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1 December 2023

NEW REPORT | The Future of Africa’s Sustainable Cities: Why Clean Cooking Matters

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Today, the Clean Cooking Alliance (CCA) and ICLEI Africa unveiled the report “The Future of Africa’s Sustainable Cities: Why Clean Cooking Matters,” which highlights the critical role that clean cooking must play in ensuring sustainable and equitable urban growth, with a particular focus on the fast-growing cities of sub-Saharan Africa. The report was launched at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) during an official side event hosted by the SDG Pavilion.

By 2050, nearly 7 out of 10 people will be living in a city. The vast majority of urbanisation is occurring in the Global South, with Africa hosting 17 of the 20 fastest growing cities in the world. Many of these cities are grappling with the challenges of alleviating energy poverty and inequality amid rapidly growing populations, and most of their citizens continue to rely on firewood and other biomass fuels for their cooking needs. These practices harm the surrounding natural environments and have major impacts on public health, gender equality and economic potential. Without significant action, nearly 2 billion people could find themselves without access to clean cooking solutions by 2030.

Fortunately, this moment of rapid urbanisation also presents a tremendous opportunity to provide clean cooking solutions at a massive scale.

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For decades, ICLEI Africa has been supporting hundreds of cities and regions in building a resilient and equitable urban future; key to this is universal access to clean cooking. Every time a family gains access to clean cooking, their future looks brighter. They spend less time collecting fuel wood or charcoal, they benefit from reduced household air pollution, and they contribute to keeping more trees in the ground. We will continue to contribute to the clean cooking revolution wherever ICLEI Africa can add value.

Kobie Brand
Regional Director: ICLEI Africa

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Most of the infrastructure needed to support these growing cities has yet to be built, which gives today’s urban planners, policymakers, and the private sector a valuable chance to lay the groundwork for widespread adoption of clean cooking solutions in the years ahead. However, this transition must begin now to ensure that the world’s future megacities are able to pursue a path of sustainability and inclusivity.

Dymphna van der Lans

As world leaders gather at COP28, this report serves as a call to action for stakeholders to recognise that access to clean cooking in Africa’s cities is critical to meeting national, regional, and global climate targets and development goals.


This report serves as a compass, guiding us towards a future where every African city can boast of accessible, clean, and efficient cooking solutions. It highlights the central role that providing access to clean cooking can have across multiple sustainable development goals, while addressing the issues of air pollution, health, gender equity, environment, and social development.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE
Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone

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