A NEW INBAR REGIONAL OFFICE FOR CENTRAL AFRICA
A new INBAR Regional Office will strengthen bamboo and rattan development in Central Africa.
Sunday 2 September, Beijing – On 2 September, INBAR and Cameroon formally agreed to establish a new INBAR Regional Office in Central Africa, in a signing ceremony held at the Embassy of Cameroon in Beijing, China.
Cameroon has been a member of INBAR since 2002, and remains one of the organisation’s most active African members in bamboo and rattan development. In March 2018, the President of Cameroon, H.E. Paul Biya, visited INBAR Headquarters in Beijing – a sign of the strong support between Cameroon and INBAR. And at the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in June 2018, a large delegation from Cameroon shared their experiences about bamboo and rattan’s uses for sustainable development. In 2016, Cameroon even organised a regional conference about bamboo and rattan development, which provided a platform for discussions about these plants’ uses in the context of Central Africa. The Congress resulted in Cameroon’s first national bamboo policy, which was confirmed in early 2017.
The new Regional Office will be INBAR’s third in Africa, and fifth overall, joining a global list including Ecuador Ethiopia, Ghana and India. The Centre, which will be based in Cameroon’s capital Yaoundé, will help to provide technical support for local bamboo and rattan projects, including capacity building and training, technology transfer, nursery establishment and appropriate landscape management.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Hans Friederich, Director of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, INBAR, said: “Cameroon and INBAR have been active in bamboo and rattan related activities for many years. Our relations with Cameroon are very strong and have real impact, and the establishment of a new Regional Office in Yaoundé will strengthen our partnership even further”.
According to Cameroon’s Minister of External Relations, H.E. Mbella Mbella Lejeune, Cameroon’s natural resources are an important part of its commitment to sustainable development: “Cameroon has abundant wild bamboo and rattan, and we have pledged to plant more as part of our commitment to the Bonn Challenge [for reforestation].” Although Cameroon has a strong culture and history of bamboo and rattan use, “We do not yet have any industrial manufacturing of bamboo, and this is the next step… in our efforts to build effective and economically sound value chains. We are counting on INBAR to help make this a success.”
The Ambassador of Cameroon to China, H.E Martin Mpana, also expressed his delight at a stronger relationship between the country and INBAR, saying that Cameroon was “looking forward to closer cooperation with the INBAR Secretariat and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.”