After two decades living in the United States, Michael Gebru returned to his home country — Ethiopia — to explore the interesting business opportunities in bamboo, one of the world’s most versatile plants that is very abundant in Ethiopia.

Michael noticed that while bamboo is very abundant in Ethiopia, it was grossly underutilised.

In his bamboo factory in Asosa, Western Ethiopia, Michael hires over 200 employees who make a wide range of high-demand products from bamboo. These include bamboo flooring panels, doors, chopsticks and even toothpicks.

In the short video below, you’ll see just how highly versatile bamboo can be. It can be used to make anything! In Michael’s home, you’ll see a radio, computer keyboard and utensils all made from bamboo.

It’s amazing!

Despite the abundance of bamboo in Africa, the continent spends millions of dollars every year on bamboo-based furniture and products from China.

Currently, Michael is working with technical partners and investors from China and Saudi Arabia to set up a major pulp and paper production facility in Ethiopia.

Africa needs more entrepreneurs like Michael who can transform the resources we already have — like bamboo — into high-value products.

Enjoy the short video:

Video credit: CCTV Africa