THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEAN AND MODERN COOKING SOLUTIONS
Nearly nine hundred million (900,000,000) people, over 70% of the population, in sub-Saharan Africa lack modern cooking solutions, and instead rely on wood, charcoal, kerosene, crop waste, and animal dung. This causes substantial negative impacts on health, the environment, and economic prosperity, and is an issue that is closely related to gender inequality.
Cooking over open fires and other traditional methods is responsible for injury, illness, and the premature deaths of 600,000 people in Africa each year due to exposure to household air pollution.
It contributes significantly to climate impacts, representing 20-45% of Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions, and 25% of its black carbon emissions, a key driver in climate change. In addition, an estimated 52% of forest loss in Africa is due to firewood collection and charcoal production.
Traditional cooking methods are also deeply intertwined with gender inequality. They require a significant expenditure of time and effort from women responsible for cooking and fuel collection and also affect children who are nearby their mothers during cooking, and who often assist with fuel collection.
The scale of the issue is tremendous and underappreciated. A recent World Bank report estimated the total investment required from the private sector to be approximately $2.6 Billion per year in Africa, and $11 Billion per year globally, which is dwarfed by the social, environmental, and economic costs of inaction at $330 Billion per year in Africa, and $2.4 Trillion per year globally.