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Project Case Study

Planning for better impact on poverty in transport infrastructure development

Designing practical guidelines for assessing the poverty impact of infrastructure development

Adam Smith International is working with DFID to support the Mozambique Regional Gateway Programme by designing an approach to poverty impact assessment. From the ports of Mozambique, to the landlocked countries of Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the programme prepares major transport and energy projects for implementation. We worked with DFID to develop a strategy for assessing the impact that the programme’s projects are having on impoverished communities throughout the region.

Poverty is a critical issue in Mozambique. More than half of the population lives below the national poverty line and there are similarly severe levels of particularly rural poverty in the rest of the region.

Project info

Mozambique Regional Gateway Programme


  • DFID

We found that many facets of this regional poverty are readily shaped by developments in the infrastructure sector. In particular, the development of trunk transport infrastructure was identified as presenting both risks and opportunities to both the economic livelihood and the wellbeing of the region’s poorest.

The operational guidelines, that the team developed, now inform the programme’s procurement strategy. Contractors seeking to work on one of the programme’s assignments must analyse the structure of poverty in the communities that will be impacted by planned infrastructure projects. By undertaking extensive stakeholder consultation, and providing a baseline on major poverty indicators, the programme now has metrics at its disposal to assess the impact of the project at intervals through its development. Contractors must identify the potential impact on poverty that the project may have.

Finally, any poverty impact assessment must include a plan to promote the potential opportunities or mitigate the potential poverty-related risks of infrastructure projects. In this way, the programme can play a much bigger role in planning for a better poverty impact in infrastructure development throughout the region.

Our guidelines represent a major contribution to donor strategy for poverty impact assessment in infrastructure development: an evolving field and one that is critically important in the donor landscape.

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