The Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative (GMBI) yesterday launched its flagship hand-made bamboo bicycle, with a call on metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to promote its use in their respective jurisdictions.
The bamboo bike is designed for all road conditions in the country.
Enaction of by-laws
Former President J.A. Kufuor, who unveiled the bicycle and its brand name in Accra, urged authorities at the local government level to enact by-laws to create an environment where those “who prefer to use these bicycles can ride them safely everywhere”.
“Such by-laws will help promote the use of bicycles in our communities and also encourage those who sit in the comfort of four-wheel drives to exercise our muscles,” he added.
Former President Kufuor, who is a United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change, described as worrying the impact of human activities on the environment but observed that initiatives such as the Eco Ride would help promote healthy lifestyles, stressing: “If we don’t protect our biodiversity, we are threatening our future.”
He commended the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Ms Bernice Dapaah, and her team for their efforts which he said had the potential to transform rural transportation.
“She has shown initiative, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership to transform our society. She is doing this not for the high end of the market but a product that is affordable to our society, whether rich or poor,” the former President stated.
According to him, “persistence and perseverance will launch your effort into a mighty business sooner than later. Produce so you become competitive, so people will prefer yours to importing from China, The Netherlands or anywhere else. The raw materials are here and you are helping to create employment for our youth”.
He further noted that although bamboo had existed since the days of old, the country had not been able to use it commercially.
Since it started almost eight years, ago the company has exported almost 1,000 bicycles to Europe, the United States and Israel.
And with increasing demand at home and abroad and the need to expand its current 40-member staff, Ms Dapaah said the company was collaborating with the Newmont Development Foundation to open additional factories at Ntotroso in the Brong Ahafo Region to its existing factory in Kumasi.
“We hope more people will be absorbed in the future as we diversify our operations to cover handicrafts, bamboo gasification for electricity and bio-energy generation,” she said.
The chief executive indicated that as part of the company’s social responsibility, for every 10 bicycles sold, one would be donated to a poor rural student to ride to school.
Ten bicycles were donated to students in the Volta Region through the support of the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation, a United States-based non-governmental organisation.
Its Executive Director, Ms Patricia Marshall Harris, pledged to buy more bicycles from the foundation to ease the transportation needs of rural students in Ghana and beyond.