The Bamboo sectoral association of Ethiopia has recently been launched to serve as a platform for stakeholder engagement and coordinate, convene and communicate the bamboo sector development of the country among different stakeholders, such as the private sector, the government, and other actors.
Ethiopia has launched its first-ever sectoral bamboo association to strengthen the bamboo sector development of the country through a professional consortium of actors drawn from different stakeholders of the bamboo business. Fragmentation across industry development efforts in Ethiopia continues to challenge the efficiency and development of the bamboo sector activities and impedes sustained sectoral growth. The sectoral association is believed to bring fragmented efforts and resources together and create a strong position of the private sector to influence government policies and strategies and bring about economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation through sustained sectoral advancement.
Present at the launching workshop were bamboo industry owners, women and men Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) groups, representatives of government agencies, INBAR East Africa Regional Office staff, and local media. Speaking at the event, Mr. Sileshi Bekele, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, said that business associations are useful in promoting the interests of the business community both at national, regional, and international levels. They play not only advocacy roles, but also engage increasingly in providing members a wide range of services such as promotion, information, certification, training, and technical assistance. Mr. Tadesse Tesfaye, the first chairman of the Ethiopian bamboo sectoral association, thanked the people who initiated the idea of establishing the association and said that forming a sectoral association is critical in keeping abreast of the latest knowledge and practices in the sector. It helps professionals to stay abreast of current issues and opportunities and will also assist in business improvement for members who become involved.
The meeting raised pertinent sectoral issues and initiated interesting discussions about potential areas of engagements and priorities. Accordingly, participants identified short-term and long-term action points to help spearhead the development of the sector in the country. Among action points pinpointed are the development of a strategy and action plan, working on membership base and strengthening the visibility of the association, and working on public-private partnerships to mobilise resources. The association is expected to take over the leadership role of sectoral development efforts put in place by different actors thus far. It is deemed to mobilise efforts to uptake, share and implement lessons drawn from previous bamboo development interventions. The founding members of the association now are 37 and 13 of them are women SME workers. Bamboo Industries in Ethiopia, such as Adal bamboo industrials, have also become registered members of the sectoral association. The membership base of the association is expected to grow in times to come.
Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programmed Phase II has supported the inauguration of the association in office furniture and website development. The programme is a bamboo development programme in East Africa that strives to strengthen, among others, the institutional and policy environment of the bamboo sector in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. It has also been supporting Kenyan and Uganda bamboo associations.