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Addis Ababa, ETH
Based in Addis Ababa, African Bamboo has developed an environmentally friendly thermal process for treating bamboo, called ThermoWood. ThermoWood eliminates signs of decay, making the bamboo, an abundant resource in Ethiopia, a more reliable commodity for farmers to sell. The goal is to make bamboo, which is now vastly underutilized in Ethiopia, a cash crop for the country's farmers.

African Bamboo PLC is a forestry, wood and bio-energy company established in the Netherlands and Ethiopia in January 2012. African Bamboo PLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortune Enterprise PLC, a privately owned company engaged in wood and metal furniture manufacturing in Addis Ababa since 1961.

The furniture industry in Ethiopia is composed of a large number of small-scale and cottage type furniture making workshops and a few relatively large furniture factories. Fortune Enterprise PLC is one of the largest best organized and equipped factories in the country. Today the company has over 150 permanent employees, and reached an annual turnover of Eur 3 million in 2010.

For the manufacturing of furniture, Fortune Enterprise PLC mainly works with traditional woods like teak, pine and some local species. However these traditional woods are a scarcity in Ethiopia as the country suffers severe deforestation. Ethiopia’s forests are falling from 15 Mio ha (1990) to 12.3 Mio ha in 2010 with an annual depletion rate of 140,000 ha per year.

Therefore over the last couple of years, the company looked for sustainable alternatives and quickly realized the potential of bamboo as a source of raw material for furniture and industrial applications. Over the past three years Fortune Enterprise PLC has been actively engaged in developing its knowledge base and expertise in the bamboo sector, specifically for the industrial and construction related applications. In January 2012, Fortune Enterprise PLC registered its bamboo business unit, African Bamboo PLC.

It is the company's objective to optimize the multi-purpose benefits of bamboo in Ethiopia to its fullest by sustainably exploiting parts of the huge Ethiopian bamboo resources, producing compressed panels and outdoor decking for the export market as well as clean and high quality bamboo charcoal briquettes for the local market. That way the company ensures adaptation to deforestation and meets local energy needs. African Bamboo is striving to become Africa’s largest exporter of high value bamboo products providing the world market with a highly competitive and sustainable alternative for hardwood composites.

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