Friday, 24 September 2010

The Economist welcomes Clinton's $50m for clean cookstoves (just don't give them away)

This week's Economist welcomes Hillary Clinton's $50m for clean cookstoves but quotes US stove specialist Kirk Smith saying in the past too much emphasis has gone on technology and talking to people at the top, too little to consulting the women who actually do the cooking.

The Economist also welcomes "a new-found awareness of market forces" in government and within the UN. It reports Mrs Clinton saying the new stoves "must not be given away".

That will come as good news to the small army of entrepreneurs in the developing world now coming up with novel business models to sell and service the cooking stoves. One such innovator is Suraj Wahab of Toyola [pictured above], a start-up selling some 60,000 stoves a year in Ghana by offering micro-credit. His advice to the new UN coalition is “please don’t offer handouts and don’t give away stoves.”

One of the investors in Toyola is E+Co, which has also invested in Ashden Award winners Tecnosol (2010), Ecami (2009), Zara Solar (2007) and SELCO-India (2005 and 2007).

For a detailed assessment of the issues surrounding clean cookstoves, read the Ashden Awards report Stoking up a cookstove revolution.

For more on "the small army of entrepreneurs" see, for instance: Clean, green energy future " holds huge promise for Indian business"

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