Ethiopia has forged a partnership with Kenya and Uganda to develop the bamboo sector in what is called Triangular Bamboo Development.
Earlier this week, a workshop aiming to enhance the bamboo sector was held here in Addis Ababa. During the two-day regional bamboo policy and strategy workshop, which opened on Tuesday, national policy makers, government officials, experts and entrepreneurs on bamboo development discussed on the cooperation and utilization of untapped bamboo resources. Furthermore, they presented policies, strategies and best practices that are currently in place in the three countries.
Durai Jayaraman, South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies Project Manager at International Bamboo and Rattan Organization, said that promoting mutual understanding and enhancing cooperation between the Eastern African countries, and addressing the challenges and barriers for the development of this sector are expected outcomes.
Ethiopia has the largest bamboo resource of the three countries, accounting for 88 percent, followed by Kenya with eight percent and Uganda registering four percent of the resource, he said.
According to Jayaraman, the triangular cooperation among the three contributes to green economic growth, and international trade and investment between East Africa, Europe and China.
During the workshop, Ethiopian Environment, Forest and Climate Change Deputy Commissioner, Kebede Yimam said that Ethiopia has over 1.4 million hectares of land covered with bamboo, adding, if fully utilized, the sector will boost green economy development, Foreign Direct Investment and job creation for the growing population of the country.
According to Kebede, the triangular cooperation and sharing of experiences will lay down a strong foundation for the sector's development.
Paul Ongugo, the Kenyan Forestry Research Institute Science Leader said that bamboo is the "big four" agenda for Kenya. "It is the agenda of addressing manufacturing expansion, affordable housing and health facilities as well as food and nutrition security issues."
Ongugo stressed the importance of South-South's cooperation in general and the cooperation among the countries to alleviate the barriers for the sector's development.
Some 50 participants from the government, research agencies, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders from the three bamboo growing countries took part in the workshop organized by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR).
INBAR is implementing a program dubbed "Dutch-Sino East Africa Bamboo Development Program," supported by the Dutch and the Chinese government in collaboration with the national Ministries and Agencies.