By Deodatus Balile, recently in Paris, France

TANZANIAN President Samia Suluhu Hassan has raised hope of Africa’s ambition to emancipate the continent from open fire cooking to clean cooking by 2030, JAMHURI has learned.

President Samia has a sharp vision for a better Africa and the world has vehemently supported her resolve to transform the continent from using biomass toxin-emitting cooking materials including firewood, charcoal and other environment-polluting sources like coal by 2030.

Africa needs USD 4 billion annually in the next six years to facilitate clean cooking for itself, with the world having heeded President Samia’s call to lend hand to the continent.

At the recent summit held in Paris for clean cooking, USD 2.2 billion worth of financing and investments was mobilised from government and private sector sources.

The summit saw world leaders acknowledge the laudable efforts made by President Samia in waging a clean cooking campaign for Africa by saying in the leaders’ summary document: “We note with great appreciation the African Heads of State and government leaders present at this Summit, noting with gratitude the role of President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan as a champion of clean cooking on the continent for making clean cooking a pan African priority through the African Women Clean Cooking Support Programme – a gender responsive just energy transition programme in Africa launched at COP28.

“We equally applaud Tanzania for the launch of a 10-year National Clean Cooking Strategy for the country and call upon all African governments to push clean cooking towards the top of their national agendas and implement policy approaches that have proven successful in the past, including in India, Brazil, Egypt and Indonesia.”

Echoing President Samia’s efforts at the Summit, nine African governments publicly committed to making access to clean cooking a national priority and promised to take viable steps towards implementing proven policy measures in their countries to usher in greater progress.

Three major themes to advance the clean cooking agenda were discussed across the three sessions of the Summit, namely: (i) Scaling Up Finance for Clean Cooking in Africa, (ii) Making Clean Cooking a Policy Priority, and (iii) Catalysing Multi-stakeholder Partnerships.

What transpired in Paris?

At the May 14th, 2024 Energy Summit in Paris, heads of state – including Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio, Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe, and over 1,000 high-profile delegates were informed in a sad tone that nearly four in five people in Africa still cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves using energy-polluting fuels.

Delegates were informed that cooking with such fuels comes with consequences on health, gender equality and the climate, contributing to nearly half a million premature deaths of women and children annually in Africa alone.

The 500,000 deaths catastrophe could be averted by providing clean energy to the Africans at the cost of just USD 4 billion annually by 2030, President Samia said.

The Paris summit was co-chaired by President Samia, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, and the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IAE), Dr. Fatih Birol. It resolved that the primary focus should be on ensuring affordable and timely access cleaner and modern cooking solutions.

The co-chairs proposed that Africa should go for the use of biomass in high-performance stoves, biogas, bioethanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and electricity – all of which can deliver benefits in terms of health, productivity, gender equality, forest preservation, biodiversity and emissions reductions.

“We affirm that the strategies taken by countries to advance clean cooking will depend on local context, and that each country has sovereignty to shape this agenda in a manner consistent with people-centred energy transitions,” they said in a joint communique after the summit.

All leaders at the summit agreed that the cost of resolving the issue of clean cooking for Africa was relatively small, with the IEA estimating that USD 4 billion of capital investments would be required annually to achieve clean cooking access for all African people by 2030.

However, they had a line of caution with respect to the milestone target: “[It] will depend on strong national and regional leadership, and programmes that are reinforced by international financial support, partnerships and industry efforts.”

A delegate from one of European Union member states, who sought anonymity, told JAMHURI: “Where there is a will, there is a way. President Samia has come with a genuine request not just for Tanzania but for the whole of the African continent. I am not criticizing our governments for supporting Ukraine, but if you look at what we put in there, nearly USD 100 billion in two to three years, and turn to this request of USD 4 billion annually, I think it is high time we became realistic. USD four billion in a year is manageable. Even a single European country can make it singlehandedly. Let us stand united and push this agenda. Seeing five hundred thousand deaths annually is unacceptable,” he said.

Energy companies and a number of countries announced their intention to expand their support for clean cooking in Africa in the future. Accordingly, the chairs were receptive in their joint communique: “We welcome in particular several new providers of finance and funding who have previously not been major providers for clean cooking.

“These new announcements are in addition to the African Development Bank Group’s commitment at COP28 to channel USD 2 billion for clean cooking over 10 years and will boost the existing direct development assistance already available via other government and multilateral sources. We call upon others to reinforce these efforts and allocate additional financial resources to clean cooking in the coming years through development finance, private sector engagement, and carbon credits.”

President Samia called for a generous next replenishment of the African Development Fund, earmarking USD 12 billion for clean cooking. ADB President Dr. Adesina responded positively to this request and promised to work on it in a timely manner.

Over forty organisations decided to establish a Collaborative Task Force committed to the generation of – and demand for high-integrity carbon credits from clean cooking activities based on updated methodologies that address the concerns of carbon credit integrity. They noted in particular the momentum building around the Clean Cooking Alliance-led Clean Cooking and Climate Consortium (4C) initiative.

What follows after Paris?

Leaders agreed that after the Paris summit, attention must turn to the implementation of commitments and outcomes – a task the co-chairs pledged commitment to support. Many actors agreed to take forward pieces of the agenda identified at the summit, including within the context of the African Clean Cooking Consortium (ACCC) and the Africa Women Clean Cooking Support Programme (AWCCSP) championed by President Samia.

