In Kenya, 76% of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking, with serious implications for public health (including an estimated 15,000 deaths linked to indoor air pollution), as well as the environment, women’s well-being and economic opportunities, and economic development.
Kenya is already a leader within sub-Saharan Africa in developing and distributing clean cookstoves, but in order to achieve large-scale market transformation, it needs to play a larger role in supporting private-sector actors to reach scale, by removing market barriers to commercial cookstove initiatives, tapping local innovation, and facilitating access to end-user finance.
There is an urgent need for the Kenyan government to recognize the value of biomass energy to the larger economy, especially in rural areas, and design/reframe energy and economic development policies accordingly. In particular, charcoal, which remains unregulated, requires targeted policy measures and policy coherence between ministries to ensure more sustainable production and slow demand growth amid rapid urbanization.
There is no “one size fits all” approach to successful cookstove initiatives, but several key success factors are known. They include stove quality and features (efficiency, reduced emissions, design that meets the diverse needs of users, accessibility, ease of use); finance for both end-users and stove enterprises; an enabling policy and regulatory environment; and a commercial approach.
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