Q&A: Africa’s $40B Market for Cooking Fuel Is Being Cleaned Up
By Bryony Collins
KOKO Networks is stepping into Africa’s $40 billion market for household cooking fuel with its non-polluting bioethanol cooking technology that undercuts the cost of using charcoal by as much as 40%, Greg Murray, chief executive and co-founder of the Nairobi-based company, told BloombergNEF in an interview.
The five-year old company has installed its first 700 KOKOPoint machines in convenience stores across Nairobi in Kenya. These dispense bioethanol cooking fuel in canisters to households otherwise dependent on using kerosene or charcoal for cooking. The latter fuels currently dominate the household cooking market and are responsible for deforestation, carbon emissions and indoor air pollution, Murray said.
Customers that buy a KOKO cooker and refill their canisters through the KOKO fuel dispenser “can access fuel that is 40% cheaper than charcoal and 10% cheaper than kerosene,” said Murray. KOKO Networks has partnered with Royal Dutch Shell licensee Vivo Energy to deliver the bioethanol to each of the 700 dispensaries that are “within five minutes of every front door in Nairobi.”
In the next two to three years, the 600-strong company aims to increase its network coverage to around half of all Kenyan households. To achieve its global ambitions, the company plans to license its hardware and software to large distribution companies currently operating in the consumer goods space, Murray said.
Read the Q&A for more.
Photo courtesy of Jorge Corona.