The United Kingdom has announced the launch of the first two water infrastructure resilience projects worth $125.39 million under its $2 billion Room 2 Run guarantee programme.

The Room to Run Guarantee, first announced at COP26, is a $2 billion guarantee provided to the African Development Bank (AfDB) by the UK with $1.6 billion in cover, and with City of London insurers covering $400 million.

The first two projects comprise an €80 million ($85.74 million) wastewater project in Egypt and a €37 million ($39.65 million) water sanitation project in Senegal, the AfDB said in a statement.

In Egypt, Gabel El Asfar Wastewater Treatment Project is the largest wastewater treatment plant in terms of capacity in Africa and the second largest globally. It aims to increase arable lands by 70,000 acres addressing food security issues. Further, it will increase access to safely managed sanitation services, improve wastewater treatment plant compliance standards and create jobs.

Rania Al-Mashat, Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation said: “The third stage of the project will expand to serve 5.5 million more people, emphasising that water security is at the core of building resilience.” 

In Senegal, the Access to Safe Water and Sanitation Services to Build Sustainable Resilience in Disadvantaged Areas project will reach 1.45 million people, of which 51 percent are women who will benefit from improved access to drinking water and sanitation, the statement noted.

Senegal’s Minister of Economy, Planning and Cooperation, Oulimata Sarr said her country would welcome any funding that would enable them to scale up and fast track climate finance.

By partially protecting the Bank against the risk of default on some of its loans, the Room 2 Run guarantee programme enables AfDB to provide Africa with an additional $2 billion of climate finance by 2027, with a 50-50 split between adaptation and mitigation.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)