Bamboo for poverty reduction, sustainable development, climate change action and trade: Signing of Sino-Dutch agreement for Bamboo Projects in Africa
South-South and Trilateral Cooperation in Africa
Beijing, China: Growing abundantly across many parts of Africa, bamboo can be utilized to support the economic development of communities in this region. On Tuesday the 2nd of August, 2016 officials from the government of Netherlands, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and China along with Council Working Group of INBAR representing its 41 member states gathered for the formal signing of an agreement between INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aimed at developing the bamboo sector in East Africa, over the next three years. Building on Chinese and Dutch expertise in bamboo value chain development, product design, marketing and standardization it will help East Africa unlock the vast potential of its indigenous bamboo resources for green economic growth, trade and poverty reduction.
On the signing of the agreement the Ambassador at large for Foreign Trade and International Development, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Jeroen Verheul said, “This agreement exemplifies the new approach to international development based on the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. This unique collaboration will mobilise the best contributions from all members of this partnership, resulting in benefits for all, in particular for the countries in Africa benefitting from this cooperation.”
While Dr. Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR commented, “Bamboo is a unique opportunity for many countries in Africa – a strategic resource to boost the continent’s green economy while helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. With the signing of this agreement a strong trilateral cooperation will form which will seek to promote green and sustainable development with the help of bamboo.” Mr. Wang Chunfeng, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, State Forestry Administration stated, “The State Forestry Administration is pleased to be working together with the Dutch government to transfer technology and business knowledge to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Our Minister Mr. Zhang Jianlong visited Uganda last year and was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness of the country to develop its bamboo sector. On top of that, Ambassador Jeroen Verheul and Vice Minister Mr. Zhang Yongli expressed their hope for and confidence in this trilateral program when they met last year. We hope this kind of trilateral collaboration model will be further developed and we wish more and more developed countries would collaborate with INBAR and its member countries for bamboo development.”
This trilateral cooperation aims at addressing 3 core issues - reducing poverty and promoting green economic growth through the development and improvement of industrial bamboo value chains in East Africa; reduction of land degradation and climate change mitigation; and finally increasing trade between Europe, East Africa and China. With the support of Chinese and Dutch experts along with local partners, a number of initiatives aimed at supporting the bamboo development program will be launched including resource assessment studies, workshops, awareness programs, trainings and creation of guidelines and publications.This agreement presents a distinct opportunity to assemble a range of experts from China and the Netherlands for nurturing the bamboo sector in East Africa. Creating a crucial support base and value added resources support via the trilateral cooperation, this unique agreement will help address challenges, promote innovation and foster the development of bamboo projects in Africa; which in turn will impact the livelihood of several communities. South-South and Trilateral Cooperation could very well be the turning point for the growth and development of the bamboo sector in Africa.