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Infrastructure in Developing Countries

Volume 672: debated on Wednesday 4 March 2020

DFID has over 150 infra- structure programmes, including providing water, roads, electricity, schools and hospitals. This Government established the International Development Infrastructure Commission to accelerate our work in this area.

Infrastructure is critical for economic growth, creating jobs and boosting businesses, but we must also be mindful of the natural environment. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that new infrastructure development in developing countries is sustainable?

DFID is directly investing in infrastructure programmes that will enhance climate resilience in developing countries. Our work is focused on creating the right enabling conditions to direct private finance into low-carbon infrastructure, expanding Africa’s financial markets and unlocking investment through innovative instruments such as green investment bonds.

I welcome my hon. Friend’s work in this important area. As we look to the UN climate summit in Glasgow later this year, can he update the House on the work with countries across Africa to help them develop their clean energy potential?

I thank my right hon. Friend for his passion for Africa. We are committed to working with African countries to boost renewable energy potential and cleaner energy alternatives. For example, the Africa clean energy programme is working in over 15 countries to increase the deployment of off-grid renewable energy.

The Department invested nearly £300 million of taxpayers’ money in the airport on St Helena. Will the Minister update us on whether aircraft can now land and take off from that expensive airport?

I am familiar with the situation, as the hon. Lady knows, and I am more than happy to update her in writing.

Access to clean water is an essential prerequisite to development in sub-Saharan Africa. What steps are being taken to support small charities that excel in that much-needed activity in that land?

The provision of water is essential, and the Department is particularly keen to enable small charities, particularly small British charities, in this sector. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular ideas, my colleagues and I are more than happy to receive them.