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Suraj Wahab Ologburo: the entrepreneur the stove reduce charcoal use by about 26,000 tonnes each year, saving trees and significantly cutting [CO.sub.2] production.

Six years ago, the entrepreneur Suraj Wahab Ologburo started Toyola Energy Ltd, a stove business, and has since produced 154,000 of these efficient charcoal stoves that are cooking meals for around 940,000 people.

Many households in Ghana cook on charcoal stoves and spend a big slice of their income on this fuel. So Toyola Energy designed a cleaner, more efficient and durable model, the "coal-pot" cook-stove. It typically uses two-thirds of the charcoal of other stoves, cooks faster and cuts down on smoke. The stoves reduce charcoal use by about 26,000 tonnes each year, saving trees and cutting CO2 production by around 150,000 tonnes a year. They are a perfect example of how much can be achieved through the use of simple, clean energy technologies.

The stoves sell for as little as $7 each. To make them more affordable, Toyola offers customers the option to buy on credit with a 25% deposit and pay back their loan over two months using the money saved on charcoal.

One of Toyola's first customers, Gina Garbon, asked Ologburo to supply five stoves for her market stall. Within a month she had sold 100. As her business continues to thrive, she has been able to buy land and begin to build a house. "Selling stoves has changed my life," she says.

Toyola stoves are made to high standards by 170 trained artisans and sold across Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso. With five production centres in Ghana and one in Togo, Toyola plans to increase sales. By 2013, it hopes to be producing 140,000 more stoves from new bases in Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

And having won the highly prestigious international Ashden Award Gold Prize last year, which comes with a cheque of some $16,000, Toyola is well on the way to achieving that objective.

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Title Annotation:SPECIAL REPORT
Publication:New African
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6GHAN
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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