services ($47 million), general environmental protection ($15 million)

    Despite President Donald Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants and repeated call for a border wall, the United States and Mexico continue to have a positive diplomatic relationship. After Canada, Mexico is the U.S.’s second-largest export market and is the third-largest trading partner. Through the Merida Initiative, U.S. assistance helps support Mexico’s efforts to weaken criminal organizations, reform law enforcement institutions, and secure the border.

  • #27. Malawi
    25/ Kevin Walsh // Flickr

    #27. Malawi

    2017 obligations: $304.1 million (28% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($94 million), emergency response ($41 million), basic health ($31 million)

    After 1994, Malawi transitioned to a multi-party democracy that strengthened the relationship with the United States. More than half of the Malawi population lives below the poverty line, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. The United States supports health and medical service delivery, including through PEPFAR. Only about half of children finish primary school, and only 15% of girls are enrolled in secondary school, so U.S. aid also goes toward education. To increase reading skills and comprehension in primary schools, the National Reading Program, supported by USAID, aims to improve teacher training and provide textbooks to more than 5,000 Malawi schools.

  • #26. Haiti
    26/ Pixabay

    #26. Haiti

    2017 obligations: $306.8 million (19% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($92 million), HIV/AIDS ($62 million), basic education ($25 million)

    In 2010, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake and experienced a cholera outbreak. The United States sent emergency response aid to help residents recover, and long-term aid has helped support jobs, education, and infrastructure. In 2016, Haiti was battered by Hurricane Matthew. After the storm, the United States sent emergency supplies, including blankets, hygiene kits, and kitchen sets, to help the country and people recover. The United States is also committed to improving medical and health services through programs like PEPFAR.

  • #25. West Bank/Gaza
    27/ One Armed Man // Wikicommons

    #25. West Bank/Gaza

    2017 obligations: $399.0 million (4% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($85 million), other social infrastructure and services ($83 million), government and civil society ($76 million)

    The United States is still trying to negotiate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while helping prepare Palestine for the future ability to govern and provide basic services like clean water. USAID assistance is aimed at providing emergency services to Palestinian people while strengthening public sector institutions and improving infrastructure, education, and health services.

  • #24. Zambia
    28/ No Attribution required // Pixabay

    #24. Zambia

    2017 obligations: $418.5 million (6% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($288 million); basic health ($46 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($42 million)

    Child malnutrition and rural poverty levels in Zambia are among the highest in the world. HIV/AIDS is also a major health crisis. In 2016, there were 1.2 million people living with HIV in the country, including pregnant mothers. The United States provides access to antiretroviral medication through PEPFAR and offers other health services to combat diseases like malaria and tuberculosis.

  • #23. Benin
    29/ Christoph Wolf // Wikicommons

    #23. Benin

    2017 obligations: $418.8 million (1034% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: energy ($319 million), operating expenses ($41 million), basic education ($22 million)

    The United States and Benin entered into a diplomatic relationship in 1960. Much of U.S. funding goes to strengthen Benin’s ability to produce electricity. Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the United States provides assistance to strengthen Benin’s national electricity utility, attract private sector investment, and fund infrastructure investments in electric generation and distribution, as well as off-grid electrification for poor and unserved households.

  • #22. Morocco
    30/ Chante 7 // Wikicommons

    #22. Morocco

    2017 obligations: $490.1 million (287% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: other multisector ($152 million), secondary education ($111 million), post-secondary education ($106 million)

    The United States and Morocco have had a collaborative relationship since 1957. Morocco has faced challenges including turmoil from the Arab Spring, an underemployed workforce, and a literacy rate of 55%. U.S. assistance is aimed at increasing education and providing a more transparent political process.

  • #21. Congo
    31/ Monusco // Flickr

    #21. Congo

    2017 obligations: $493.9 million (9% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($194 million), basic health ($58 million), developmental food aid/food security assistance ($57 million)

    Congo continues to face political turmoil and disease. In December 2018, an election to replace Joseph Kabila, who has been president for almost 18 years, could not be held due to burned voting machines and an Ebola outbreak. U.S. aid helps provide emergency assistance and aims to improve access to health and education services while helping make the country more stable and secure.

  • #20. Lebanon
    32/ Marvikad // Flickr

    #20. Lebanon

    2017 obligations: $505.4 million (21% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($276 million); conflict, peace, and security ($93 million); basic education ($34 million)

    With its foreign aid, the United States is supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to fight against and mitigate the effects of Iranian, Hizballah, and Sunni extremism in the country. Other U.S. aid is aimed at improving education, providing clean water, and creating jobs.

