Household cooking fuel use patterns and determinants across Southern Africa : evidence from the demographic and health survey data

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 7
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: Improving access to modern energy sources is critical to enhancing the quality of life of many people in developing countries. In southern Africa, the majority of rural and poor urban households are dependent on solid fuels to meet their cooking needs. This has adverse effects on health, productivity, and environmental sustainability. To date, there is scarce information in the literature on household cooking fuel patterns and choice determinants across the southern African region. Using household fuel data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), this study investigated cooking fuel types and the determinants of their choice by households in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The data on household cooking energy were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics. Results show that 25% of sampled households in all seven countries have access to electricity, while 66% rely on biomass for cooking. Chi-Square analyses revealed a statistically significant relationship between place of residence and type of cooking fuel, and between access to electricity and type of cooking fuel. Results from multiple regression analysis showed that socio-demographic factors such as access to electricity, household size, level of education, and wealth index have a positive influence on the type of cooking fuel used in this region. However, access to electricity does not imply that households will negate the use of traditional fuels. These results have implications for household air pollution, health, policy and environmental sustainability. It is recommended that energy interventions in this region need to consider demand factors and have to be less supply driven, advocating for continued use of multiple fuels from a suite of options.