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Infrastructure programs are essential to achieving USAID’s development objectives in health, education, economic growth, food security, governance and post-conflict and post-disaster reconstruction. In FY 2012, USAID spent approximately $2.0 billion on energy and infrastructure.
USAID’s approach to infrastructure improvements is more than just bricks and mortar, pipes and wire. It also involves establishing effective and sustainable service providers and institutions that can operate, maintain and renew critical facilities. The Agency’s approach to infrastructure also emphasizes identification and application of best practices, and learning based on evidence of effectiveness.
USAID’s energy program focuses on the following five areas:
- Energy sector reconstruction in countries recovering from conflict and natural disasters
- Clean energy under the USAID’s Global Climate Change Program
- Energy for economic growth in a limited number of countries
- Energy for health, agriculture and education programs
- Energy access
Our energy programs emphasize several themes, including promoting energy sector reforms that are widely recognized as prerequisites to private investment, access and sustainability. We also support and scale up innovative technologies. Examples include: innovative metering; the use of cell phones for water bill payment in Kenya and reporting of broken hand pumps in Afghanistan; and renewable-diesel hybrid systems for hospitals, schools and agriculture. Launched in June 2012, USAID’s Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development is using $10 million to leverage over $15 million in other donor and private contributions to find clean energy solutions that will transform agriculture and empower farmers in the developing world.
Engineering and Urban Programs
Engineering: USAID, through the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment’s Office of Infrastructure and Engineering (E3/E&I), provides support by licensed Professional Engineers to its field missions not only for the design and implementation of traditional large-scale infrastructure programs, such as roads and bridges, potable water and sanitation, energy, post-disaster and conflict reconstruction, but also for health, school, and judiciary facilities, housing, solid waste, protective structures, and preservation of cultural heritage structures.
Urban Services: The majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, which is where most of the world’s energy is consumed and where most infrastructure is located. The majority of services, many of which depend on energy and infrastructure, are now also delivered in urban areas. In addition to physical infrastructure, USAID works to improve the governance framework for urban service delivery. The agency is currently drafting an Urban policy that will guide future interventions world-wide. An important area of focus is urban water and sanitation infrastructure.
Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Programs
USAID’s approach in the ICT sector is to expand and accelerate broadband internet connectivity to the underserved and to use ICT tools to enhance the impact of economic growth, education, health, governance, and other programs. USAID’s ICT programs have two core components. First, a focus on access emphasizes the creation of a legal and regulatory environment that facilitates private sector investment and works with private-sector providers to adopt creative solutions to expand ICT use. Building sector-specific applications into existing development programs and emphasizing shared and cloud-based services to share lessons learned is a second important area of focus.
E3’s Office of Energy and Infrastructure (E3/E&I)
With 24 employees and an annual budget of approximately $17 million, E3/E&I is an essential service provider, repository of technical expertise, and “force multiplier” for the agency’s missions world-wide.
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Last updated: March 28, 2013