Inception Workshop, Inter-Africa Programme
Approximately, 70 representatives from government ministries and agencies, research and academic institutions, private sector, non-governmental organizations and civil society actors from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana and Madagascar participated in the launching of the “Inter-Africa Bamboo Smallholder Farmers Livelihood Development Programme” at the inception workshop held at the Djeuga Palace Hotel in Yaoundé, Cameroon on the 17th January 2018. The workshop which was organized by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization and co-hosted by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) and the Ministry of External Relations on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, brought various stakeholders and partners together to build a collaborative platform and strengthen partnerships for the implementation of the project. The workshop also served as an effective means of providing the media with information on a growing number of projects on bamboo development in Cameroon and the presence of INBAR in the Central Africa region. On January 18, 2019, the Project Steering Committee, made up of the core INBAR team and the project implementing partners met to finalise the work plan for year one (including project activities) as well as map out the specific tasks and roles of each collaborating institution and the timelines for delivery of outputs.
The workshop commenced with the opening remark from Mr. Bernard Hien, Country Director & Head of IFAD’s sub-regional office for Central Africa who reiterated his belief about the potential values of bamboo to improve livelihoods and drive economic growth both locally and globally. He highlighted the importance of establishing joint programmes for bamboo development in Cameroon and the sub-region. Next, the Director of Global Programmes at INBAR, Mr Brian Cohen elaborated the essential role bamboo can play in contributing to the achievement of 7 of the 17 sustainable development goals, namely, ending poverty in all its forms (Goal 1); providing affordable, sustainable and reliable modern energy services for all (Goal 7); access to adequate and affordable housing (Goal 11); efficient use of natural resource (Goal 12); addressing climate change (Goal 13); protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystem (Goal 15); and fostering partnership for implementation (Goal 17). On behalf of the Director General of INBAR, Mr Cohen expressed optimism about the future cooperation between INBAR and the Government of Cameroon and other central African countries to develop a world class bamboo industry that would contribute significantly to the economy of Cameroon and the sub-region.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, the Minster of Forest and Wildlife, Mr. Jules Doret Ndongo highlighted the importance of bamboo to the local economy. He expressed his delight about the growing number of bamboo development initiatives that are currently being implemented in Cameroon. He recalled that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between INBAR and the Government of Cameroon represented an important commitment of the government to build a stronger foundation for the bamboo industry. He urged all Cameroonians to take advantage of emerging opportunities and to learn new technologies and knowledge from other countries like China to support the development of the bamboo industry. On that note, Mr. Ndonga declared the inception workshop opened.
Following the opening remarks and launching the workshop by the Minister of Forest and Wildlife, participants were taken though the details of the project including the main goal, specific objectives, scope, activities, milestones and verifiable indicators. At the workshop, participants had the chance to contribute to discussions on activities and also develop prospective partnerships for the implementation of the projects. The workshop provided a good opportunity for participants to understand the subject matter as well as contribute to the reformulation of some key activities within the framework of the Inter-Africa Bamboo Programme. The workshop ended with closing remarks from the Director of Global Programmes, Mr. Brian Cohen, who expressed appreciation to the government of Cameron for gracing the workshop. He was optimistic about the growth of the bamboo industry and therefore called on all respective governments and the private sector to cooperate and work together to make that a reality.