IEA convenes ambassadors and officials to discuss clean cooking access in Africa ahead of Summit

family photo of attendees to the summit

Delegates from around the world gather at IEA headquarters to emphasise commitment to clean cooking, with momentum building towards key Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa next month

High-level representatives, including more than 20 African countries representing 80% of the continent’s population, met today to discuss the urgent need to expand access to clean cooking, emphasising the importance of turning 2024 into a crucial year for action.

The meeting – which included officials from 27 countries in all, with 14 ambassadors attending – took place ahead of the Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa, which will be held on 14 May at UNESCO in Paris. The Summit will be co-chaired by President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina.

A lack of access to clean cooking affects more than 2 billion people around the world. In Africa, four in five people cook over open fires or on basic stoves, with severe impacts on health, gender equality and the environment. Inhaling hazardous smoke from wood, charcoal, animal dung and other polluting fuels causes millions of premature deaths each year – with women and children bearing the worst consequences. In Africa, it is the second leading cause of premature deaths among women and children, accounting for 60% of early deaths alone due to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

“Delivering access to clean cooking for all is extremely important for Africa and the world,” said Ali Jabir Mwadini, Tanzania’s Ambassador to France. “Clean cooking is inseparable from other health, gender, environment and climate issues, and we expect that the major Summit in Paris next month will ensure it is at the very top of the agenda for world leaders.”

“It is clear that access to clean cooking is a priority issue for our partners in Africa, where millions of people – particularly women and children – have suffered the catastrophic consequences of inaction for too long,” Dr Birol said. “We expect the upcoming Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa to serve as a powerful catalyst for change – providing a global forum for fresh financing commitments and sharing effective policies. With strong international cooperation, we believe 2024 can be a real turning point for clean cooking access, an issue that does not garner the attention it deserves.”

5 1

At the meeting, officials gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges tied to the clean cooking issue. Representatives from Benin, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia were joined by high-level officials from countries including the United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan and G20 President Brazil – the hosts of COP28, COP29 and COP30 – as well as from Colombia, India, Norway, the African Development Bank and the Clean Cooking Alliance.

The IEA was the first international agency to start tracking energy access more than two decades ago and has been a steadfast voice advocating for clean cooking access ever since. Solving this issue requires a historic commitment, which would be among the most consequential investments in Africa’s and the world’s future.