Background: Delivering clean cooking access to 1.2 billion people who cook with charcoal, kerosene and firewood may have a strong localized employment impact. With the challenge of a rapidly expanding youth population and growing job scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa, understanding the impact of clean cooking on employment as well as the skills gap is timely. However, there is little definitive data on clean cooking jobs. Recognizing this data gap, we sought to conduct a study focused specifically on employment from the clean cooking sectors in Kenya, covering liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), bioethanol, biogas and electric cooking solutions. This study provides an initial baseline and early estimate of clean cooking sectors’ direct formal and informal employment based on one year of company survey data, expert interviews, available literature, and local focus group discussion.
Results: In Kenya, the clean cooking sector provided about 19,000 direct, formal jobs and potentially 15,000 to 35,000 direct, informal jobs in 2019. While the clean cooking sector provided many jobs, the level of compensation and retention is low. In the LPG and electric cooking sector, sales and distribution are the biggest part of the workforce, while for bioethanol and biogas, manufacturing and assembling is important. The majority of the direct, formal workforce is reported to be skilled. Management, finance and legal, and product development and research are the most difficult skills to recruit for. Women’s participation is lower than 30% in the clean cooking sectors. Managerial positions have higher women’s participation than non-managerial ones.
Conclusion: This research exercise establishes a baseline for understanding the employment impact of the clean cooking sectors. However, a massive data gap persists. Our study shows that while the clean cooking sectors, especially LPG, are already providing tens of thousands of jobs, further studies are critically needed to map the employment impact of delivering universal clean cooking access.