Rwanda: Koko Networks to invest $25m for ecological cooking
The Rwandan authorities have just signed an agreement with Koko Networks to set up a national bioethanol distribution network for cooking. The company will invest $25 million to implement this clean cooking project.
The use of clean cooking systems is expected to accelerate in Rwanda in the coming months. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has signed an agreement with Koko Networks. The Nairobi, Kenya-based company will set up a network of bioethanol cooking fuel vending machines. The network will provide Rwandan households with easy access to clean cooking fuel.
Also used in petrol-powered cars, bioethanol is a biofuel made from plant material such as wheat, maize or beet. According to experts, the use of bioethanol has some environmental advantages. This is because beetroot and cereals absorb CO2 from the atmosphere in large quantities during their growth through photosynthesis. They are then processed to produce bioethanol. The CO2 released during combustion corresponds to the CO2 absorbed during the growth of the biomass.
According to Koko, his investments will mainly reduce deforestation. Some Rwandans still use charcoal for cooking. “Protecting our natural environment is a strategic priority for Rwanda, both at the national level and in the context of our international climate commitments. Similarly, clean cooking is an essential part of Rwanda’s efforts to achieve the UN’s health, gender and economic development goals,” says Clare Akamanzi, RDB’s Executive Director.
The Rwandan government is aiming for universal access to clean cooking by 2030, to address the problems of deforestation, CO2 emissions and indoor air pollution caused by the use of charcoal and wood for cooking. As part of its new mission, Koko has partnered with Dalberg to develop a national network to supply Rwandans with bioethanol.
To facilitate Koko Rwanda’s investments, the RDB is committed to providing a favourable policy environment. Also, Value Added Tax (VAT) will be exempted. The same applies to import duties on equipment and bioethanol.
“The full benefit of these cost reductions will be passed on to households through lower consumer prices. Koko Rwanda will provide the technology, capital and expertise to build and operate a nationwide network, leveraging $25 million in private climate finance to create 500 direct jobs and new revenue streams for thousands of small business partners,” promises the company led by Greg Murray.