What was discussed at the Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference in Ethiopia?

What was discussed at the Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference in Ethiopia?

The Africa Biogas and Clean Cooking Conference, 5-7 April 2016, Addis Ababa, addressed the development of the clean cooking solutions market. The speakers called upon stakeholders to increase access to clean and sustainable energy through sharing and scaling up of best practices.

The event was hosted by the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE) and the African Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP).

The guest of honour, H.E. Wondimu Tekle, MoWIE State Minister, opened the conference by saying that Ethiopia has been focusing on developing its abundant renewable energy resources to address the energy demand of its fast growing economy: “Our energy policy framework focuses particularly on the development of these huge renewable energy resources to supply the various sectors of the economy and society with adequate, convenient, affordable and reliable energy in a sustainable manner”, he said.

At continental level, the African Union Commission (AUC) also provides support to increase the access to modern and sustainable energy for African people. The representative of the AUC, Atef Marzouk, Acting Head of Energy Division, emphasised that biomass is the only domestic energy resource for millions of Africans and called upon stakeholders to support the activities of the ABPP partners who have already managed to install 60,000 bio-digesters across Africa. He added that the AUC will continue to implement and support “the activities of the ABPP towards achieving the goal of sustainable energy access in Africa”.

Recognising the benefits of stakeholder collaboration to increasing access to clean and sustainable energy through advocacy, Jean Marc Sika, ABPP Fund Manager, Hivos, requested H.E. Wondiumu Tekle and Atef Marzouk to become ambassadors of biogas in Africa. He further noted: “The success of the ABPP is a combination of a strong linkage to food security and agricultural value chains, the stimulation of the energy and the private sector and the effective involvement with financial institutions.”

Elaborating on the linkage between clean cooking and food security, Jan Willem Nibbering, First Secretary and Food Security Councillor of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said: “Biogas shows how energy, water and food security can be integrated. It is both climate change mitigation and adaptation. It is business development and job creation.”

Worku Behonegne, Country Director, SNV Ethiopia, also emphasised that biogas has multiple benefits and this is what encouraged the government and financial partners to set targets with financial commitment to scale up the programme. He added: “Besides innovation for new products, business models and approaches, SNV also stresses the impact at scale. This is achieved by developing the capacity of local organisations in partnership with governments, private sector, donors and other development partners.”

On the closing day the discussions revolved around biogas awareness raising. The representative of the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS), Frank van der Vleuten said: “The awareness level has to reach the level where doctors prescribe biogas for ailments related to the respiratory system for the rural community”.

In his closing remark, Tesfaye Fichalla, special advisor of MoWIE announced that H. E. the State Minister accepted the request to become a biogas ambassador. He also expressed the commitment of the Ethiopian government to improve the programme and stressed the need for enhanced awareness and advocacy in order to scale up the clean cooking solutions.

Read more highlights from the conference.

This is the link to the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme website.