The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo equips itself with a National Bamboo Policy and acknowledges bamboo as a tool for socio-economic and environmental development in the country.
On 10 August 2021 in Kinshasa, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) represented by the Ministry of Agriculture organized a validation workshop for their National Bamboo Policy. The workshop was chaired by H.E. Desiré M’zinga Birihanze, Minister of Agriculture of DRC in presence of Mr. Evariste Bushabu Bopeming, Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Aristide Ongone Obame, country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in DRC and Rene Kaam, Director of INBAR Central Africa Regional Office (CARO). The workshop also witnessed representatives from the Ministry of Arts and Handicrafts, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Rural Development and civil society organizations.
Mr. Aristide Ongone Obame recalled that bamboo is a green-gold opportunity for DRC with its more than 10,000 different uses, and highlighted its contribution to protecting the environment with its high carbon sequestration potential compared to most tree species. FAO representative further mentioned that DRC identified bamboo as a tool for the country development, thus the support from FAO in the development of the bamboo sector, the National Bamboo Policy is in fact a key outcome of this collaboration between FAO and DRC. He reiterated the support of FAO to the Government of DRC in the development of the bamboo sector.
In his opening remarks, H.E. Desiré M’zinga Birihanze emphasised the main objective of the National Bamboo Strategy which is to within 5 years diversify sources of revenue, improve the livelihoods and living conditions of the local population and reduce poverty by developing a sustainable bamboo industry. Further, the Minister mentioned that a pre-validation workshop of the National Policy was held on 23 August 2019, which was the opportunity to enrich the document. He argued, “the document we validated today is to make bamboo a tool of development which can help green development for socio-economic and environmental benefits and diversify the economy of DRC as supported by President of Republic”. The Government of DRC via the Ministry of Agriculture will engage all concerned financial and technical partners of development in DRC to focus on bamboo for sustainable development.
The Minister of Agriculture further declared INBAR as a technical partner of DRC. The Minister thanked the INBAR Director General for accepting the invitation to the validation workshop of the National Bamboo Policy and sending Rene Kaam, Director of INBAR CARO and equally important he committed to continue the process of DRC becoming an INBAR Member State, one of the key axes of the National Bamboo Policy of DRC.
Recently, INBAR, the Center for International Forestry Research and the Resources & Synergies Development company collaborated in theoretical and practical training on bamboo handicrafts and furniture in Yangambi, DRC, which benefited 36 artisans from 23 villages. INBAR hopes to welcome DRC as a Member State to support them in the development of their bamboo sector with more capacity-building initiatives. By countries becoming INBAR Member States they can benefit from knowledge transfer by learning from others’ countries experience in developing their bamboo sector and have access to a wide range of resources and training opportunities including tapping into regional and global markets, applying innovative value chains, technology transfer and standards development.
Read about the DRC-FAO collaboration in the endorsement of the National Bamboo Policy (in French)
Read about the new impetus for the bamboo sector in Yangambi (in French)