World Leaders Pledge $2.2Bn For Clean Cooking In Africa

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa currently holding in Paris, France has mobilised $2.2 billion in financial pledges from governments and the private sector.

IEA Executive Director, Fatih Birol who disclosed this on Tuesday assures that the agency would closely track the pledges to ensure that they are met on time and in full.

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Birol said, “This Summit has delivered an emphatic commitment to an issue that has been ignored by too many people, for too long.

“We still have a long way to go, but the outcome of this Summit, $2.2 billion committed, can help support fundamental rights such as health, gender equality and education while also reducing emissions and restoring forests.

“And the commitments announced today go beyond the money alone – they set out concrete steps on how governments, institutions and the private sector can work together to solve the clean cooking challenge this decade.

“I’m proud of the IEA’s decades of work on this issue and of its leadership in initiating this groundbreaking Summit.

“Going forwards, we will rigorously track the commitments announced today to make sure they’re met on time and in full – and continue to do our utmost to bring greater resources and attention to this critical issue”, he said.

Co-chaired by the leaders of the governments of Tanzania and Norway, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and IEA, the Summit has in attendance close to 60 countries and over 1000 delegates.

The first ever high-level Summit focused on providing clean cooking access to the more than 1 billion people in Africa who currently lack it, has delivered a breakthrough financial commitment for addressing one of the world’s most persistent and deep-seated inequalities.

According to the IEA, more than 2.3 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean cooking solutions and still cook their meals on traditional stoves using wood and charcoal.

Also speaking, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania said: “Ensuring clean cooking access for all in Africa needs adequate, affordable, and sustainable financing for appropriate solutions and innovations; adequate global attention; and smart policies and partnerships.

“Successfully advancing the clean cooking agenda in Africa would contribute towards protecting the environment, climate, health, and ensuring gender equality.

“This Summit underscores our commitment to advancing this agenda and providing a framework towards universal adoption of clean cooking fuels and technologies across the continent”, he said.

In addition, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway said: “Improving access to clean cooking is about improving health outcomes, reducing emissions, and creating opportunities for economic growth.

“With today’s Summit, we have mobilized much needed support, and built a diverse partnership that together can make a real difference.

“Norway is a steadfast supporter of clean cooking, and I was pleased to announce today that we are committed to investing approximately $50 million in this important cause”, he said.

On his part, AfDB Group President, Akinwumi Adesina said: “At the African Development Bank, we are delighted to play a leading role alongside the International Energy Agency (IEA), Tanzania and Norway, to definitively tackle lack of access to clean cooking, that affects a billion people in Africa.

“In concert with countries, we will increase our financing for clean cooking to $200 million annually over the next decade, while also scaling-up the provision of blended finance for clean cooking through the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA)”, he said.

Following the summit, the IEA said, it will employ a “double-lock system” to ensure that momentum behind clean cooking does not slow in the coming months and years.

“The agency will focus efforts on two areas. First, by using effective tracking methods to ensure that pledges and commitments are fulfilled, monitoring them carefully to make sure the money is spent in a timely manner and reaches those in need.

“Second, the IEA will continue to play a convening role to engage more willing partners and generate new funds to help meet the $4 billion a year in capital investments required between now and 2030.

“Reaching this level of funding would enable the world to deploy the stoves and fuel delivery infrastructure needed to reach universal access to clean cooking in sub-Saharan Africa”, the agency said.

Success stories from other regions demonstrate that rapid and transformative progress on clean cooking is achievable. Similar innovative approaches are now required in countries across Africa. Leaders at the Summit all highlighted that now is the time to show endeavour by fixing this problem once and for all.

At the Summit, more than 100 countries, international institutions, companies and civil society organisations also signed onto The Clean Cooking Declaration, pledging to make the issue a priority and enhancing efforts toward achieving universal access for all.

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