INBAR’s projects across the African continent continue to flourish, with product development training in Ghana and sessions held in bamboo cultivation and management in Tanzania.
2018 has since INBAR’s presence in Africa increase, with the addition of a new country to the network of member states, the Central African Republic. INBAR currently has several major projects ongoing in the continent, including the Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme and the South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies Project. In addition, the upcoming opening of INBAR’s fifth regional office in Cameroon promises to lead to more activity in Central Africa. Bamboo and rattan are key strategic tools for sustainable and inclusive development in the region, and especially as a conduit for the enriching of China-Africa relations, as Chinese President Xi Jinping mentioned in his keynote speech at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in September this year. The creation of a new China-Africa Centre for Bamboo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, promises to further accelerate the development of a thriving, ecologically sound bamboo industry.
In Ghana, INBAR’s capacity building projects are continuing, with a flagship month-long training program for local Ghanaian artisans. The project is led by INBAR’s Ghana regional office, headed up by regional coordinator Michael Kwaku (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Seven Chinese experts have been invited to Kumasi to train a group of Ghanaian artisans on key parts of the manufacturing process for high-value bamboo furniture products. This project highlights continuing efforts to promote knowledge transfer between expertise-rich China, with its well-developed bamboo industry, and countries with rich untapped bamboo resources with potential for production chain valorisation.
The sessions thus far have been both well-attended and informative, including an opening ceremony attended by Ghanaian politicians, including the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Kwaku Asomah-Cheromeh, and by the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Shi Ting Wang. The training sessions themselves have covered a wide variety of skills, beginning with the selection of raw materials and culminating in the design and creation of beautiful high-value woven furniture products.
Participants in this training will take their new found skills into the market and use their unique cultural background to add their own stamp to these traditional designs.
This trailblazing project not only teaches local Ghanaian artisans key skills for the promotion of the bamboo industry in Ghana, but is also a valuable networking and relationship-building opportunity for stakeholders across both countries to develop long-lasting partnerships for further cooperation.
In Tanzania, efforts have been scaled up to train local people in bamboo cultivation and management practices, including with a ToT (Training-of-trainers) events held on October 18-22. The Tanzanian government have pledged to restore 5.2million hectares of degraded and deforested land as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration initiative under the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 100 million hectares in Africa and 350 million hectares globally by 2030. Improving capacity for exploiting its bamboo resources is a key way to reduce pressure on existing timber resources and restore degraded land.
The recent training workshop is just one small part of the activities of the South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies Project in the region, which has so far seen six nurseries established producing as many as 162,885 quality plants. As part of training and planting programs, 92 hectares of bamboo have been planted on degraded land, and sixteen demonstration plots have been set up as field schools to disseminate knowledge on bamboo cultivation, management and use as feed, fodder or charcoal.The October training session was carried out for a total of 35 field functionaries of Tanzania Forest Services (TFA), a government Executive Agency focused on sustainable forest management. The session included practical demonstration sessions, an exposure visits to Migererer Reserve Forest, and a consultation workshop with various key stakeholders to work towards Tanzania’s national bamboo strategy.
The Dutch Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme has also been ongoing in East Africa, with training sessions held in Kenya and Uganda, and work on developing bamboo trading standards for the region well underway, spurred on by the recent meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In October, training sessions on bamboo furniture and crafts were also held in Ethiopia.
INBAR continues to work closely with local governments and key stakeholders across the African continent to deliver place-specific, localized training sessions and capacity development across the bamboo value chain.