Sustainable Urban Economic Development Programme

Kenya is currently facing the challenges of sustaining its rapid urbanisation. Prior to the country’s new devolved governance system, which came into effect after the 2013 General Election, Kenya lacked strong institutional capacity at the municipal level to manage the development of urban centres across the country. This resulted in uncontrolled development, an increase in the urban poor living in informal settlements, and environmental degradation.

To combat these issues, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office established the Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) programme. The aim of SUED is to promote inclusive and climate-resilient economic growth in towns across Kenya. It will do this by identifying high-impact value chain and infrastructure projects in each town through an urban planning process before raising investment in them and bringing them to fruition. It will also work to promote policy and legislation changes to enable greater growth through the private sector; to build the capacity of municipalities; to create more climate-resilient jobs; and to improve rural links with larger markets that were previously difficult to access.

Our approach

Through SUED, Tetra Tech International Development is working with the Kenyan national government to build the capacity of up to ten municipalities to better address demographic, security, and economic development challenges. This will contribute to Kenya’s four big priorities – manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing, and food security – while strengthening the United Kingdom’s modern partnership with Kenya. Our programme team is working with these municipalities to better invest in sustainable urban development that will support a more stable, secure, and prosperous Kenya.

Our team is providing project management support, technical oversight as well as capacity building for urban economic planning and investor attraction with ten selected municipalities and work with sub-contractors and partners to ensure the effective delivery of SUED. We are carrying out this this work drawing from our extensive network of capacity building specialists – ranging from economic planning to climate finance and investment – to manage and bring about economic growth within these municipalities. We are

  • Spurring inclusive growth hubs of the future;
  • Addressing policy and regulatory constraints surrounding urban development through the private sector;
  • Bring investment opportunities to the attention of potential investors, including public-private partnerships to fund commercially bankable climate-resilient infrastructure and value chain projects; and
  • Supporting priorities that have been identified in the urban economic plans.
Supporting climate-resilient development

Throughout every layer of SUED’s work we aim to incorporate principles of climate resilience and sustainability. Each of the projects we support are assessed against environmental criteria to ensure they promote resilience in communities and lessen the impact of climate change. We also employ several climate change experts within our urban planning, investment attraction and core teams to ensure all activities are focused on their climate impact.



Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK

“There is no high-income status for a country without urbanisation. The UK-funded Sustainable Urban Economic Development programme is uniquely placed to support the Government of Kenya to diversify and create opportunities for fast-growing regions that have been historically marginalised, fostering balanced growth in underdeveloped urban centres in Kenya.”
Nic Hailey, former UK High Commissioner to Kenya