News  |  06.07.2020


Impact of Covid 19 on timber trade

For information on the progress of the spread and the disease situation: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

We bring you here, and will continue to do so in the coming weeks, the information provided by our members and partners regarding the tropical timber market and the activities of companies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Impact of Covid 19 on timber trade
AFRICA

The impact of pandemic control measures have hit West African timber producers across the region hard, coming as it has at a time when demand in the traditional markets, especially in Europe, were already under pressure from lower consumptions, changes to other materials and over production of some species.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

In Pointe-Noire, the authorities are ordering the closure of unrecognised quarantine sites.

The state of health emergency has been extended for 20 days, starting Saturday, 20 June. On Saturday, 20 June, the Congo moves to a second stage of progressive deconfinement, easing measures in several sectors, including national transport and places of worship. This after having first deconfined part of the school or administrations. The new deconfinement measures entered into force on Tuesday 23 June, such as the easing of the curfew throughout the national territory from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; the reopening of bars and restaurants; the reopening of hotels and other collective accommodation; the reopening of places of worship ; the resumption of individual competitive sports, without a public of more than 50 people; the reopening of commercial flights between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and throughout the national territory; the resumption of other modes of passenger transport (buses, trains and boats) throughout the national territory”. On the other hand, borders, university and boarding school residences, dance bars and nightclubs, and nurseries remain closed.

This year Congo will record a budget deficit of CFAF 779.7 billion (1.2 billion euros), representing 13% of its gross domestic product (GDP). With the drastic fall in oil prices and the slowdown in the world economy, the Congolese government expects a 9% GDP recession in 2020.

DRC

According to the publication of Tropenbos on 12 June 2020 with immediate effects on family incomes.

“Our products, like plantain, banana, bush meat, and vegetables, are rotting due to a lack of customers. Life is getting more and more difficult” (Jacques Mapoli, Bafwasende, DR Congo).

“Food prices are rising because there are fewer products on the market, and because the price of transportation has increased. We eat by the grace of God” (Jean Marc Maisha, Niania, DR Congo).

The World Bank is allocating $47 million to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the DRC government to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of the DRC’s reconstruction and development plan for the period 2020-2024, for which the World Bank Group has adopted a new approach that consists of operating in a multisectoral manner in smaller geographical areas where poverty is concentrated, in order to facilitate the monitoring of project activities and achieve greater impact.

IVOIRY COAST

In view of the difficulties experienced by the populations due to the containment measures, it was necessary to assess the extent of the shocks suffered by households and the informal sector, in order to identify the evolution of vulnerability and to strengthen the information that should accompany the implementation of the response plan. In the context of strengthening the resilience of populations, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has thus conducted an impact study of COVID-19 which highlights the multi-dimensional vulnerability caused by the pandemic. According to the results of this study, carried out from 10 to 17 April by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) :

  • In the formal sector, annual economic activity is down by 26.2% compared to 2019, with a temporary loss of approximately 23,000 jobs during the month of April,
  • In the informal sector, 94% of the heads of production units declare being impacted by the pandemic with a drop in customer attendance (50%), a drop or cancellation of orders (44%), changes in working hours in relation to curfew (20%), etc.
  • With regard to the socio-economic impact on household life, the study reveals an increase in expenditure items, particularly food (47%) and communication (26%), a drop in income (72%), technical unemployment among heads of household (27.5%) and a fragile employment situation (77.8%).

GABON

First phase of easing the restrictive measures detailed in the following documents :

GABON-15- Prime Minister – Press Briefing 3 – Phase 1 of the easing of restrictive measures – 20200630

GABON-16- MTEIH – Order 56 – Resumption of commercial flights – 20200630

In Gabon, it would appear that nearly 40% of Chinese-owned factories have ceased production. Plants in Gabon, Congo and Cameroon that are still operating have reduced production by 70% from pre-pandemic levels in some cases.

CAMEROON

The African Development Bank, AfDB, has approved EUR 88 million loan (about FCFA 57 billion) to Cameroon as a direct budget support to help boost the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan will support the implementation of a health response plan to improve testing and ensure early detection and rapid management of the virus, thus reducing case fatality and improving the recovery rate in the country. It will equally support the most vulnerable in society by paying family allowances to staff of companies unable to pay social security contributions as well as distributing health kits.