Landmark summit mobilises $2.2 billion to make 2024 a turning point for clean cooking access in Africa

IEA Clean Cooking Summit

Close to 60 countries, as well as companies and development institutions, gather in Paris to channel unprecedented resources towards addressing a challenge affecting huge numbers of women and children

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.

Co-chaired by the leaders of the governments of Tanzania and Norway, and the African Development Bank and the International Energy Agency, the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa has mobilised USD 2.2 billion in financial pledges from governments and the private sector. Close to 60 countries are taking part in the Summit, with over 1,000 delegates in attendance. President Emmanuel Macron of France is hosting a special session for heads of state and other leaders at the Elysée Palace on the occasion of the Summit.

The tools for enabling clean cooking access are readily available and affordable – and can have a profound impact on the lives of people across Africa and beyond. But progress in many African countries has significantly lagged what has been seen in other regions in recent decades. Today’s Summit is the first time that such a large amount has been dedicated to clean cooking access at a single gathering, with the potential to make 2024 a turning point on an issue that has been overlooked for too long. The pledges made at the Summit come on top of other recent commitments including that of the African Development Bank at COP28 in Dubai. 

Lack of access to clean cooking affects over 2 billion people worldwide. More than half are in Africa, typically cooking over open fires and basic stoves. Using charcoal, wood, agricultural waste, and animal dung as fuel, they inhale harmful toxic fumes and smoke with dire consequences for health. It is the second leading cause of premature death in Africa. Women and children account for most of the lives lost, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Opportunities for education, employment and independence are limited because women instead spend hours each day foraging for rudimentary fuels.

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.”

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 USD 50 million in this important cause.”

IEA Executive Director Fatih 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, USD 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.”

African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi A. 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 USD 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).”

Following the summit, the IEA 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 methods to ensure that pledges and commitments are fulfilled, tracking 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 USD 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.

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 endorsed The Clean Cooking Declaration, pledging to make the issue a priority and enhancing efforts toward achieving universal access for all.