Last Thursday, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new OPIC partnership with GE to finance a clean cookstoves project in East Africa – one of a select series of public-private partnerships producing sustainable solutions to key global challenges that she chose to highlight during her final week in office.
Developmentally, the project addresses one of the world’s most underreported health challenges. Exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves is one of the World Health Organization’s top five threats to public health in developing countries, resulting in approximately four million premature deaths each year. Women and young children are particularly at risk. Replacing traditional cookstoves and open fires with high-efficiency stoves improves health, reduces carbon emissions, slows deforestation, and lowers fuel costs.
BURN Manufacturing Co. (BMC) of Vashon, WA, is using a $3 million OPIC loan and $1 million in GE financing to finance a clean cookstove manufacturing project facility in Kenya with satellite assembly plants in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The stoves will be sold to a variety of entities, including carbon asset developers and aid organizations. In the process, BMC will create over 200 manufacturing jobs in East Africa and more than 20 design and manufacturing jobs in Washington State.
BMC’s goal is to manufacture and sell 3.6 million clean cookstoves in East Africa by 2020.