  • #19. Ukraine
    33/ Deleuran // Pixabay

    #19. Ukraine

    2017 obligations: $506.7 million (1% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($321 million); government and civil society ($60 million), HIV/AIDS ($28 million)

    The United States has provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since 2014 when Russia annexed the country's Crimean peninsula. Much of the U.S. foreign aid in the country assists the country’s military and security services. Funding also supports nuclear security and nonproliferation controls, as well as the Global Health Initiative (GHI), and the Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI).

  • #18. South Africa
    34/ South African Tourism // Flickr

    #18. South Africa

    2017 obligations: $511.5 million (14% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($428 million), operating expenses ($22 million), basic health ($16 million)

    South Africa is the second-largest economy in Africa, but it faces challenges of mass unemployment, health concerns, poor education, and violent crime. Much of the U.S. humanitarian aid is aimed at HIV/AIDS medical services, including through PEPFAR.

  • #17. Colombia
    35/ Norma Gomez // Wikicommons

    #17. Colombia

    2017 obligations: $517.6 million (59% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: government and civil society ($203 million); other social infrastructure and services ($108 million); conflict, peace, and security ($71 million)

    The United States and Colombia are diplomatic and trade partners. Colombia is well-known for cocaine production, and the United States is committed to providing Colombians with an alternative to criminal activities around narcotic production and trafficking. In 2016, the government of Colombia signed a peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which bodes well for the country’s stability.

  • #16. Mozambique
    36/ David Stanley // Flickr

    #16. Mozambique

    2017 obligations: $580.0 million (13% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($400 million), basic health ($48 million), agriculture ($31 million)

    Mozambique is one of the least-developed countries in the world, and the United States is the largest bilateral donor to the country. The United States sends assistance for health and education through PEPFAR, the Basic Education Program, and the President’s Malaria Initiative.

  • #15. Somalia
    37/ Siphon // Wikicommons

    #15. Somalia

    2017 obligations: $583.8 million (111% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($397 million); conflict, peace, and security ($141 million); government and civil society ($32 million)

    After a decade of civil war, Somalia’s central government collapsed in 1991 and the United States closed its embassy in the country. In 2013, the United States formally recognized the new Federal Government of Somalia (FGS); President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was elected in 2017. The primary objective of the United States in Somalia is to strengthen security through military and police and promote peace in the country.

  • #14. Yemen
    38/ Yeowatzup // Wikicommons

    #14. Yemen

    2017 obligations: $595.2 million (95% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($559 million); government and civil society ($9 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($8 million)

    The ongoing conflict in Yemen was sparked by the Houthi rebel group in 2014 taking over most of the western portion of the country has led to a humanitarian crisis. The United Nations estimates that 75% of the population, or more than 22 million people, need humanitarian assistance. USAID and the Bureau for Population Refugees and Migration help provide emergency food assistance, medical treatment for children and pregnant women, and basic necessities for displaced families.

  • #13. Tanzania
    39/ Niki159 // Pixabay

    #13. Tanzania

    2017 obligations: $626.5 million (0% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($319 million), basic health ($77 million), agriculture ($60 million)

    Tanzania and the United States have been diplomatic partners for more than 50 years, but the United States has voiced concern about the country’s cutbacks of human rights and civil liberties, especially among the LGBTQ community. The United States provides health services for HIV/AIDS and malaria through PEPFAR and the President’s Malaria Initiative.

  • #12. Uganda
    40/ CIAT // Flickr

    #12. Uganda

    2017 obligations: $740.8 million (0% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($327 million), emergency response ($191 million), basic health ($53 million)

    Years of human rights abuses have strained the relationship between Uganda and the United States, but the U.S. still provides development and security assistance to the country, which is a vital partner in stabilizing the East African region. Much of the aid goes toward providing antiretroviral medication for the almost one million Ugandans who are HIV-positive and helping improve services under the Global Health Initiative (GHI). AIDS and malaria present the largest health threats in the country and account for more than 50% of the national health budget.

  • #11. Pakistan
    41/ Tahsin Anwar Ali // Wikicommons

    #11. Pakistan

    2017 obligations: $836.8 million (7% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($310 million); government and civil society ($108 million); basic education ($70 million)

    In 2018, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to complain about Pakistan’s alleged ineffectiveness in fighting terrorism. Later that year, the United States withheld about $800 million from Pakistan. The country, which borders Afghanistan, has received billions in American aid while also harboring leaders of the Taliban, making for a strained relationship with the United States. Still, Pakistan is considered "critical to U.S. counterterrorism efforts."

  • #10. Nigeria
    42/ Robert // Flickr

    #10. Nigeria

    2017 obligations: $851.9 million (19% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($398 million), HIV/AIDS ($184 million), basic health ($78 million)

    The United States and Nigeria—the world’s fourth-largest democracy—are political and economic partners. U.S. aid in Nigeria is used to provide humanitarian services in areas devastated by the terrorist group Boko Haram, reduce poverty, and to fund Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), as well as multiple malaria programs.

