In my first few months at the Alliance, I have spent a lot of time listening. I’ve met with individuals from across the clean cooking sector, from entrepreneurs and investors to consumers and development partners. There is real excitement about clean cooking’s potential. However, a challenge I hear repeatedly is the lack of investment in this sector. Clean cooking enterprises attracted less than US$20 million in debt and equity in 2016. This is a tiny fraction of the billions we know are needed annually to achieve universal access to clean cooking.
We must close this gap. Together with our partners, the Alliance is tackling this issue head-on. Just last month, we announced the first-ever Clean Cooking Investment Forum to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, in early November. The Forum is designed to bring investors and businesses together to drive growth and increase sector finance. We’ve also released a new RFP for technical assistance and grants through our Spark+ program, and partnered with Ashden – the UK-based organization behind the prestigious Ashden Awards - to create the first Ashden Award for innovation in clean cooking. Much more needs to be done, and we are actively seeking opportunities to catalyze further growth.
I look forward to seeing many of you in Kigali!