In 2015, the UK Government established the Prosperity Fund in order to help promote economic growth in developing countries. Its broad priorities include improving the business climate, competitiveness and operation of markets, energy and financial sector reform and in increasing the ability of Governments to tackle corruption. Although increasing numbers of developing countries and cities are able to finance their own development, many still face considerable challenges such as rapid urbanisation, climate change and high and persistent inequality which can lower long-term growth prospects, including in middle income countries where the majority of the urban poor reside. The Prosperity Fund supported the broad-based and inclusive growth needed for poverty reduction to make development sustainable.
In September 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office merged with the Department for International Development to become the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The Prosperity Fund ceased at this time and became Prosperity Programming and the department responsible for global programmes changed from the Prosperity Fund Department to a new Economic Cooperation Department. All existing global programmes, including the Global Future Cities Programme have continued to run until their end dates in March 2022.
The Global Future Cities Programme (GFCP) is a specific component of the Economic Cooperation Department, which aims to carry out technical assistance for a set of targeted interventions to encourage sustainable development and increase prosperity while alleviating high levels of urban poverty, in particular based on three thematic pillars: urban planning, transport and resilience. The Programme will also create significant short and long-term business opportunities in growing markets.