Governance key to boosting intra-Africa trade of timber products, says AfDB report

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (PANA) - Though Africa hosts a considerable number of timber-exporting countries, most of these exports are primary products, with little value addition, according to a  new report by the African Natural Resources Centre of the African Development Bank.

The report, Assessing forest law enforcement, governance and trade in Africa, was launched on Wednesday coinciding with the International Day of Forests. It stressed the importance of forestry governance to boosting intra-African trade of wood products.

“Forestry contributes to the economic development, livelihoods and environmental sustainability of timber-exporting countries, mostly in Central Africa and timber-importing countries in West and North Africa.

“The export and import markets within Africa present an opportunity for intra-African trade, with substantial benefits for the populations of both importers and exporters,” the report said.

It noted: “In 2013, African countries exported timber products worth about US$ 4.5 billion. Of these, three-quarters were primary products (logs, sawn wood and veneer). The same year, timber imports to African markets amounted to US$ 6.5 billion, of which 8% (US$ 526 million) were intra-regional. Sawn wood was the most important timber import with 31% of the total (US$ 2 billion).”

Underling that governance of the forestry sector is key to facilitating value addition of wood products, the report suggested that for improved governance in Africa’s forestry sector, there should be political, institutional and cultural frameworks, through which interests in forest resources are coordinated and controlled.

The report recommends a regional programme for the promotion of legality in African timber trade that would harness the forestry sector through trade in legal timber products between African sub-regional markets.

“It is imperative that we give forestry the attention that it deserves, and that the planting of trees becomes a routine activity across the continent,” said Modibo Traore, forestry expert and Officer-in-Charge of the African Natural Resources Centre, in a call for action.
-0- PANA AR 21March2018

21 mars 2018 19:14:10

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