Over $16 million allocated for promoting clean cooking in sub-Saharan Africa

The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) will launch its second funding round in response to significant demand for financial support from private sector companies working within the clean cooking and renewable energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa.

This new funding round will open at the end of November, supporting access to and scale-up of high-technology clean cooking solutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The new MCFA funding round will be divided into two funding windows combining results-based financing and catalytic grant financing. The total available funding for both windows will be up to €16 million (nearly $16.9 million) and the individual ticket sizes will vary from €500,000 to 2.5 million (around $527,000 to $2.6 million).

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“Our new funding round will further support the introduction and scaling of modern cooking solutions to create long-term sustainable markets for these technologies in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Building on an external evaluation of the first MCFA funding round, we are seeking to offer more opportunities for clean cooking companies by making a number of changes to the eligibility criteria and streamlining the application process. This will make MCFA funding more accessible to earlier-stage companies,” commented Ash Sharma, Vice President at Nefco and Head of MCFA.

Pushing the clean cooking rate past 20%

The lack of clean cooking solutions is a global challenge and one of the key sectors in Africa for accelerating the green energy transition. Globally, some 2.3 billion people lack access to clean cooking, of which some 900 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In most of the MCFA target countries, the current access rate to clean cooking is less than 20%.

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The Modern Cooking Facility for Africa (MCFA) announced its first funding round in spring 2022 and has so far signed six agreements in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The new funding round will be divided into two stages, with a simplified pre-qualification stage to verify basic project and applicant eligibility criteria followed by the submission of a full proposal and business plan. Further information, selection criteria and guidelines will be made available on the MCFA website when the new funding round opens.

The new funding round will continue to support only higher-tier cooking solutions, including electric cookstoves and cookstoves that use sustainably produced solid and liquid biofuels or biogas solutions. In addition, the new funding round will also be available to clean cooking companies using liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

Malawi joining the funding club

The catalytic window will be targeted at earlier-stage companies with the potential to scale. 50% of the requested MCFA financing within this window will be provided in the form of non-reimbursable catalytic grants and available to companies in the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The scale-up window will be open to more mature companies in all project countries under terms similar to those of the first MCFA funding round, but with Malawi introduced as a new target country. This window will provide up to 30% of available funding in the form of non-reimbursable catalytic grants and the rest as result-based financing.

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“We see significant demand for financial support from companies active in the clean cooking sector to further expand their businesses and produce and sell affordable modern cookstoves for their customers.

“Therefore, we are very excited to announce that we will soon be opening a new funding round and tailoring the MCFA to better meet the needs of companies operating in the sector,” says Heli Sinkko, Programme Manager at Nefco.