The European Union and Sweden join hands to fund the Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) in Zambia, supporting the programme’s expansion and further development to scale up access to clean and modern cooking solutions in the country.
It was announced today, at a launch event in Lusaka hosted by Sweden, that the EU will contribute EUR 12.5 million (ZMK 250 million) to the MCFA programme over 5 years to support market development for clean cooking in Zambia and increase awareness of the positive impact that a transition to clean and modern cooking can have on health, nature and the climate.
“We can protect the environment by providing alternatives to harmful cooking practices. Our support for the MCFA programme will ensure that the right infrastructure and technology are in place for a transformation to clean cooking in Zambia, reducing deforestation and pollution, and improving the health of thousands of Zambian women,” said Jacek Jankowski, Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA, in connection with the launch event in Lusaka.
The MCFA programme offers results-based financing combined with catalytic grant financing to help private companies developing and selling clean cooking services and scale up their businesses in six Sub-Saharan African countries. A first funding round was launched in April 2022 with the overall aim of supporting about 10 businesses. The first round of projects is currently undergoing detailed due diligence.
Sweden, the initiator and first donor to the MCFA programme, is providing a total contribution of SEK 325 million (~EUR 32.6 million/~ ZMK 684 million) to support programme development and scale-up in all project countries.
“MCFA is an innovative and exciting vehicle that engages the private sector to provide clean and sustainable cooking solutions at a reasonable price in Zambia and five other African countries. The supported companies will have a positive impact on human health, the environment and gender equality, as well as support a green and just energy transition, which is one of the main priorities of the current Swedish Presidency of the European Union,” commented Johan Hallenborg, Sweden’s Ambassador to Zambia.
Currently, some 16% of the population in Zambia has access to clean cooking. The aim is for 170,000 new affordable clean cookstoves to be distributed by the first companies funded by MCFA, benefiting some 870,000 people in Zambia. Current factors limiting access to clean cooking services in the country are affordability and access to credit, as well as consumer cooking behaviours and a lack of awareness of the associated benefits of clean cooking.
“We are very pleased to have brought the EU onboard as a new investor in the MCFA programme, joining Sweden and Nefco as part of the Team Europe initiative. The EU’s contribution will further financially incentivise the provision of clean cooking technologies to urban consumers, allowing us to increase scale in Zambia and contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 7 on affordable and clean energy access,” said Ash Sharma, Head of MCFA and Vice President at Nefco.
The EU funding will be provided under the Zambian Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Transformation Programme (ZEEST), whose main objective is to unlock the potential of the private sector to contribute to the attainment of national energy efficiency and climate resilience goals. The programme is funded by the 11th European Development Fund, with a total value of EUR 25 million (ZMK 500 million). The contribution to MCFA is a crucial component of ZEEST and part of the European Union Global Gateway initiative, a new European strategy to boost smart and clean projects that combine public and private financing. Global Gateway includes five areas: climate and energy, transport, health, digital development, and education and research to support green and digital transitions beyond Europe’s borders. The initiative is implemented through a Team Europe approach, with different actors working together on common priorities and principles to achieve scale and have visible impacts in partner countries.
The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) supports access to and scale-up of higher-tier clean cooking solutions, currently in six Sub-Saharan African countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The overall aim of the MCFA programme is to enable the distribution of at least 750,000 clean cookstoves and associated fuels, providing access to clean cooking solutions for approximately 3 million Africans. The first funding round (MCFA1) was open between April and June 2022 and received significant interest in all project countries. Among the applications received, all types of sustainable fuels were represented. The total financing available to companies across all project countries is EUR 30.8 million (~ ZMK 646 million). The aim is to contract initial MCFA projects at the end of the second quarter of 2023.