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Inclusive Cities

Fostering greater quality of life in urban areas of Latin America and the Caribbean by investing in scalable private sector innovations


80% of the region’s population lives in cities—and that percentage will only grow, reaching an estimated 84% by 2035. While cities can offer great opportunities to people of all income levels and backgrounds, this rapid growth tends to bring with it a number of challenges, including insufficient housing and basic services for poor and vulnerable households, increased carbon footprints due to inefficient resource use and inadequate waste management, vulnerability to climate change-related and natural disasters, high rates of crime and violence, traffic congestion that wastes time and pollutes the air, and a lack of decent jobs for the expanding labor force.

Why it matters

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of local economies, providing the majority of jobs in our region’s cities. The most entrepreneurial SMEs are capable of generating scalable solutions for many of the challenges arising from the expansion of cities.


The MIF fosters scalable, SME-led innovations that contribute to solving urban problems in Latin America and the Caribbean by creating economic opportunities for small and growing businesses that benefit vulnerable populations. We support sustainable urban growth through business creation, water and sanitation, citizen security, and basic services, using approaches such as:

  • Smart cities and citizen engagement: Harnessing information to save money, time, and space while also making people safer and more productive.
  • Sharing economy and collaborative consumption: Piloting new approaches that increase access to goods and services.
  • Circular economy and urban mining: Going beyond traditional recycling models to maximize the reuse, maintenance, refurbishment, and remanufacturing of components and products.
  • Climate change adaptation & mitigation: Leveraging private sector creativity and public-private partnerships to address the stress rapid urbanization places on natural resources.


Our regional programs go into depth to test models that support private sector development.