In Ghana, a local entrepreneur is producing bicycles from bamboo to provide an eco-friendlier method of transportation, create local jobs, and help children focus on their education. Bernice Dapaah tells the World Economic Forum that the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative has sold more than 3,000 bikes. For every sale, a bamboo bike is donated to a child to get to and from school.
“The reason we use bamboo to manufacture bicycles is because it’s found abundantly in Ghana and this is not a material we’re going to import,” says Dapaah, who was named one of World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. “It’s a new innovation. There were no existing bamboo bike builders in our country, so we were the first people trying to see how best we could utilize the abundant bamboo in Ghana.”
Bamboo is strong, cheap, and sustainable. It also grows quickly, and for every bamboo plant used, Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative plants ten. Dapaah adds that her own commute to school was over three hours, which severely reduced the time she had to study until her grandfather bought her a bike.