The Center for China-Africa Agriculture and Forestry Research (CAFOR), based at the Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University (ZAFU), China, officially opened its doors on December 16, 2012. A joint initiative between INBAR and ZAFU, the center will serve as a platform for researchers and related stakeholders in China and Africa to promote exchange, research and technology transfer in the fields of forestry and agriculture.
CAFOR’s vision is to mobilize South-South collaboration to address the development needs of countries in Africa, with a primary focus on countries that have potential to develop bamboo and other relevant sectors. The center will act as a base to conduct collaborative scientific research on African agriculture and forestry development, as well as capacity building. Through studying the current development of African agriculture and forestry, CAFOR will explore effective modes for South-South agricultural technology cooperation.
The launching ceremony was attended by the following delegates from African countries: H. E. Seyoum Mesfin Gebredingle, Ambassador of Ethiopia; Mr. Assefa Biset, Minister Counsellor of Ethiopia; H. E. Philip Marmo, Ambassador of Tanzania; Mr. Adelin Nimubona, First Counsellor of Burundi; and Mr. Paul Gerard Nsah Voundy, Plenipotentiary Minister of Cameroon.
Many Chinese officials were also present, including Mr. Chen Weishan, Vice-Chairman of Standing Committee of the Zhejiang Provincial Congress and Dr. Wang Chunfeng, China’s State Forestry Administration ’s Chief Negotiator to the UNFCCC.
“African and Chinese agriculture and forestry are complementary and have a lot of potential to learn from each other and share in mutually beneficial cooperation,” highlighted Ambassador Seyoum in the speech he delivered at the event. “The launching of CAFOR provides those who work on agricultural and forestry education and technology in both China and Africa [with a] communication platform.”
Building on experiences from other Chinese education and research institutes coupled with INBAR’s international network, the center will develop various strategic cooperation programs to provide technology and policy support for the sustainable development of the agriculture and forestry industry in Africa and China. CAFOR will be a hub for future scientific partnerships between China and Africa, and South-South collaboration at large.