PRESS RELEASE: NEW EFFORTS BY CHINA TO PROMOTE BAMBOO FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Chinese government has committed to implementing a number of eco-environmental projects across Africa, including the construction of a China-Africa Bamboo Center, according to officials at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Beijing, China, 3 September 2018 (INBAR) – President Xi Jinping announced in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, FOCAC, 2018 that the Chinese government will support the construction of a China-Africa Bamboo Centre.
According to Xi, “The Chinese government will implement 50 green development and eco-environmental assistance projects for Africa, including the construction of the China-Africa Bamboo Center, to help Africa develop the bamboo and rattan industry.”
China is the global leader in bamboo sector development, with an industry valued at more than USD 30 billion per year. Bamboo, the fast-growing, flexible but strong grass plant, is used in China to restore degraded land, provide some 8 million jobs, and even store carbon – making it a powerful nature-based tool for a number of sustainable development objectives.
Africa as a whole is estimated to have nearly 6 million hectares of natural bamboo forests and there is scope for plantations in many parts of the continent. What is lacking is the technology for local bamboo development and the skills to drive the creation of an economically sound African bamboo industry.
According to Hans Friederich, Director General of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, INBAR, “What is urgently needed is a long-term training, demonstration and research programme for African researchers, entrepreneurs, artisans and local farmers, to be able to take advantage of the natural capital provided by the bamboo growing throughout sub-Saharan Africa. There is also a need to raise awareness among civil servants and policy makers, to create an enabling environment for the establishment of profitable bamboo enterprises.”
The new China-Africa Bamboo Centre mentioned by President Xi will be one way to achieve these aims. The Centre should serve as a continental hub for sustainable bamboo management and processing, with a focus on technology transfer and expertise sharing from China. The Centre is expected to develop a full programme of training and capacity building programmes, and to provide space for researchers from across the world to find out more about bamboo’s applications.
The establishment of the Centre is based on bilateral cooperation between China and Ethiopia, but Friederich hopes that other bamboo-producing countries in Africa will also take part, saying: “We hope the Centre will involve multilateral international cooperation and collaboration, and that we will have in-kind and financial support from all other bamboo-rich countries in Africa.”
About the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)
INBAR is an intergovernmental organisation made up of 44 Member states for the promotion of sustainable development using bamboo and rattan, including 19 Member states in Africa. It was the first intergovernmental organisation to be based in China and remains the only one in the world dedicated to bamboo and rattan.
Almost all of INBAR’s 44 Members are developing countries with bamboo and/or rattan resources. INBAR works across its Member states to promote these plants’ use for a range of sustainable development objectives, including: poverty alleviation, climate change mitigation, land restoration, earthquake-resilient construction and low-carbon product creation.
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