UK pledges to support development of African cities

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Alok Sharma UK
United Kingdom's Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma. PHOTO/COURTESY: devex.com

The United Kingdom, through its International Development Secretary Alok Sharma, has pledged to support the building of  future African cities so that the continent can continue to thrive and reach its economic potential.

Mr. 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. It will focus on improving infrastructure and energy networks.

“Our new UK aid support, announced ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit, will contribute to creating the African cities of the future, using British expertise to provide quality, green infrastructure across the continent. 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. I’ve seen this first hand as I’ve 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 said in a statement.

Mr Sharma’s trip came ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit scheduled for January 20,2020, which will create new lasting partnerships to deliver more investment, jobs and growth, benefitting both Africa and the UK.

African cities produce more than half of the continent’s income, but too many suffer from poor connectivity and congestion which continues to hinder growth. The continent’s 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.

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