The Development Corridors Partnership

The Development Corridors Partnership, led by UNEP-WCMC, is helping countries in East Africa to plan for a sustainable future.

Find out more about The Development Corridors Partnership here


UNEP-WCMC led partnership wins major Global Challenges Research Fund award


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The Challenge

UK Research and Innovation - GCRF

Development corridors are increasingly used to support economic growth in Africa. They can enhance national infrastructure, provide a boost to agriculture, increase exports and improve economic integration.

However, development at this scale presents both social and environmental challenges. Corridors can result in uneven development impacts, further marginalise the poor, threaten biodiversity and be vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.


Our solution & impact

The Development Corridors Partnership, led by UNEP-WCMC, is helping countries in East Africa to plan for a sustainable future.

The project uses a capacity-building approach to analyse proposed development corridors in Kenya and Tanzania and consider how they can be designed to deliver sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth.

Focal corridors are the Lamu Port and Lamu – Southern Sudan – Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET Kenya), the Standard Gauge Railway corridor in Kenya and the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT).

There are three main objectives to the project:

Capacity building

The Development Corridors Partnership works to generate knowledge and raise capacity of researchers and institutions in eastern Africa, UK and China to help the countries plan and implement development corridors for greater environmental, social and societal sustainability. The resulting legacy of experienced and knowledgeable practitioners will be able to support more sustainable land-use and investment planning in East Africa and beyond.


Through cross-disciplinary research, The Development Corridors Partnership project will enhance the relevance and quality of research on development corridors. Research priorities include:

-        Political and practical analysis of corridor implementation, impacts and opportunities

-        Natural capital and ecosystem services assessment and valuation

-        Scenario analysis of the development potential of corridors

The project links the research done in eastern Africa to the work of Chinese research institutions who advise on Chinese development spending in Africa. By increasing knowledge of the issues and opportunities associated with development corridors in Africa, investment activities can be designed to be more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Policy impact

New and existing research will be shared with a range of decision-makers involved in development corridor planning; including government, private sector actors and Chinese investors and lending agencies. This will ensure those involved in planning and implementing corridor visions can make evidence-based and informed decisions. Work on the ground will take place together with local government and local communities and aims to provide relevant advice at this local level as well as at the corridor and national scales.

Expertise & Team

The Development Corridors Partnership is led by our Science team: 

Neil burgess

Neil Burgess

Principal Investigator

Lisen 2 v2

Lisen Runsten

Senior Project Manager


Diego Juffe Bignoli

Post-Doctoral Scientist

Amayaa wijesinghe

Amayaa Wijesinghe

Communications & Data Officer

Chris hawksworth web

Chris Hawksworth

Finance Officer

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Anna Krusic

Administrative Officer


Tanya Payne

Associate Project Officer

Julia wentworth web

Julia Wentworth

Project Officer

Partners & Donors

UNEP-WCMC is leading a consortium of five universities (Cambridge, London School of Economics, Nairobi, Sokoine University of Agriculture and York) East African partners (WWF Tanzania, African Conservation Centre) and three Chinese think tanks (the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences). This project is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Global Challenges Research Fund.