Scaling Cleaner Cooking Solutions in East Africa: Acumen Discusses Its Kopagas Exit
It’s hard to believe that amidst all the technological innovation of the twenty-first century, 2.6 billion people around the world still have to use open fires to cook their meals.1
This is not just a problem of the inconvenience of outdated technology, but of health: more than 4 million people—the majority of whom are women and girls—die each year from exposure to the air pollution produced by cooking with open fires in their homes. That’s more than the number of deaths each year from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined.2
And these deaths are preventable. Off-grid clean cooking solutions can significantly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions contributing to these deaths. Yet they are grossly underfunded. To reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, investors need to infuse $4.39 billion into clean cooking companies over the next 10 years.3 Due to challenges from product affordability to customer behavior change, these early-stage cookstove companies are often too high-risk for the typical traditional investor: only $21.2 million was invested in clean cookstove companies in 20174 compared to $284 million in off-grid lighting companies.5
1. Why Off-Grid Energy Matters: An Impact Performance Report, 60 Decibels.com, February 2020.
2. Energy Impact Report, Acumen.org, 2017.
3. Accelerating Energy Access: The Role of Patient Capital, Acumen.org, 2018.
4. Accelerating Energy Access: The Role of Patient Capital, Acumen.org, 2018.
5. Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report, LightingGlobal.org, 2018.
Photo courtesy of the Clean Cooking Alliance.