  • #9. Syria
    43/ Iyad // Pixabay

    #9. Syria

    2017 obligations: $891.0 million (3% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($834 million); conflict, peace, and security ($43 million); government and civil society ($9 million)

    Syria has been embroiled in a civil war for half a decade. In 2013, President Barack Obama sent about 2,000 U.S. troops to help fight against Islamic State militants in the country. The United States has supported the democratic path of Syria by pursuing a political transition and ceasefire through the U.N. Security Council and the International Syria Support Group (ISSG). In 2019, President Donald Trump repeatedly said he wants to withdraw American troops from Syria, an idea with which National Security Adviser John Bolton disagrees.

  • #8. South Sudan
    44/ USAID in Africa

    #8. South Sudan

    2017 obligations: $924.1 million (29% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($782 million); basic education ($21 million); maternal and child health, family planning ($20 million)

    In 2011, South Sudan became independent from Sudan. Conflict continued, and in 2015, the country signed the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Because of decades of conflict, USAID has increased humanitarian assistance and support for fundamental human needs, including access to water, health, and education.

  • #7. Kenya
    45/ Masai29 // Wikicommons

    #7. Kenya

    2017 obligations: $1.1 billion (7% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: HIV/AIDS ($571 million), emergency response ($168 million), basic health ($73 million)

    Most of Kenya’s aid is dedicated to medical, emergency, and health services, with AIDS relief funding from PEPFAR. Kenya is also a Relief-to-Development Transition (R2DT) Focus Country and receives funding to help drought-prone areas affected by climate change.

  • #6. Ethiopia
    46/ UK Dept for International Development // Flickr

    #6. Ethiopia

    2017 obligations: $1.1 billion (1% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: emergency response ($478 million), developmental food aid/food security assistance ($152 million), basic health ($112 million)

    The United States provided an additional $91 million to Ethiopia in August 2017 following a series of devastating droughts. U.S. aid also has been used to help herders transition to farming, provide startup funding for small businesses, fund job-skills training for Ethiopians in poverty, and promote nutritional education.

  • #5. Egypt
    47/ Ricardo Liberato // Wikicommons

    #5. Egypt

    2017 obligations: $1.5 billion (19% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($1300 million); post-secondary education ($35 million); banking and financial services ($29 million)

    The United States focuses its Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Egypt on helping the country defeat terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). The Economic Support Fund (ESF) goes toward programs that promote health, education, good governance, and economic growth.

  • #4. Jordan
    48/ David Stanley // Flickr

    #4. Jordan

    2017 obligations: $1.5 billion (22% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($516 million); government and civil society ($475 million); emergency response ($176 million)

    The United States and Jordan work together to promote peace in the Middle East, including fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). In 2018, the two countries signed a memo of understanding to give Jordan at least $1.275 billion annually over the next five years, replacing the previous three-year commitment for $1 billion annually. The new package will support political, military, and economic programs while giving humanitarian aid for the recent flood of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

  • #3. Israel
    49/ No attribution required // Max Pixel

    #3. Israel

    2017 obligations: $3.2 billion (2% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($3200 million); emergency response ($8 million); other multisector ($4 million)

    Under President Donald Trump, the United States has strengthened its relationship with Israel, with Trump opening a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem in 2018. In 2016, the United States and Israel signed a 10-year military-assistance deal worth $38 billion. Starting in 2019, Israel can only use the funding to hire American contractors. Under the current agreement, Israel can spend 26% of that money on military equipment produced in Israel. So while the money is going to Israel, some of it will get funneled back to the United States.

  • #2. Iraq
    50/ Denny Cantrell // Wikicommons

    #2. Iraq

    2017 obligations: $3.7 billion (30% decrease from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($3.1 million); Emergency response ($539 million); government and civil society ($95 million)

    The United States has a long history with Iraq, including the most recent war that lasted from 2003 to 2011. Modern-day relations are aimed at building a strategic partnership with the state and people of Iraq. Much of the U.S. funding in Iraq is allocated to military operations to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Iraq Train and Equip Fund provides assistance toward infrastructure repair, as well as ongoing aid for military and security forces of, or associated with, the Iraq government. Funding also helps provide food, clean drinking water, disaster services, support for local businesses, and the restoration of health and education services.

  • #1. Afghanistan
    51/ Russell Klika // Wikicommons

    #1. Afghanistan

    2017 obligations: $5.7 billion (13% increase from 2016)
    Top sectors: conflict, peace, and security ($4500 million); government and civil society ($509 million); emergency response ($145 million)

    The United States has been involved in the war in Afghanistan for 17 years. It is the longest war in U.S. history, and most of the humanitarian aid goes toward military operations in the country, including the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund. But the United States also is trying to increase agricultural productivity, while promoting a self-sustaining government.

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