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Summit to secure $4bn commitments to close clean cooking funding gap for African women

Development partners gathering in Paris on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, are expected to pledge towards the $4 billion needed to provide clean cooking access for 250 million African women by 2030.

Akinwunmi Adesina
AfDB president, Akinwunmi Adesina

African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, will co-chair the Clean Cooking Summit, to be held in Paris, alongside President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, and International Energy Agency Executive Director, Fatih Birol.

The landmark event aims to drive significant change in clean cooking access for the nearly one billion Africans using polluting fuels, which cause the premature deaths of approximately half a million women and children every year.

Women and girls spend up to five hours a day collecting fuel and cooking. This leaves little time for education, social or economic activities. Worldwide, the annual economic cost of women and girl’s time searching for fuel wood is estimated at $800 billion. The health costs are as high as $1.4 trillion.

The capital investment needed to ensure universal clean cooking access in Africa by 2030 is accessible. The $4 billion needed annually is a small fraction of the $2.8 trillion invested globally in energy each year.

The summit aims to mobilise this much-needed finance. It brings together governments, development partners, private companies and NGOs to make concrete commitments and develop action-oriented strategies to accelerate progress on clean cooking.

They are expected to pledge increased funding for clean cooking, with development partners committing to allocate a higher share of their energy portfolios and to work through private capital arms to bring more financing. Governments will prioritise clean cooking in national planning, create funded implementation programs, and introduce proven policies to support scaling clean cooking solutions.

Dr Adesina has committed the Bank’s strong support and outlined a three-pronged approach to achieve universal clean cooking access in Africa. It entails governments directing at least 5% of their annual energy investments towards clean cooking solutions and having multilateral and development finance institutions set aside a significant share of their annual energy financing for clean cooking solutions, including concessional blended financing and guarantees.

At COP28, Adesina said that the Bank Group would channel $2 billion for clean cooking over the next decade. He also joined global leaders in rallying around the Africa Women Clean Cooking Support Program launched by Tanzania’s President, Suluhu Hassan.

Clean cooking initiatives are eligible under the Climate Action Window (CAW) of the African Development Fund (ADF), the Bank Group’s concessional window for 37 of Africa’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. During COP28, the Bank Group launched its first call, with $258 million in mostly grant funding, for climate adaptation proposals through the CAW, which seeks to raise $13 billion to accelerate climate adaptation in the ADF countries. Increased adoption of cleaner cooking fuels such as electricity, biogas, and sustainable biofuels will improve the health and well-being of Africa’s women and children and also protect Africa’s forests.

Several African governments have begun taking proactive measures to accelerate clean cooking adoption. Kenya has established a Clean Cooking Delivery Unit and introduced special electricity tariffs. Industry, international organisations, and multilateral fora will affirm their support for achieving clean cooking targets.

The Bank’s commitment to addressing the clean cooking crisis aligns with its High 5 priorities — particularly “Light Up and Power Africa” and “Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.” As Dr Adesina said at COP28, “Providing access to clean cooking is clearly doable in Africa. Let us prioritise saving the lives of women and children; let us make it easier for women to cook in dignity and safety.”

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