Global workshop addresses clean cooking access in Africa ahead of major Summit in May

Microsoftteams Image 5

Global workshop addresses clean cooking access in Africa ahead of major Summit in May

Government representatives, industry leaders, investors, academia and stakeholders from civil society met today at a high-level workshop in Paris organised by the International Energy Agency to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing clean cooking in Africa.

The workshop – taking place on the eve of International Women’s Day – focused on shaping concrete outcomes for the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa, which will be held on 14 May in Paris. The Summit will be co-chaired by President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, Africa Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

A lack of access to clean cooking impacts more than 2 billion people around the world, particularly in Africa, where four in five people cook over open fires or on basic stoves, with detrimental impacts for health, gender equality and the environment. Women and girls are worst affected as the toxic smoke from burning coal, charcoal, firewood and agricultural wastes is a leading cause of premature deaths among women and children globally, and the second biggest in Africa, accounting for 60% of early deaths alone due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Birol emphasised that despite the importance of clean cooking access, it often fails to generate the attention it deserves on the international policy agenda, which is why the IEA is convening leaders from around the world for the forthcoming Summit.

“With USD 4 billion a year between now and 2030, we can deploy the stoves and fuel delivery infrastructure needed to reach universal access to clean cooking in sub-Saharan Africa,” Dr Birol said. “It will require strong national leadership and programmes that are underpinned by financial support from both development institutions and the private sector. The cost of reaching universal access is small, but its impacts can be transformative for the lives of Africa’s citizens and communities.”

The workshop brought together delegates from a wide range of countries and sectors to exchange views on the best routes to universal clean cooking access. Delegates discussed the need for progress on three key areas: finance, regulation, and partnerships. The sessions were chaired by Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth, African Development Bank Group; Hans Olav Ibrekk, Special Envoy on Climate and Security for the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Richard Muyungi, Climate Envoy & Advisor to the President of Tanzania on Climate Change and Environment; Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman of the Special Presidential Initiative for Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Food Security of Sierra Leone; Dymphna van der Lans, Chief Executive Officer, Clean Cooking Alliance; and Daniel Wetzel, Head of the Tracking Sustainable Transitions Unit at the IEA. 

Clean cooking is also a challenge for a variety of other societal, environmental and economic factors. Last year, the IEA and the African Development Bank Group joined forces to draw global attention to the issue, publishing the special report A Vision for Clean Cooking Access for All. While covering global trends, the report pays special attention to the needs in Africa, where they are most pressing. It sheds light on the current state of clean cooking access, the costs of inaction, and the benefits of boosting access in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7.

Countries like China, India and Indonesia have made commendable strides in disseminating clean cooking technologies. Yet in sub-Saharan Africa, there are a rising number of people without access to cleaner stoves and fuels, largely because population growth is outpacing gains in access. This could hinder broader development efforts, making it imperative to elevate clean cooking as a policy priority. The report presents country-by-country assessments and an outlook for clean cooking under existing policies, offering a roadmap towards universal access.