The Republic of the Congo today celebrated its accession as INBAR’s 45th Member State.
18 July 2019, Beijing, China – The Republic of the Congo today celebrated its accession to INBAR, in an official flag raising ceremony at INBAR Headquarters. A number of high-level officials, including the Ambassadors of the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, spoke at the event.
The Republic of the Congo is INBAR’s 45th Member State, and the 20th from Africa. Since 1997, when INBAR was founded by nine countries, INBAR has grown to become a network of 45 Member States, with Regional Offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Nowhere has this growth been more pronounced than Africa, a continent whose countries make up the bulk of INBAR’s Membership.
Speaking at the ceremony, His Excellency Ambassador Daniel Owassa of the Republic of the Congo reflected on his country’s hopes for membership. “In my country, bamboo and rattan are a common sight, and a large part of local culture”, he said, adding that many people use both bamboo and, especially, rattan, for their livelihoods, and for the creation of a large number of products. Ambassador Owassa expressed the hope that the Republic of the Congo’s membership of INBAR “will help us to further integrate bamboo and rattan into our policies, programmes and partnerships, in areas such as poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
In his speech, INBAR Director General Mr. Mchumo reflected on the membership services which the organisation provides. According to Mr. Mchumo, “INBAR was, and always will be, an important mechanism for enabling South-South cooperation around the world”: 44 of its 45 Member States are developing countries from the Global South, and with the support of China, INBAR’s host country, INBAR has helped countries to build “new climate-smart industries that support sustainable livelihoods, reduce poverty, and protect our natural environment.” Mr. Mchumo welcomed the Republic of the Congo to the INBAR family, and expressed his hope that both the country and organisation would learn from and benefit from each other.
Other speakers reflected on INBAR’s work. His Excellency, Ambassador Martin Mpana of the Republic of Cameroon, on behalf of the Vice-Chair of the INBAR Council, welcomed Ambassador Dasso to INBAR and introduced the organisation. Speaking on behalf of INBAR’s Board of Trustees, Professor Jiang Zehui, co-Chair of the Board, said that the Republic of Congo’s accession was the latest in a very positive line of developments for bamboo and rattan in Africa, including the announcement by H.E. Xi Jinping last year of a new China-Africa Bamboo Centre. Professor Jiang hoped that the Republic of the Congo “can make full use of the favourable conditions of this Bamboo Centre, and INBAR’s Central African Regional Office, to usher in rapid development for the bamboo and rattan industry.”
Mr. Peng Youdong, Deputy Administrator of China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration, reflected on China’s close relationship with INBAR, and assured the audience of the government’s continuing support for INBAR’s work: “Facing the future, we will work with INBAR Member States to strengthen exchanges and deepen cooperation… and to promote the trade of bamboo and rattan products.” And Mr. Huang Yiyang, Deputy Director at the Department of International Economics, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promised that the Ministry “will continue to provide active support and assistance to INBAR, and hopes that INBAR will go on to do more excellent work.”
The Republic of Congo is already working to strengthen its bamboo and rattan sector: in August, experts from the country will begin a training course on bamboo and willow product technology training in China. The training course, which is a bilateral one between the Congo and China and facilitated by INBAR’s sister organisation the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan, will run for fifty days and welcome 25 participants.
For more information about INBAR’s Member States, please read here.
To find out more about bamboo and rattan at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing in 2018, click here.