Innovation and Change

Promoting Access to Clean Cooking Fuels in Subsaharian Africa Through Entrepreneurial Initiative: Challenges and Strategies.

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Energy has become one of the biggest brakes on the development of sub-Saharan African countries. Despite the vast potential of the region, which contains significant energy resources, most of its population still lack access to electricity and modern cooking fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ethanol or biogas and this slows down economic growth and social development. Although considerable progress is being made in improving electricity access, the development of the cooking-fuel sector is lagging behind. In fact, 86% of the region's population still use charcoal, firewood or kerosene, with the resulting negative impact on health, the environment and living conditions. What are the consequences of this tragic reality? Why do the adoption of better cooking fuels and private investment in the sector remain so limited? Can this be an attractive market for entrepreneurs keen on making a significant social impact? Also, for those investing in the sector, what are the main barriers to overcome and how can these challenges be tackled? In this paper, all these questions are analyzed. Furthermore, there is a particular focus on understanding the common trends in the strategies adopted by four promising start-ups operating in the sector and how they are innovating to create solutions and business models that respond to the sector's biggest challenges.
Bibliographic citation: Leticia Pelizan; Giordano, Paola; Lickteig, Lena; Rahnema Alavi, Ahmad, "Promoting Access to Clean Cooking Fuels in Subsaharian Africa Through Entrepreneurial Initiative: Challenges and Strategies.", IESE, OP-312-E, 06/2019
Date: 06/06/2019
Author(s): Leticia Pelizan; Giordano, Paola; Lickteig, Lena; Rahnema Alavi, Ahmad
Document type: Occasional Paper
Editor(s): Cátedra Fuel Freedom de Energía y Desarrollo Social
Department: Strategic Management
Languages: English

Learning objective Creating awareness of the scale of the problem of dirty cooking fuels in sub-Saharan Africa 2) Understanding the challenges limiting the adoption of clean cooking solutions by the low-income population 3) Understanding the market barriers of which companies must be aware when entering this market 4) Discussing the common trends found in the strategies that new companies are adopting, even though they use different fuels or solutions and business models