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Accelerating infrastructure to reduce poverty and aid transformative economic growth

Enhancing economic growth by reducing poverty through the promotion of infrastructure across key global cities

Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development (ICED) is the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID) catalytic and flexible facility designed to accelerate DFID’s infrastructure and cities initiatives across the world to contribute to poverty reduction and resilient, inclusive and transformative economic growth.

Project info

Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development (ICED)



  • Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Development (ICED)

Evidence strongly suggests that urbanisation and increased infrastructure spending are associated with economic growth. Yet despite the evidence, there is a significant global deficit in urban and infrastructure investment. This infrastructure gap stifles economic activity, growth, urban and national competitiveness, and human development. For example, sub-Saharan African businesses suffer more than eight power outages per month on average, leading to higher costs and lower productivity across the economy. Infrastructure and urban initiatives to date have also often lacked a strong focus on harnessing the potential opportunities of urban areas to drive inclusive and resilient growth. Underlying these issues are wider challenges related to the enabling environment for investment in infrastructure and cities.

ICED is designed to address these constraints by shaping a portfolio of DFID programmes that improves the enabling environment for delivering productive cities and infrastructure that can become engines of sustainable, inclusive growth. ICED provides tailored and informed technical assistance to DFID’s country and regional offices, influencing key international actors and building the evidence base through high-quality research.

The long-term nature of infrastructure and urban investment means that decisions made today will have a lasting impact into the future. ICED integrates considerations of sustainability, resilience, accessibility, resource efficiency, distribution, gender and social inclusivity from the outset of programme planning and design.

Since ICED was established in January 2016, the facility has been supporting over fifteen DFID country and regional offices across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the scoping and design of energy, transport, water infrastructure and urban-focused programme interventions.

ICED is managed by a PwC-led Alliance that includes Adam Smith International, Arup, Engineers Against Poverty, the International Institute for Environment and Development, MDY Legal and Social Development Direct.

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