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Clean energy

Oikocredit invests in clean ­cooking

by Franziska Wekenborg

In brief

Around the world, some 3 million people depend on coal, wood and other unhealthy fuels for cooking fires. The fires cause carbon emissions as well as toxic smoke. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) about 3.8 million people die every year of illnesses that are related to indoor air pollution. Deforestation, moreover, needs to be kept in check, so alternatives to cooking fires are needed.

Inyenyeri, a Rwandan enterprise, is providing such an alternative. The idea is to use energy-intensive wood pellets instead of charcoal, reducing biomass consumption as well as smoke. This technology protects human health – and the global climate.

Since May 2018, Oikocredit is supporting Inyenyeri. For more than 40 years, this international cooperative has not only been involved in microcredit schemes, but also bought shares of promising partner companies in developing countries and emerging markets. Since 2014, Oikocredit has been promoting renewable-energy projects that contribute to improving poor people’s standard of life.

Oikocredit has bought € 1 million’s worth of con­vertible Inyenyeri bonds. The investment is meant to help Inyenyeri to establish the business model in Rwanda. “We are convinced that Inyenyeri can improve masses of people’s way of life,” says Matthias Lehnert, the chief executive of Oikocredit Germany. David ten Kroode, an Oikocredit expert on renewables, sees scope for expansion into other countries: “We want our investment to pave the way, so other investors will support the shift to clean cooking technology too.”

As Oikocredit points out, the investment serves the seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”.

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