Cooling for Success

Developing sustainable cooling solutions in a rapidly changing climate was just one facet of the many challenges that were discussed at the ACES forum in Kigali, Rwanda, last week. These topics are also covered in EEP Africa’s newly published Cold Chain Storage Market Assessment. 

A well-designed and developed cold chain is nothing short of a game-changer: it is fundamental to our access to food and healthcare. Aligning and greening the cold chain (meaning activities and processes for transportation, storage and handling of perishable goods under controlled temperature conditions) can prevent post-harvest food losses and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, well-managed cold chains ensure food security by reducing food price inflation and buffering food supply. Realising SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), and SDG 8 (Decent Work and economic growth) depends on the development of sustainable cold chains in regions where they are not yet widespread.

While the market for cold chain solutions on the African continent may still be in emerging stages, the clean energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is buzzing with new companies, technologies, and business models focusing on cooling solutions. These new solutions are more than welcome as they create a more sustainable and effective cold chain across the African content than traditional (usually grid-connected or fossil fuel-based) approaches.

ACES (African Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain Institute) is a first-of-its-kind institute dedicated to a holistic approach for the entire cold chain, including testing fit-for-purpose-technologies, off-grid community cooling demonstrations. The Centre, in collaboration with partners, plans to equip smallholder farmers with knowledge and skills to deploy cold chain solutions efficiently. EEP Africa attended the launch forum on 17 to 19 October and participated in the fruitful discussions. Key topics included, among others, viable business models, ranging from try-before-you-buy to cooling-as-a-service, and the relationship between farming seasonality and underutilisation of cold storage rooms.

A key insight from the ACES forum was the need to focus on adaptation strategies which involve culture and behaviour, revolving around the quest to discern what truly fits within specific contexts. Adaptation strategies are both local and sector specific. In other words, developing cooling solutions in rural Kenya is significantly different than cooling in a bustling city like Kampala.

The recent Cold Chain Storage Market Assessment by EEP Africa delves into cold chain infrastructure, shedding light on the dynamics of supply and demand in Eastern and Southern Africa. Interested in the prospects of the cold chain storage market in Eastern and Southern Africa, particularly in Kenya and Uganda? Delve into the insights offered by the EEP Africa market assessment. Discover more here.