Africa is pushing for access to clean cooking

Africa is mobilizing capital to increase access to clean cooking with a series of new deals aimed at financing energy transition projects across the continent.

The African Guarantee Fund (AGF) and the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) recently announced a partnership that promotes investment in clean cooking companies and programs.

The two organizations according to a statement will focus on markets in East, South and West Africa where they see significant need and opportunity to expand investment in green projects through clean cooking.

“The partnership will enable carbon project developers to access up-front funding, thereby helping to accelerate access and customers to clean cooking,” said Faisal Hussain, senior director of innovative finance at the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA ).

CCA, a non-profit organization, works with the support of the United Nations Foundation to promote clean cooking technologies in low- and middle-income countries. Feisal Hussain says CCA will leverage its network in the cooking and carbon markets in its partnership with AGF in Africa. “We aim to lower the barrier to entry for smaller clean cooking companies, helping to build carbon markets that are accessible to many people.”

Clean cooking partnerships address future risks

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 970 million Africans do not have access to clean cooking equipment. And recent spikes in the price of cooking gas have forced millions back to more polluting but cheaper alternatives.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), if nothing is done to provide cleaner cooking alternatives, 1.67 billion Africans will rely on wood and charcoal for cooking by 2050.

This has a serious impact on the climate, on the conservation of African forests and especially on health. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2022, 3.2 million people will already die prematurely each year from diseases due to household air pollution. No, thanks to the incomplete combustion of the solid fuels and kerosene used for cooking. But partnerships like the one between AGF and CCA can help stem the tide of danger.

“Our partnership with the Clean Cooking Alliance is aimed at financial institutions to enable them to expand their clean energy portfolios by developing innovative financial solutions that promote clean cooking and the use of clean fuels,” said AGF Group CEO , Mr. Jules Ngankam.

The AGF’s Green Guarantee Facility and Technical Assistance, according to Jules Ngankam, will address the capacity building gaps and risks that surround lending to green SMEs in Africa.

“It will also prepare these SMEs to become credit and investment ready to enable them to play their full role in promoting the sustainability and growth of Africa’s green economy.”

More partnerships for improved access to clean cooking

Earlier this month in Vienna, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OPEC Fund) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) deepened their partnership in advance transition to clean energy in Africa. They signed a US$1.5 million grant agreement to support Madagascar’s National Clean Cooking Transition Program.

The grant from the OPEC fund will fund detailed studies and pilot projects as part of Madagascar’s clean cooking transition program. The OPEC Fund is financing the program with a US$35 million loan. UNIDO and project partners will also develop a framework for tracking development results.

“We are very pleased to expand our collaboration with UNIDO and support our flagship clean cooking program in Madagascar with UNIDO’s vast technical and advisory expertise, which is critical to effective implementation,” said OPEC Fund Director General Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa.

UNIDO is working with the OPEC Fund to expand the use of clean fuels and technologies to improve the health and living conditions of communities in Madagascar, said UNIDO Director General Gerd Müller. “This partnership will make a difference as we plan to roll out clean cooking solutions to 500,000 households in five cities across the country.”

Madagascar is not alone

In Nigeria, a new joint venture agreement aims to invest in a range of carbon avoidance and decarbonisation projects as part of efforts to support the energy transition plan in Africa’s most populous country.

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and Vitol, a global energy and commodities company, have completed Carbon Vista JV . Both parties have committed an initial $50 million to the new venture.

The joint venture’s first investment will be in a household energy efficiency program. The program, to begin with, will deploy up to 200,000 devices each for clean cooking and water filtration.

“For fossil fuel rich countries like ours, we are also in a situation where we are energy poor,” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo notes. Nigeria’s vice president says the energy transition remains difficult for gas- and fossil-fuel-rich countries.

However, Yemi Osinbajo believes that clean energy has a lot of promise for the continent. “I believe Africa can become the first truly green civilization to use renewable fuel for a transformative economic journey.”

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