Sustainable economic development is not possible without a properly functioning and accesible infrastructure. The Netherlands helps finance and build public works like ports, irrigation systems, coastal defences and a reliable energy supply. And we help local authorities build the capacity to plan infrastructure projects and put them out to tender.

Good infrastructure is vital for the functioning of an economy. Passable roads increase food producers’ access to local markets. Water purification is important for developing small and mediumsized industrial manufacturers. Exports of local products and imports of raw materials depend on accessible seaports and airports. And a constant, adequate energy supply is a prerequisite for the success of companies, large and small. Infrastructure investment can boost economic growth by 2.5 percentage points.

However, demand for infrastructure far outstrips the financial resources available. A lack of investment worthy projects also hampers the construction of good, accessible infrastructure. Many developing countries do not have the institutional capacity and resources to develop projects, and political risks also often deter potential investors.

The Netherlands is keen to promote a good business climate in low and middle-income countries, and therefore helps develop their public and private infrastructure through bilateral and multilateral programmes, grants, revolving funds and technical assistance.


The Netherlands supports various programmes to finance and build good infrastructure in developing countries like DRIVE, Develop2Build and the Infrastructure Development Fund. The movie shows how the Netherlands supports the development of infrastructure in developing economies.

(On-screen text: Netherlands Enterprise Agency. Commissioned on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. A ship travels across the water. Voice-over:)


(Accessible and properly functioning infrastructure is an essential precondition for the development of the private sector. It makes effective entrepreneurship, foreign trade and investment possible, and enables people to provide for their own livelihoods.)


(People stand talking round mango trees. Sidi Ndiaye:)

(We farm edible products, mainly mangos. After picking the mangos, we have to deliver them really quickly to our clients. If there is a delay in delivering them, this impacts on the quality of the product and therefore damages their value.)

(Men are aboard a ship.)

(The Netherlands and Senegal are working together to improve infrastructure and boost economic growth by dredging the channel of the Casamance river and modernising the port of Ziguinchor.)

(Magueye Gueye:)

(It was funded by the state of Senegal, in collaboration with the Netherlands, through the ORIO programme, which is managed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.)

(The sun shines down on a tranquil harbour.)

(The goal of the project is to boost economic development and strengthen the capacity of the port. Dredging is a component, the development of hydrocarbon infrastructure reception is a component and so is the extension of the port.)

(Hans van Luik:)

(There are more features of the project to come. The project is not finished simply after dredging. At Ziguinchor there are still a few things to be done. There is a fishing port to be made and a tank farm to be built, where fuel can be brought in. Tank trucks no longer need to supply via the road, tanks can now deliver directly in larger qualities.)

(This has a positive impact on the economic life of the Ziguinchor region.)

(A cart is loaded, full of boxes.)

(The Netherlands Enterprise Agency commissions several infrastructure programmes on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands: ORIO, DRIVE and Develop2Build.)

(These programmes contribute to private sector development in emerging markets and developing countries by providing better access to public infrastructure.)

(Les Saveurs du Sud participated in the CBI export coaching programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The new port will help local enterprises to expand their business.)

(The economic, financial, and I would say even social impact, is important. If dredging is completed and the port is well operated because of this development, we may actually be able to deliver our products directly to international destinations. We can also diversify the product range and increase local employment.)

(To find out more about the DRIVE and the Develop2Build programme, their funding and how you could be involved, visit the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency.)

(On-screen text: For more information about DRIVE and Develop2Build, visit For more information about CBI, visit The Dutch coat of arms, next to: Netherlands Enterprise Agency, followed by, Commissioned on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.)


More information

For more information, download our complete factsheet: The road to sustainable economic growth - Infrastructure.

Do you have questions or would you like to have some more information? Contact the Sustainable Economic Development Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.