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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. The E&I Office is also providing essential technical input to the Power Africa initiative.
Engineering and Urban Programs
Engineering: USAID, through the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment’s Office of Energy and Infrastructure (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. The E&I Office is also leading an historic world-wide construction assessment that will review all USAID programs.
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 finalizing an Urban policy that will guide future interventions world-wide; the E&I Office will take the lead in drafting the Implementation Guidance for the Agency. The policy will help USAID achieve its goals for climate change, global health, and food security.
Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Programs
We seek to accelerate the deployment of accessible broadband telecommunications infrastructure to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas. Through the Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) program, we identify opportunities to reduce costs and enhance program performance in all sectors through affordable access to broadband. The GBI approach is focused on broadband infrastructure rather than private, project-level solutions, to achieve sustainable and broader benefits at a lower cost.
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: August 16, 2013