Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio Delivers Keynote Speech At Clean Cooking In Africa Summit, Encourages Global Leaders To Support The Cause

His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has addressed the Clean Cooking in Africa Summit, emphasising that it has seen a lack of progress because nearly four in five Africans still cook their meals over open fires and traditional stoves using polluting fuels.

He noted that the lack of access to clean cooking had dire consequences for health, the climate and gender equality, contributing to nearly half a million premature deaths of women and children annually in Africa alone.

The President, therefore, reiterated that the sole aim of the summit, organised by the International Energy Agency, IEA, is to elevate clean cooking on the global agenda, to mobilise financial commitments and to develop a roadmap of concrete action-oriented strategies.

His Excellency the President also commended the IEA and the Africa Development Bank Group for convening the summit, adding that the past experiences had revealed a disheartening truth that clean cooking, a matter of utmost importance, was often overlooked in the energy access and electrification planning processes in the different countries.

“Today’s Summit is a call to action, a plea to prioritise this crucial issue for the betterment of our people and our planet. In the context of Sierra Leone, the 2023 SDG Tracking Report shows that Sierra Leone’s access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking was at only 0.8% in 2021, with 1.5% of the population in urban areas having access and 0% in rural areas with access.

“The absence of access to clean cooking solutions significantly affects Sierra Leone’s economy, with estimated annual costs of inaction totalling US$4.7 billion. These costs stem from adverse impacts on various fronts: women’s lost productivity (US$1.4 billion), health (US$3.2 billion), and climate change impacts (US$0.2 billion).

“So, this Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa to Make 2024 a Turning Point for Clean Cooking is critical for Sierra Leone, and hence my presence here today. Therefore, we must be bold enough to implement the right policies and create the enabling environment to ensure that the close to 1 billion people currently lacking access to clean cooking in Africa can transition to cleaner fuels and technologies.

In his opening remarks as Chairman of the plenary and Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, Dr Fatih Birol, said he was pleased to have global leaders together to discuss ways of mitigating the effects and lack of access to clean cooking in Africa.

President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, said he was speaking at the summit as president of the ADB and a child who suffered from the effect of the lack of access to clean cooking. He noted that the summit was very timely and it would help mitigate the untimely deaths caused by the effects of the lack of access to clean cooking in Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of State House Sierra Leone.

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