Key follow-on actions include supporting policy implementation, mobilising more financial commitments and investments, convening stakeholders on clean cooking at future events and summits, a new task force committed to enhancing the generation of – and demand for – carbon credit from clean cooking.

“We will ensure the continuing of IEA’s tracking of clean cooking progress, investment and energy demand, which will be provided annually as a means of gauging progress against commitments made at the summit and future events,” the co-chairs further pledged.

Participants agreed to increase investment in clean cooking projects and infrastructure by relying on numerous sources of finance – concessional, commercial and philanthropic.

In the context of sub-Saharan Africa, they said concessional support remains important in delivering much-needed technical assistance, addressing the affordability gap that many households in Africa face, and reducing the high cost of capital faced by African energy companies. A large portion of this concessional support would need to come from international sources.

However, it was also acknowledged that development finance is a limited pool frequently called upon for other urgent priorities. Therefore, they envisaged a crucial need to better leverage on attracting commercial investment via blended finance solutions – an approach which has witnessed a growing number of successful examples in Africa.

They asked countries and development partners to include clean cooking in the mandates of other development financing instruments focused on areas such as health, gender and education.

Options to implement this include requiring that all relevant spheres consider clean cooking in project proposals (mainstreaming), carving out a portion of relevant budgets explicitly for clean cooking, or pooling funds.

Low-hanging fruits and sustainability for clean cooking

Carbon credit markets or carbon markets was said to be likely to play a fundamental role in filling the financing gap for capital investments in clean cooking in Africa and in closing the affordability gap for accessing clean cookstoves and fuels.

Participants also acknowledged the existence of a capacity gap for host governments and local actors to access carbon markets at scale. They said carbon credits could stand as an important source of revenues to accelerate the development of clean cooking activities in Africa.

However, most argued that the carbon credit community needs to overcome some challenges to enable finance at greater scale to flow towards clean cooking projects in Africa through carbon credits. They further expressed concern that African countries were yet to benefit sufficiently from carbon markets.

An IEA analysis has shown that all African countries combined account for a meagre 3 per cent of the credits issued globally in the more than 20 years the UN Clean Development Mechanism has existed, whilst carbon finance could fill over 20 per cent of the clean energy investment gap in Africa by 2030.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme is known to have entered into a framework agreement with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). This collaboration underscores the leaders’ commitment to advancing sustainable energy initiatives in schools.

In collaboration with SEforAll, the UK-funded MECS programme and the Government of Tanzania are set to execute the first joint institutional eCooking programme – in Tanzania – targeting 50 schools.

The initiative has the potential to expand and cover over 5,000 grid-connected schools. To scale implementation, WFP and partners are determined to reach 10,000 schools and 5 million children globally in the next three years, this calling for an investment of about USD 100 million combined with carbon credit to come true.

Agency, the Clean Cooking Alliance, and the African Women’s Clean Cooking Support Programme, among others, have expressed readiness to support the operationalization and tracking of the outcomes of the Paris Clean Cooking Summit through the Africa Clean Cooking Consortium.

The private sector is already active in the clean cooking campaign. Since 2015, Oryx Energies has invested some USD 100 million in Tanzania’s LPG market through its local affiliate – Oryx Gas Tanzania Ltd (OGTL).

OGTL, pioneer of Clean Cooking in Tanzania, said it was committed to converting a further 6 million Tanzanian households from charcoal and firewood to LPG by the year 2032. The pledge implies that OGTL will continue to invest in the infrastructure required for reaching this goal at an approximate value of USD 50 million by 2030.

Countries were asked to create conducive policies on environment to support the enhancement of clean cooking access by considering tax and import duty reductions or exemptions on eligible clean cooking technologies and fuels, for a fixed, multi-year period that helps to jump-start clean cooking progress that could encourage companies to set up local manufacturing supply chains.

Other areas regarded as low-hanging fruits for African countries to fast-track clean cooking include incentivizing manufacturers, retailers and fuelling stations to facilitate the promotion of manufacturing, assembly and sale of clean cooking equipment.

The summit also asked governments to support local joint ventures and start-ups, to enhance the capacity of research and development institutions to develop tailor-made clean cooking solutions, implement and support clean cooking awareness programmes starting from the grassroots level, including primary schools as well as incentivise the expansion of supply chains to reach last-mile customers with stable and consistent energy supply.

Countries were asked to design policies to facilitate the transition from illegal/informal charcoal markets by incentivizing operators to become part of the clean fuel/cooking market ecosystem.

African countries were asked to work within the context of the African Union, G7, G20 and COP presidencies as well as other international and regional fora to ensure that clean cooking is included in their agendas, ideally with a multi-year focus.

Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia endorsed the policy pledge and committed to adopting and implementing a suite of policies and regulations adapted to national circumstances, which support the scaling up of clean cooking so as to attract new innovations, technologies, institutions, firms and investments.

At the summit, the G7 Climate, Brazil currently chairing the G20, Energy and the Environment ministers committed to promote clean cooking. The Paris summit brought together over 1,000 delegates, including 55 government delegations, convening four Heads of Government, with 23 ministers and several heads of international organisations in attendance.

The Paris summit also drew high-level representatives from industry, development partners, philanthropies, and civil society, making it the largest-ever gathering dedicated to the shared objective of advancing clean cooking access in Africa. Additionally, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a special session at the Elysée on the occasion of the summit.

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By Jamhuri