News  |  29.09.2023

Republic of Congo and the timber industry: succeeding together in the future of forests

Press release - Brazzaville, September 21, 2023. A workshop of significant importance, focusing on the theme "Republic of Congo and the timber industry: succeeding together in the future of forests", concluded its work with resounding success this Thursday at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Brazzaville.

Republic of Congo and the timber industry: succeeding together in the future of forests

The event brought together a large number of participants, including government representatives, development partners and private sector players. Discussions focused on two major issues: the draft law on production sharing and the log export ban. In-depth analysis of the draft bill to implement the log production sharing scheme clearly reveals its inadequacy with the reality on the ground.

Consequently, it is imperative to adapt its provisions to make them applicable, while taking into account the current processing capacities of the forest industry in the country during this revision. 

Mr. Michel Djombo, President of UNICONGO, declared: "The private sector aspires to present constructive proposals to the government to integrate the production sharing model, offering solutions for all stakeholders."

It should be noted that production sharing is a unique approach in Congo and non-existent elsewhere in the world. Gabon, often cited as an example for its log export ban, does not apply it, and the industry sources its logs on the open market.

The ban on log exports has financial, social and human repercussions for all stakeholders: the government, forestry companies, companies in related sectors (e.g. transport) and local populations living near forest concessions.   

The workshop's main recommendations are as follows:

  • For production sharing, the establishment of a public-private dialogue through a joint working group to improve the draft bill;
  • For the log export ban, a 4-year postponement accompanied by an action plan and a degressive authorized export quota;
  • The assurance that the tax advantages provided for in future Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will also apply to existing forestry companies outside SEZs;
  • Reinforced communication on the contribution of the forestry sector to development, particularly in regions far from the capital. 

At the conclusion of the workshop and following a meeting between UNICONGO members of the sector, the General Managers of the forestry companies and ARISE agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning the supply of logs, thus demonstrating their mutual interest in collaborating for the development of SEZs.

Alain Tiotsop, ATIBT's representative in Congo, took part in a high-level private sector workshop on the difficulties associated with the new provisions of the new forestry code concerning the log export ban and the production sharing regime.

As part of the 'Appui Secteur Privé (ASP) Congo' project, in particular Activity 3.1.1: 'Conduct private sector advocacy to contribute to the process of drafting the application texts and normative framework of Law 33-2020', the ATIBT Congo team shared the preliminary draft law on the application of the log production-sharing scheme with UNIBOIS member forest companies and those not affiliated to a trade union for analysis and comment. The companies' feedback was then compiled and forwarded to the Consultant for inclusion in the final document, which was examined at a UNICONGO-UNIBOIS-ATIBT consultation meeting. In its role as facilitator, the ATIBT Congo team was able to mobilise the General Managers of companies via the UNIBOIS and UNICONGO trade unions for their involvement in the preparatory work for this event and, above all, for their massive attendance at the workshop. The ATIBT encourages the parties to continue the dialogue for a better understanding of the texts, in a much more participative and inclusive approach, in order to improve the draft texts of the law and later, facilitate their implementation.


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