Ethiopia: Workshop for promoting the sustainable development-of Ethiopian bamboo

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Many Ethiopia decision makers met to discuss Africa as one of the richest countries in bamboo resources. Bamboo is "magic" with "unexploited investment potential", The Ethiopian Herald described, after visiting the workshop for "Unleashing the Economic importance of Bamboo in Ethiopia" organized by INBAR on 19 December, 2006, in Addis Ababa. It was supported by Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chinese Embassy in Ethiopia, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia.

Over 100 people participated, including H. E. Mr. Tadesse Haile, the State Minister of Ministry of Trade and Industry, who in his opening speech called upon the private sector to actively contribute to the venture of bamboo utilization. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce also expressed interest for the cooperation to be continued.

Other participants included H. E. Mr. Ahmed Nasir, the State Minister of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Wang Chao, the Assistant Minister of Ministry of Commerce of China, and high officials and experts from INBAR, the Chinese Embassy to Ethiopia, GTZ (German Technical Cooperation), EU, Irish Aid, CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency), USAID (United State Agency of International Development), as well as bamboo professionals, entrepreneurs, journalists, etc.

The presentation on "The Potential of Ethiopian Bamboo Development and Future Cooperation" by Dr. Fu Jinhe, expert from INBAR, inspired the Ethiopian attendants on the untapped potentials of bamboo in livelihood, environment and economic development. At the same time, Dr. Coosje Hoogendoorn, Director General of INBAR gave an update on INBAR's new strategy in the next five to ten years with four major goals focusing on networking, livelihood generation (poverty alleviation), environment conservation and trade development; while Ms. Song Shuang demonstrated the significance of bamboo in poverty alleviation and rural development by presenting the experience and the production model of a bamboo based handicraft making company in China.

The workshop participants were also impressed by the hands-on training course on advanced technologies and skills on bamboo weaving and furniture making, carried out by INBAR with 23 trainees from Ethiopia, funded by Chinese Ministry of Commerce and implemented by INBAR in Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency (FeMSEDA).

Dr. Hoogendoorn, who chaired the discussions about the future development, cooperation and priority area of Ethiopian bamboo sector, considered that the result of the workshop was initiative and substantive. Mr. Nasir commented at the closing speech that the technical assistance from INBAR has greatly contributed the sustainable development of Ethiopian bamboo resources, he strongly urge this effort to be strengthen in the future.

The Ethiopian News Agency, The Ethiopian Herald and ETV the Ethiopian TV station made substantial reports after the workshop about the potential of bamboo development and calls for investment in the relative sectors.