- Over 90% of Kenya’s population uses wood, charcoal, or kerosene for their daily cooking needs
- Young entrepreneurs are using the country’s lack of access to clean energy as a business opportunity
- On October 28, 2014, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited Kenya’s Climate Innovation Center to see these innovative energy projects
NAIROBI, October 29, 2014—In Kenya, over 90% of the population uses wood, charcoal, or kerosene for their daily cooking needs. These fuels pollute the environment and pose serious health risks such as respiratory infections or even death.
While the country offers several clean energy sources, such as bio fuels and solar power, their market is still in its infancy. Prices are often not competitive compared to less sustainable but cheaper alternatives, and the lack of adequate infrastructure prevents their adoption in many rural areas.
Mohamed Kadhi saw a business opportunity in Kenya’s lack of access to clean energy when he founded Consumer Choice Ltd (CCL), a clean technology startup that develops clean cookstoves and a bio-ethanol fuel. On October 28, Mohamed had the opportunity to showcase CCL’s product lineup to Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, during his visit to the Kenya Climate Innovation Center, a business incubator supported by infoDev, the World Bank’s global innovation and entrepreneurship program. The bio-ethanol gel is an alternative biofuel made from molasses, a by-product of sugar extraction.
Another exhibitor during Dr. Kim’s visit to the Kenya Climate Innovation Center was theKeekonyokie slaughterhouse. This business has been recycling blood from a community-based Maasai slaughterhouse to create biogas for cooking. The slaughterhouse generates about 10 metric tons of slaughter waste. To manage the waste and turn it into something useful, the abattoir has constructed a biogas digester which channels waste into gas. The firm even stores the fuel in used tires, lessening the environmental impact of the operation.
While bio-ethanol fuel and biowaste-based gases are clean and highly efficient energy alternatives, getting Kenyan kitchens to adopt these alternatives at affordable prices remains a daunting challenge that would require carefully planned sales, marketing and financial strategies.
Since its founding in 2012, the Kenya CIC has been helping CCL and Keekonyokie with identifying potential target market segments and financing mechanisms, developing marketing strategies, and providing policy support through working with local policymakers in order to create greater incentives for the adoption of clean fuels.
The Kenya CIC supports 83 client enterprises – selected from over 330 applicants. With support from the governments of the United Kingdom and Denmark, the Center aims to spark the next wave of clean technology innovation in Kenya, and catalyze new solutions that promote Kenya’s private sector growth while achieving sustainable development objectives. Thanks to the services of Kenyan CIC entrepreneurs, about 8,300 persons have better access to safer, cleaner water, 55,000 people are better able to cope with effects of climate change, and close to 49,000 people are using low carbon energy sources. The infoDev Climate Technology Program is establishing CICs in eight countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, and Vietnam.