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Opportunities for Modern Energy Cooking Services in Myanmar: Adapting the Multi-Tier Framework Approach

8th April 2021

By Martin Price (Gamos Ltd.)

The Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme supports the UK government’s position concerning recent events in Myanmar. We condemn both the coup and the state of emergency that has been imposed in the country, as well as the unlawful detention of democratically elected politicians and civil society members. The MECS programme stands in solidarity with our colleagues and friends in Myanmar, their families and fellow citizens, and we remain concerned for their safety and well-being. Our statement can be read in full here.

Today marks the publication of our fourth working paper in a series based on the ‘Beyond Connections’ reports, which are produced by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP).

In “Myanmar – Beyond Connections” (Koo et al, 2019), the authors present a diagnostic of the multi-tier framework data from Myanmar. The multi-tier framework is an approach to understanding the nuances of energy use both for electricity and clean cooking, and thus provides a level of detail rarely captured by existing national data sets. The report was among the first in a series of country-specific reports to be published, and intended to set a new standard in data collection and to present the findings in a useful format for policy actors. Their report summarises access to both electricity and clean cooking in Myanmar, whilst also providing an analysis of the gender dynamics at play across varying levels of energy access.

In the working paper published today, we consider whether the multi-tier framework data could provide additional insights into ‘transitions to modern energy’, where access to electricity and clean cooking (electricity, LPG) form part of an integrated policy agenda. Our interest lies especially in the use of electricity for cooking, and here we explore the data for linkages between groups of households across the electricity/clean cooking divide.

The report begins by exploring the current state of electricity access and modern energy cooking fuels in Myanmar. An integrated analysis of these trends at the household level then follows, taking into account the financial cost, time burden, and quality and reliability issues associated with household cooking. Gender dynamics are integrated throughout the report, and particularly in relation to women’s prominent role in both cooking and purchasing decisions.

The paper demonstrates the importance of nuanced data collection and analysis when attempting to understand the opportunities and challenges of transitioning to modern energy cooking. We show that electricity is a popular cooking fuel in Myanmar, and argue that clean, energy-efficient appliances are the answer to rising charcoal prices and the burden of firewood collection and preparation.

The first three reports in the series, focusing on the cooking transition in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Zambia, are available via these links. Additional reports focusing on Nepal, Rwanda and Kenya will be published in the coming months.


Featured image: J. Leary (MECS).