Growing the Briquette Business in East Africa
More than 100 entrepreneurs joined workshops in Uganda and Kenya this month to help address the challenges and opportunities in producing, marketing and selling briquettes used in cookstoves. As part of the Alliance’s global efforts to build a more thriving marketplace for alternative fuels, the meetings gave attendees the opportunity to learn from experts and government officials engaged in the sector. The workshops also served as a chance for entrepreneurs to share knowledge about their work and to identify ways to overcome common barriers, as well as how to better reach their goals for feedstock supply and production, distribution, marketing, policy and standards.
[pullquote]Participants identified a number of key actions that should be considered in both countries, including ways to:
- Set up a formally registered cooperative for briquette manufacturers and distributors to collectively discuss how to get support, understand the standards process, share barriers, solutions and information, fundraise, and undertake collective purchasing and marketing
- Forge closer engagement with local cookstoves alliances, the Global Alliance, and local practitioners to leverage existing programs and resources
- Get targeted capacity building and technical training for local enterprises, both in person and online
- Enable an online forum to ask questions, share information and marketing techniques
- Schedule recurring meetings to discuss strategy and include local Alliance, practitioners, ministry, standards and testing representatives in these discussions
- Place emphasis on ensuring the quality of the briquettes and setting of minimum standards
- Target financing for business growth, and R&D for fuel equipment and briquette-burning stoves
In Kampala, Uganda, attendees heard from Godfrey Ndawula, Assistant Commissioner for the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, who talked about the range of national biomass energy strategies and support efforts already being undertaken by the Ministry. Ndawula pledged his commitment to continue engagement with the briquette sector in Uganda.