Highlights from Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference

Highlights from Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference

Find out what was disccused at Africa’s largest biogas and clean cooking convention in Addis Ababa, from 5-7 April.

After many months of intensive preparation, the Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking conference kicked off on 5 April with a warm welcome to 160 participants from 30 countries by His Excellency Wondimu Tekle, the State Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity of Ethiopia. His Excellency confirmed the Ethiopian Government's continuous commitment to clean cooking initiatives and bio-digester dissemination in Ethiopia. The Government of Ethiopia has been a highly respected partner of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP) since the beginning of the programme and through its co-support more than 13,000 households gained access to domestic biogas.

His Excellency Wondimu Tekle's speech was followed by Mr. Atef Marzouk's opening address. As Acting Head of Energy Division of the African Union Commission, he highlighted the priority given by the African Union to modern and clean energy solutions – including biogas.

Mr. Jan Willem Nibbering, First Secretary Food Security of the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in Ethiopia described how the Government of the Netherlands aims at increasing access to green energy (with a strong focus on clean cooking) for people in developing countries. The support for climate smart solutions also includes support for domestic biogas market development, a sector in which the Government of the Netherlands has been a leading development financier for many years.

Jean Marc Sika, ABPP Fund Manager, highlighted the commendable results of our programme since 2009 while also stating that with 60,000 installed digesters, domestic biogas seeds have only just started to take roots in Africa. He concluded his remarks with a strong request to His Excellency Wondimu Tekle and Mr Atef Marzouk to become the biogas ambassadors of Africa and persuade other African leaders and actors about the relevance of biogas technology for African farmers and their families. In the closing remarks Mr Tesfaye Fichalla, special advisor of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Electricity announced that His Excellency Wondimu Tekle accepted the request.

Worku Behonegne, Country Director of SNV Ethiopia emphasised SNV’s track record in biogas since the first installation in Nepal more than 25 years ago. He took the audience for a fine walk on the “SNV biogas memory lane”, introducing SNV colleagues Felix ter Heegde and Saroj Rai to the conference participants. Felix has been working in SNV's biogas programmes for more than 20 years, some of which together with Saroj in Nepal. Saroj is now the SNV Lead Advisor to the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia.

Last but not least, Temesgen Tefera, Programme Manager of the National Biogas Programme Ethiopia, closed the opening session presenting the national and regional programme structures and highlighting the results achieved: out of ABPP's 60,000 bio-digesters, 13,000 were installed in Ethiopia! A more than commendable achievement and a reason to award the great work done by masons and biogas construction enterprises and to congratulate the 13,000th biogas household in Ethiopia.

The conference also showcased the newly launched biogas-fuelled injera stove, a product developed by the National Biogas Programme of Ethiopia (NBPE). As injera is the staple food of Ethiopia, introducing a clean stove that makes its baking easy will positively impact the Ethiopian biogas sector and will improve the lives of millions of women.