DUBAI — In the midst of the ongoing COP28 conference, Robinah Nabbanja, Prime Minister of Uganda, delivered a compelling address to the Global e-Cooking Coalition in Dubai, UAE, on Tuesday. This coalition, comprised of governments, international agencies, and private philanthropists, convened at COP28 to address critical issues related to clean energy and environmental sustainability.
During the coalition’s session, pledges totalling at least US$30 million were realised, with the UK government pledging $15 million and Germany pledging 10 million Euros toward advancing initiatives to electrify cooking and combat the adverse environmental and health impacts associated with traditional cooking methods.
“I am delighted to discuss a topic of great importance and urgency—electrifying cooking as a just journey towards net zero,” said Prime Minister Nabbanja, setting the stage for a comprehensive overview of Uganda’s initiatives and challenges.
The session was attended by several notable figures, including Uganda’s Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu; the Energy Permanent Secretary, Ms Irene Bateebe; Uganda’s Ambassador to the UAE, Mr Zaake Kibeedi; and several Uganda Government technocrats.
With a backdrop of lively discussions at COP28, Ms Nabbanja highlighted Uganda’s significant challenge, where over 89% of the population still relies on solid biomass for cooking, leading to high deforestation rates.
Citing World Health Organization statistics, she revealed the devastating impact on public health, with over 22,000 annual deaths, mainly affecting women and children.
Emphasising the urgency of addressing these challenges, Ms Nabbanja outlined Uganda’s Vision 2040, specifying the need for clean, affordable, and reliable energy. “My Government shall require 52,481MW by 2040,” she said, underscoring the commitment to increasing access to the national grid to 80% by 2040.
Furthermore, she detailed Uganda’s efforts to reduce reliance on biomass energy, highlighting the Third National Development Plan’s target to cut its share from 89% to almost 50% by 2025 and 100% by 2040. She unveiled the updated Energy Policy for Uganda (2023), designed to create a comprehensive framework for the clean cooking sector, complete with fiscal incentives to encourage private sector involvement.
Addressing the transformative National e-cooking strategy, Ms Nabbanja outlined ambitious targets. “We aim to accelerate the adoption of e-cooking solutions from 1% to 38% by 2030,” she announced. This strategy, she stressed, aligns with Uganda’s commitment to triple achievements in per capita electricity consumption, expand clean cooking access, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Acknowledging challenges such as high costs and supply chain issues for efficient electric cooking appliances, Prime Minister Nabbanja assured that the government had developed a strategy to address these hurdles.
She commended the Global e-Cooking Coalition for its ambitious program. “Uganda remains committed to ensuring universal clean cooking access for the betterment of the livelihoods of her citizens,” she concluded, encapsulating the nation’s dedication to a greener and sustainable future.