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Clean Cooking Advances Women’s Empowerment

The Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa on May 14 will bring together government leaders, heads of financial institutions, development partners, and policymakers from around the world to develop a roadmap for delivering universal clean cooking in Africa. Whatever they decide, women and girls must be at the center of the discussion.

NAIROBI – More than 600 million Africans lack access to electricity, and over 900 million lack access to clean forms of cooking. The consequences for the health, livelihoods, and well-being of both urban and rural populations – especially women and girls – are severe and far-reaching.

In 2021, four out of ten people without access to clean-cooking facilities lived in Africa, where nearly four out of five people still cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves, using polluting fuels like wood, charcoal, and animal dung. In 2022, about 3.2 million deaths worldwide were linked to household air pollution caused by cooking fuels and technologies.

Since women do most of the cooking, often with children in tow, they suffer the most exposure. In Africa, women and children account for 60% of early deaths related to smoke inhalation and indoor air pollution.