The International Development Secretary has 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.

Greenest municipality in saAlok 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 improvements to infrastructure, including water and energy networks.

During his trip, Mr Sharma also announced an expansion of the Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) Cities and Infrastructure for Growth programme to Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

The programme helps UK businesses invest in quality, resilient infrastructure, boosts access to reliable and affordable power and creates construction jobs.

Mr Sharma’s 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, 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.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department for International Development (DFID).

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