Ofac-Brief: Making legal timber mandatory for public contracts in Central Africa
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The issue of illegally sourced wood products in public contracts in Central Africa.
There is fast growing demand for lumber in the Central Africa countries, a trend which is set to rise as the countries get on board with emergence programs. However, the increased domestic consumption of timber does not adequately address the legality or sustainability of supply sources. Moreover, through public procurements, the States and financial development partners account for a significant share of domestic demand.
However, these public procurements (public contracts) are not subject to any legality or sustainability requirements. Thus, the States and development partners are indirectly promoting the prevalent informal or even illegal practices which are a common feature of domestic lumber markets in Central Africa. It is therefore crucial that the COMIFAC member countries and technical and financial partners develop policies that will compel public service providers to supply timber products derived exclusively from legal sources.
Public procurement dominated by informally sourced sawn wood
Studies conducted over a decade in several countries across Central Africa, particularly in Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and in the DRC, have shown that domestic timber markets are growing rapidly and have gained prominence in terms of volumes exported to Europe or Asia.
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