INBAR East Africa Regional Office (EARO) held a consultation workshop to establish a Public-Private Partnership for improved bamboo processing in Ethiopia.
INBAR has recently held a consultation workshop with government actors and the private sector to establish a Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) business model for bamboo processing in Ethiopia. The consultation workshop discussed approaches that can be pursued to establish this model for efficient use of resources and collaboration among public institutions, actors of the private sector, and other non-governmental entities to enhance pro-poor industry and small and medium-sized enterprises bamboo value chains in Ethiopia. Adding to this, it aimed to sensitise the need for this type of partnership for the sustainable development of the bamboo sector in Ethiopia.
The workshop took place in July, bringing together around 30 participants drawn from leading private bamboo companies and relevant government agencies to discuss approaches on how a PPPs business model can be formed in such a way that actors involved can benefit better and help improve the sector. Furthermore, it raised pertinent sectoral issues and initiated an interesting discussion about potential solutions and priorities for collaboration in utilising resources efficiently. It was organised in collaboration with the Ethiopian Productivity Improvement Centre of Excellency (PICE), which is a federal government agency that promotes efficient use of resources and smart and affordable technologies for improved quality of industrial products. The collaboration with PICE is a continued effort from previous INBAR projects to enhance the manufacturing of bamboo products making use of improved technologies and machinery.
Public-Private Partnerships are significant because they combine the skills and resources of both the public and private sectors through sharing of risks and responsibilities. This enables public institutions to benefit from the expertise of the private sector and allows them to focus instead on policy, planning, and regulation by delegating day-to-day operations. When applicable to the right circumstance, PPPs provide better business solutions than an initiative that is wholly public or wholly private.
The meeting was opened and adjourned by Mr. Firew Amane, Head of PICE, and Mr. Teklu Shikur, Head of Addis Ababa TVET agency, respectively. In his closing remarks, Mr. Shikur said that his agency, in collaboration with other federal-level agencies, is working towards incorporating the bamboo sector in the TVET system of Ethiopia and also with the private sector and other actors, such as INBAR, to develop bamboo occupational standards and curriculum to offer certified TVET training programmes in bamboo processing and production.
In a plenary discussion, which was chaired by representatives from the Ethiopian Environment, Forestry, Climate Change Commission (EEFCCC), Addis Ababa Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) agency, and PICE, the private sector participants stated that a PPP model is a viable collaboration approach and, if pursued properly, would take the development of the bamboo sector once step higher. They stated that the private sector is proactively willing to work with that of the public if rewarding business ideas are chosen and the government is able to create a sustainable supply chain for the sector. Representatives of government agencies, on their part, reaffirmed that the Ethiopian government has a policy direction that encourages PPPs models to strengthen its efforts of creating jobs and poverty reduction in the country.
The Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Programme is taking the next action points to capitalise on the developments of the meeting and facilitate a follow-up workshop that would make the PPPs model a step closer to reality. The Programme supports livelihood development, food security, and better environmental management by developing robust bamboo value chains in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. It aspires to enhance the business and trade environment of the bamboo sector in these beneficiary countries and, hence, the establishment of PPPs business models is part of its implementation priorities.