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UK and AfDB Sign Room to Run, a $2 Billion Climate Guarantee for Africa

May 27, 2022

A first major step in the commitments made by Great Britain at the end of 2021, during the COP26, while the promises of the major powers are struggling to materialize.

In Accra, the capital of Ghana, where the AfDB's annual meetings are taking place, Vicky Ford, British Minister for Africa, and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), initialed the 'Room to Run' guarantee agreement, which is supposed to allow the AfDB to release up to $2 billion in financing to support climate-related projects in Africa.

This new financing mechanism is one of the commitments made by Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, at the COP 26 last November in Glasgow, Scotland.

The guarantee should enable the Bank to mobilize new financing, half of which will be dedicated to climate adaptation, an area in which the Abidjan-based institution claims to be a world leader (it currently devotes 67% of its climate financing to adaptation).

While rich countries' pledges at previous UN climate conferences have struggled to be met, this agreement is a major step forward by the UK government, which at COP26 announced a package of aid programs to support and scale up Africa's adaptation to climate change, including a five-year program to respond to shocks in the Sahel, the expansion of the African Regional Insurance Scheme to cover $1 billion of drought, flood and storm risks each year, starting in 2025/2026.

The recent agreement comes after President Adesina's inaugural address to rich countries 'to keep their promises to provide $100 billion in climate finance per year to support developing countries.

'Africa is not receiving enough resources to fight climate change. It receives only 3% of total global climate financing,' the AfDB's No. 1 said.