19 of the 20 countries with the lowest clean cooking access rates are in Africa – Osinbajo


Nigeria’s vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said that 19 of the 20 countries with the lowest clean cooking access rates are in Africa. He said this during his recent visit to Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.

The 20 countries are South Sudan, Burundi, Liberia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Guinea, Rwanda, The Gambia, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, and Haiti (the only non-African country).

While addressing staff and students of the school, Prof. Osinbajo said sub-Saharan Africa is the only region with a rising number of people without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.

According to Sustainable Energy for All (SEForAll),  about 2.6 billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions, with the lowest access rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. In March 2022, SEForAll also estimated that the cost worldwide from the use of traditional fuels for cooking is $2.4 trillion each year, while finance for clean cooking solutions remains far below the estimated $4 billion required annually to ensure universal access by 2030.

In his speech, Prof. Osinbajo said the poor and vulnerable in developing economies are the first to suffer and worst hit by climate change effects. According to him, no place on earth is immune to the effects of climate change. However, the impact is different across key regions and groups.

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Climate change as a social issue: Prof. Osinbajo believes that climate change is an inherently social issue with social justice implications. He said there is a need to reframe the climate action paradigm from merely a technical effort to cut emissions, to an approach that places people and addresses social inequality at the center of efforts.

African economies taking a hit: While emphasizing that climate change is more evident in Africa than in any other region, Prof. Osinbajo highlighted the fact that estimates from the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, say that African economies are already between 5 and 15% smaller because of climate change. He however stated:

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  • “I must emphasize that developing economies do not seek a free pass when it comes to climate action. There is more than sufficient evidence of commitment to developing climate-sensitive, locally grounded transition pathways as many of us have done with our nationally determined contributions (NDCs).”

While highlighting Nigeria’s energy transition plan (ETP), Prof. Osinbajo asked the Global North countries to recognize the need for a wide range of options and different paths to net zero emissions in Africa.

Prof. Osinbajo gave some highlights as to what a just energy transition should look like:

  • Developing economies must have universal energy access at levels sufficient for dignified livelihoods and economic growth.
  • The energy transition must place energy access for both consumptive and productive uses as well as the required policy flexibility, and financial and technical support at the heart of climate action.
  • Making capital available for the buildout of energy systems is central to reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • To meet its decarbonization obligations, Africa needs both conventional and capital flows and the development of innovative mechanisms like debt-for-climate investments and carbon trading.
  • Inhibitive development finance restrictions must be lifted and upscale technology transfers must be done to ensure developing regions have access to the latest energy innovations and can build local industries on fair terms.

For the record: Nigeria’s energy transition plan focuses on lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty and driving economic growth, bringing modern energy services to the country’s entire population, and managing the expected long-term job loss in the oil sector due to the reduced global fossil-fuel demand.

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