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Business News of Friday, 16 November 2018

Source: Kofi Ahovi

GHACCO lauds gov't on MOU with Korea to deploy 500K improved cookstoves to rural dwellers

The Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Fuels (GHACCO) has lauded government for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government of Korea for the deployment of 500,000 cookstoves to rural dwellers.

According to them, the move is a step in the right direction as it would help create jobs for local entrepreneurs and artisans, reduce the burden of disease and health risks posed by open fire and inefficient cooking methods and also reduce the fast depletion pace of Ghana’s forest cover.

Read below the full statement.

GHACCO commends government on the move to deploy 500,000 improved cookstoves to rural dwellers with funding from the government of South Korea

The Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Fuels (GHACCO) lauds Government on the MoU signed between her and the Government of Korea for the deployment of 500,000 improved cookstoves to rural dwellers.

In our view, the initiative which spans a period of five years beginning the early part of 2019, with a total funding amount of 10 million US dollars from the Korean Government is worthy of our commendation for a number of reasons including;

1. That the initiative will contribute to a reduction in the burden of disease and health risks posed by open fire and inefficient cooking methods, but most importantly, will reduce the consequential loss of lives to in-door air pollution, currently accounting for an estimated 18000 deaths, per annum, in Ghana alone.

2. That the project which is estimated to have an initial job creation potential of 1,375 direct jobs for local entrepreneurs and artisans, with potentials for creating several hundreds of additional indirect jobs for young men and women across the entire value chain demonstrates the job creation prospects of the clean cooking industry in Ghana.

3. That the provision of these stoves if scaled could significantly help to reduce the fast depletion pace of Ghana’s forest cover (which is currently exploited at a rate of about 3%) in view of the reduced levels of firewood and charcoal consumption associated with the adoption of improved cooking solutions and practices.

4. That the programme will without doubt, help curtail the devastating effects of climate variability in relation to the release of polluting black carbon as a result of incomplete combustion of biomass fuels with the use of inefficient cookstoves or open fires.

5. And that, the delivery of these stoves would especially impact women and girls through a reduction in time spent in fetching firewood and cooking. The savings made can now be invested in gainful economic activities by the women and in studying by the girls, all of which improve their future prospects and wellbeing.

While lauding Government for the initiative, we wish to state that the implementation of the programme should learn from the experiences of past interventions like the Ahibenso project which failed to reach scale. It is often reported that projects that focus on stove giveaways without due consideration to market-based approaches that seeks to address critical aspects of the cookstoves value chain not only distort the market but also fail in the creation of sustainable markets.

The bane of such project arrangements remain their inability to create commercially viable enterprises that would majorly continue to service stove replacements into the future upon completion of the project, especially where demand has been adequately stimulated.

We therefore crave the indulgence of Government to ensure that the implementation of this project takes due cognisance of scalable market advancement by incorporating project streams that aim at strengthening supply, enabling demand, creating access to finance for clean cooking technologies and facilitating a concerted policy environment.

We recognise that the inability to create a sustainable cookstove market is a major barrier for reaching scale which is why our maiden edition of Ghana’s Clean Cooking Forum in 2018, held only a week ago, was themed “Translating Sector Commitments into Scalable Market Impacts”. It is therefore our hope that this new project will reflect the aspirations of this theme.

With strengthening supply, we submit that in this nascent stage of the cookstove market, emphasis should be placed on capacity building for cookstove manufacturers towards the development of innovative high performing stoves while supporting the establishment of catalytic financing schemes in the nature of concessionary loans coupled with business development support.

Indeed, the outcome of our ongoing “Woodstove Challenge” initiative which we launched with SNV Netherlands Development Organization a few weeks ago, and which ends in December, could be leveraged towards finding the most impactful woodstoves technology in particular.

Similarly, we suggest that enabling demand requires significant awareness campaigns and GHACCO will be available to offer its support in this light by leveraging its regional networks and the awareness raising and advocacy experiences. Having private cookstoves enterprises fund awareness raising campaigns imposes additional burden on these companies. Existing public sector structures like the information services department through the district assemblies could help to coordinate these campaigns.

Additionally, enabling demand implies ensuring that cookstoves are made accessible to end-users through facilitating the establishment of the necessary distributor and retail networks. To immediately support this, existing distributors and retailers across the country should be given the opportunity to disseminate the stoves under the programme in addition to any new distributor and retailer lines to be created.

Lastly, paving the way for a thriving cookstove market also calls for efficient coordination of policy efforts and the creation of appropriate policy instruments aimed at enabling the environment as an anchor to future cookstoves business.

GHACCO in partnership with SNV has already initiated efforts with the Ministry for Planning in this regard where the 8th National Policy Dialogue coordinated by the Ministry, held on 19th of September, 2018.

It was dedicated to clean cooking policy discussions and highlighted the fragmented policy efforts and interventions in Ghana that must be consolidated and harmonized to rationalize impact within the industry. The application of the gazetted cookstoves standards and labels will as well be useful in this light.

It is our hope that through inclusive market development approaches, we will efficiently leverage programmes of this kind towards universal adoption on clean cooking in Ghana, by 2030.

Finally, we commend Government and His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, for his personal commitment to “saving the forest” evidenced by the implementation of ‘forest-saving’ policy initiatives such as “Operation Vanguard” and the massive afforestation project over the last couple of years.

As Co-Chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates, we urge His Excellency to continue to pay more attention to the clean cooking industry, which addresses 10 of the 17 SDGs and the Government’s flagship policy initiatives.

Thank you.

Mohammed Aminu Lukumanu
Chief Executive Officer
Ghana Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and Fuels