The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $5 million investment in the SPARK+ Africa Fund to deliver clean cooking solutions to over two million households across Africa.

The European Commission would contribute an additional €10 million.

A statement explained that the Bank’s investment, which would come from its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), was expected to enable the participation of other interested investors. As an anchor investor, the Bank would channel first-loss equity from SEFA and the European Commission thematic blending facility, it added.

In addition to delivering clean cooking technologies, the investment is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 15.9 Mt of CO2 equivalent, by cutting emissions from the use of inefficient stoves and open fires and forest degradation for wood fuel.

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Switching to cleaner cookstoves reduces exposure to harmful cooking smoke and the time spent collecting firewood, a burden that falls disproportionately on women.

“By investing in the rollout of clean cooking solutions to millions of households, the Bank is also contributing to women’s empowerment, employment creation and reduced deforestation associated with charcoal production,” African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Dr. Kevin Kariuki said.

He pointed out that the investment complements the Bank’s wider efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that, “positive health impacts from the reduction of household in-door air pollution also contributes to resilience toward diseases attacking respiratory systems such as COVID-19.”

[Also Read] COVID-19 Intensifies the Urgency to Expand Sustainable Energy Solutions Worldwide

Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Cooking Alliance, Dymphna van der Lans, said: “The Clean Cooking Alliance is very pleased to have collaborated with Enabling Qapital, the African Development Bank, and the European Commission to develop this ground-breaking investment facility.”

SPARK+ Africa is a pioneering impact investment fund launched by Enabling Qapital and the Clean Cooking Alliance to channel debt and equity financing to enterprises that manufacture, distribute and finance clean cooking solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Fund targets a capitalisation of $50 to $70 million.

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