Alok Sharma announces new UK Centre for Cities and Infrastructure which will help African governments plan, build and run environmentally friendly cities.
The International Development Secretary, Alok Sharma, today pledged new UK aid support to build the African cities of the future, so the continent can continue to thrive and reach its economic potential.
African cities produce more than half of the continent‚Äôs income, but too many suffer from poor connectivity and congestion which continues to hinder growth.¬†The continent‚Äôs urban population is 472 million and set to double over the next 25 years. This growth provides an opportunity for African cities to prosper if the right infrastructure and jobs are available with UK support.
Alok Sharma, on a visit to Kenya, announced he would set up a UK Centre for Cities and Infrastructure, which will turbo-charge investment in fast growing cities across the developing world.¬†The Centre will provide British expertise to African governments and city authorities to improve the way cities are planned, built and run, including making them more environmentally-friendly.
The new UK Centre for Cities and Infrastructure is backed by ¬£48 million of UK funding. Of this total funding ¬£30 million will go to support projects in countries across Africa.
The Cities and Infrastructure for Growth programme in Africa is to receive an extra ¬£15million of UK aid funding for its expansion. The Department for International Development (DFID) has previously announced Africa funding through the programme in Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia. During his trip in Kenya, Mr Sharma also announced an expansion of the DFID‚Äôs Cities and Infrastructure for Growth programme to Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.
The programme also works in Asia.
The programme helps UK businesses invest in quality, resilient infrastructure, boosts access to reliable and affordable power and creates construction jobs. In Africa, it will focus on improvements to infrastructure, including water and energy networks.
DFID is already supporting emerging urban areas in Kenya, helping them draw up economic plans and improve their ability to attract investment, through the Sustainable Urban Economic Development Programme.
“Infrastructure is the backbone of economic growth. It helps the poorest people access basic services such as clean water and electricity, creates jobs and boosts business,” Alok Sharma said. “I‚Äôve seen this first hand as I‚Äôve travelled across Kenya and am proud to see British companies thriving here. This will benefit people and businesses across Africa, but also back at home in the UK, creating a successful future for all of us.”
Mr Sharma‚Äôs trip came ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit next Monday (20 January), which will create new lasting partnerships to deliver more investment, jobs and growth, benefiting both Africa and the UK.