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Infrastructure blog

How Egypt and Ukraine turned Enabling Better Infrastructure principles into practice

30 June 2023

Two national examples show how Enabling Better Infrastructure guidance can deliver real benefits for society and the planet.

How Egypt and Ukraine turned Enabling Better Infrastructure principles into practice
EBI guidance helped catalyse a shift from road to rail in Egypt, increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Image credit: Shutterstock

Infrastructure is a fundamental social need. Its effects on our environment and our wellbeing can be profound.

With proper planning, infrastructure can help our progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This ethos underpins the ICE’s Enabling Better Infrastructure (EBI) programme.

The UN Environment Partnership (UNEP) and the ICE hosted an event exploring the policy tools governments have used to improve their infrastructure strategies and deliver better outcomes for society.

Among the speakers was John Seed FICE, who shared how two governments with very different national needs put EBI principles into practice.

In his previous role at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), John attended the EBI programme launch in 2019.

The guidance has accompanied him through many projects in EBRD’s 39 countries of operation.

EBI: “In the right place at the right time”

In the EBRD’s policy unit, John supported governments with policy advice, infrastructure planning, market structuring, and capacity building.

As an infrastructure-specific policy framework, EBI allowed the bank to provide holistic support, as well as demonstrate success against the internationally recognised Sustainable Development Goals.

In this way, EBI has helped build the policies, strategies, and capabilities governments need to attract commercial finance to projects that otherwise wouldn’t progress.

EBI in practice: Egypt

Egypt is a rapidly developing country with a population of 109 million and rising.

But it moves only 1% of its inland freight by rail. The pressure on its road networks results in congestion, inefficiency, and soaring greenhouse gas emissions.

Using EBI, the EBRD conducted a gap analysis and needs assessment for Egypt’s Ministry of Transport and kickstarted a major mode shift from road to rail that is continuing today.

EBI in practice: Ukraine

In 2020, the EBRD helped the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine (MIU) secure private funding to modernise seaports in the cities of Olvia and Kherson.

The public-private partnership (PPP) model was so successful that the MIU sought to apply it to more than 40 critical infrastructure projects throughout Ukraine.

But the EBRD was concerned about the MIU’s approach to planning and prioritisation. Using EBI as a framework, they encouraged the Ukrainian ministry to identify and invest in closing major skills gaps.

The EBRD was at the stage of appointing consultants when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Strategic capacity is now even more important in keeping Ukraine’s infrastructure operational while the war continues. And when the time comes, it will be vital in helping the country rebuild.

Watch the recording of John Seed’s session above to find out more.

Get involved

Do you want to shape how governments plan and prioritise infrastructure? Respond to our EBI green paper programme.

  • Ben Gosling, speechwriter and policy content manager at ICE