Urgent Call: 500,000 African Women Perish Annually Due to Cooking Fuel Crisi

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has sounded a dire alarm, revealing that no fewer than 500,000 African women meet untimely deaths each year due to the hazardous practice of cooking with firewood, charcoal, or stoves. The IEA disclosed that this staggering toll stems from the lack of access to clean cooking facilities, underscoring a pressing issue that disproportionately affects women and children across the continent.

In a poignant documentary released on Friday, the IEA highlighted the grim reality faced by millions, with approximately 760 million people worldwide still lacking access to electricity. Shockingly, 2.3 billion individuals continue to rely on primitive energy sources for cooking, with Africa emerging as one of the regions hardest hit by this crisis.

The documentary shed light on the staggering toll exacted on women, who endure the burden of collecting firewood for up to four hours daily, depriving them of precious time and hindering their educational and professional aspirations. The IEA underscored the urgent need for action, emphasizing that Africa requires a mere $4 billion annually until 2030 to bridge the energy gap for clean cooking—a figure equivalent to Europe’s weekly expenditure on coffee consumption.

Despite significant strides, as noted in a report marking International Women’s Day, over 1.5 billion people have gained access to clean and modern cooking fuels since 2010. Yet, the grim reality persists for millions, with more than one in three women compelled to cook over smoky, toxic fires fueled by wood, charcoal, and kerosene, resulting in over four million premature deaths annually.

The burden of this crisis falls disproportionately on women and children, with Africa bearing the brunt as the second leading cause of premature deaths in this demographic. Urging African leaders to confront this urgent issue, the IEA announced plans to collaborate with the African Development Bank to host a high-level Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa on May 14.


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