As of March 2023, some 2.4 billion people—about one-third of the global population—are living in cooking poverty, while about 89 percent of the Nigerian population lacked access to clean cooking fuels, the latest report by World Bank has shown.
The report also warned that the world is far off track to meet the 2030 target of clean cooking for all, a key component of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7).
This was part of the major highlight of the World Bank Energy 2023 report, with the theme: “Unlocking Clean Cooking Pathways- A practitioner’s key to progress,” developed by Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme of World Bank and reviewed by EnergyDay .
OVERVIEW OF THE NIGERIAN CLEAN COOKING LANDSCAPE
The Nigerian Government with different initiatives and programmes has identified Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas, as the country’s cooking fuel to address the effects of biomass-based fuel including charcoal and firewood used for cooking at homes and for other commercial purposes to mitigate air pollution and save lives.
Meanwhile the World Bank’s report established that only about 11 percent of Nigerians have access to clean cooking fuel.
This report was supported by the increasing rate at which users of LPG are switching to the use of charcoal and firewood, due to the persistent rise in the prices of cooking gas.
EnergyDay analysis based on the data obtained from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for January 2023, revealed that the average retail price for refilling a 5kg Cylinder of cooking gas was N4,588.75 in January 2023, thereby rising by 25.46% from N3,657.57 in January 2022.
Analysis showed that the value of 5kg of cooking gas in Nigeria has increased by 664.8%, from N600 in January 2021 to N4,588.75 in January 2023.
The escalating price of cooking gas is therefore responsible for the drop in the domestic LPG consumption from about 1 million metric tonnes in 2020 to about 700,000mmt as of January 2023, based on industry figures.
The alternatives which are charcoal, and firewood have now become important domestic cooking fuels for many Nigerians, due to the persistent scarcity and increase in the prices of both kerosene and cooking gas.
Industry experts and cooking gas marketers have noted that both kerosene and cooking gas are out of reach for the poor and low/middle-income class.
POOR ACCESS RATE IN NIGERIA AND OTHER SUB-SAHARAN AFRICAN COUNTRIES
The World Bank in its 2023 Energy report however revealed that Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries have not kept pace with population growth.
The report said, “The annual rate of population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, which averaged 26 million between 2010 and 2019, outpaced access gains of just 8 million per year.
“By 2020, its access deficit had reached 923 million people, the highest among all world regions. Comparing the access deficit with the progress in other regions, the World Bank showed that since 2000, the five most populous low- and middle-income countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan) have witnessed substantial progress.
It said, “Over the past decade, a steady rise in the global access rate (averaging 1 percentage point per year) was driven mainly by increases in Central and South Asia and East and Southeast Asia.
“Over that period, the access rate in Latin America and the Caribbean remained stable, at about 88 percent.,” the regional comparison of the report showed.
GLOBAL PERCEPTION IMPACT ON ACCESS RATE
Meanwhile, the World Bank’s report, showed that the past global perceptions of the cooking sector as orphaned, invisible, and expensive have held back progress in improving access, even though clean cooking is increasingly recognized as an important development issue.
The report explained that as of today, 2.4 billion people are still living in cooking poverty, compared to 733 million without access to electricity. Whereas, clean cooking is an essential component of achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 7.1, along with electrification.
The World Bank stated that the provision of clean cooking for all is recognized as a critical cross-sectoral development issue. The potential societal benefits are enormous, particularly for public health, women’s productivity and empowerment, and the environment.
The report showed that the World Bank’s clean cooking fund, which is the largest dedicated fund for galvanizing political commitment, scaling up public and private investment, and catalyzing innovation, is using innovative results-based Financing (RBF) designs and applications to promote long-term market development and advance access for all.
The WB cautioned that without accelerated action, 2.1 billion people that are relying on polluting, traditional fuels and technologies to cook their meals, will remain in cooking poverty in 2030.
The World Bank’s report said, “The cost to human health, women’s productivity, and the environment is staggering, conservatively estimated at US$2.4 trillion per year.
“Some 4 billion people are yet to reach cooking decency, meaning they lack access to Modern Energy Cooking Services—that is, cooking solutions that are clean, efficient, convenient, safe, reliable, and affordable.
Suggesting what should be done to improve the overall cooking ecosystem, the World Bank mentioned both market-based and investment-driven— with end user’s needs and priorities at the center.
It said, “Breakthroughs are especially needed in three interlinked areas, including, political commitment, investment, and knowledge and innovations.
“The World Bank’s Clean Cooking Fund, housed under the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) with a funding target of US$500 million, will catalyze another US$2 billion in public and private investments to help 200 million people gain access to clean cooking.
The World Bank however warned that since access to clean cooking is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7), it must be integrated into the energy planning process and development policies.
It said, “The energy sector is expected to lead in providing solutions and coordinate with relevant sectors, leveraging their networks and expertise.
“This requires a strong institutional champion that can coordinate with other relevant sectors. High-level political commitment is needed to spotlight the importance and urgency of accelerating access to clean cooking.
“Raising the sector’s visibility requires strategy, targets, budget, and a monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
The report further suggested that public investment that takes global public goods into account is essential for crowding in private investment, while knowledge and innovation are key to bringing down the costs of interventions.