Hervé Maidou, executive secretary of the Central African Forestry Commission (Comifac), signed yesterday the Tropical Timber Trade Facility (TTT) project note on behalf of the 11 countries involved in the project. The ceremony took place in Yaoundé in the presence of Corinna Fricke, the German Ambassador to Cameroon, who also signed the document.
The €6 million project (about CFA4 billion) aims to put an end to the illegal export of timber. As part of the deal, “Comifac ensures the political supervision of the project. It is responsible for the orientation, harmonization, and monitoring of forestry and environmental policies in Central Africa,” while the “German Technical Cooperation (GIZ), mandated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), will assist Comifac and the timber-producing member states in the implementation of the project.”
According to the Comifac countries, the TTT initiative represents a major challenge because of the predominance of illegal wood from Central Africa. The International Technical Tropical Timber Association (ITTTA) reveals that out of 55 million hectares of registered forest concessions in Central Africa, only 18% are verified as legal or certified. The rest does not benefit the states and populations.
“Higher legal timber production means increased tax revenues for Central African economies. Also, local populations, especially those living in remote rural areas, will benefit from legal employment,” Comifac said.
Beyond these benefits, the project is imperative, because the countries of the European Union and the United States are increasingly demanding about the origin of the wood entering their territory. China, which imports 60-80% of the timber from Central Africa, has also tightened its forestry code against illegal timber. Article 65 of this code prohibits the purchase, transport, and processing of illegal timber.
Written by: Michel Ange Nga
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN