Nearly 900 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa rely on traditional biomass (wood, charcoal, dung, or agricultural residues) for cooking. This has major health consequences, as inefficient and incomplete combustion of traditional biomass is associated with high levels of hazardous air pollutants.
In this study, we present several scenarios for the development of (clean) cooking solutions in Sub-Saharan Africa assuming specific policy options or specific transition pathways towards universal access by 2030.
The scenarios consider historic developments, availability of fuels and infrastructure, required investments, and trade-offs and synergies related to health, biodiversity and climate change. For this purpose, we use the IMAGE modelling framework, where the global energy model TIMER (specifically the household energy model REMG), the IMAGE-LandManagement model, and the GISMO health model form integral parts.
The results show that, in the absence of coordinated actions, enabling policies and scaled-up finance, the number of people in Sub-Saharan Africa relying on traditional biomass cookstoves could amount to 660-820 million by 2030 (50-60% of the population). Phasing out traditional biomass has considerable social, environmental and economic benefits, and could lead to lower total fuel expenditures. However, investments in cookstoves need to be quadrupled relative to baseline.