In a bid to stimulate the production of timber to the GDP of Central African States, members countries of the Congo Basin have taken the unanimous decision to end the exportation of timber logs from January 1, 2022. This was the substance of a meeting of Ministers of Forests, Industries and Environment of the Central Economic and Monetary Community CEMAC and the DRC chaired by Jules Doret Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife on September 18, 2020
It is the culmination to existing measures taken by some countries individually. Gabon and Equatorial Guinea had already endorsed the ban in 2010 and 2019 respectively. While the Democratic Republic of Congo had set 2017 to begin implementing the measure.
Cameroon had taken the decision but never applied it. Authorities claimed it was due to “regulatory, structural and contextual contingencies.”
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To realize this measure, the Ministers have decided to set up 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade wood processing industries to trigger transformation of local timber; hence contributing to the GDP of their member states.
Jules Doret Ndongo told the Cameroon Radio Television CRTV the move will also create jobs and empowers actors in the sector by diversifying its scope. “The joint decision is in line with the need to harmonize sectorial policies and to make the forestry sector a pillar of economic development. The sector is lagging behind and does not currently generate high value added services.” the Cameroon Minister of Forestry and Wildlife explained.
Though the country failed to initially implement the decision, Jules Doret Ndongo says, “This time, everything will be done so the decision is applied both nationally and internationally so that Cameroon and other countries can derive expected benefits.”
A harmonized forestry tax system for states of the sub region has also been adopted.