In Central Africa, the ban on the export of logs will no longer take effect from 1 January 2022. The entry into force of this measure has been postponed to an unspecified date. This was the outcome of the 38th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC), which ended on 28 October 2022 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
This is a retropalent for the countries of the Economic Union of Central Africa (UEAC). The entry into force of the ban on timber exports in the form of logs, which was set for 1 January 2023, has been postponed to a date yet to be determined.
The UEAC Council of Ministers believes that the countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), namely Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, are not yet ready to apply such a measure. “There is a huge fiscal cost (…) Given the context in which we find ourselves, the ministers have considered, rightly or wrongly, but I think rightly, to postpone this decision to a later date,” explains Daniel Ona Ondo, president of the CEMAC commission.
The Gabonese minister mentioned the loss of tax revenue that Cameroon would suffer, for example, if the ban on log exports in the CEMAC zone were to come into force in January. “The implementation of this measure should lead to revenue losses in Cameroon of around 80 billion CFA francs (almost 122 million euros). When this decision was implemented, Gabon lost 75 billion CFA francs (over 114 million euros). Accompanying measures are necessary,” he explains.
Initially scheduled for 1 January 2022, the entry into force of this measure was then postponed to 1 January 2023. The aim of this measure is to increase, secure and develop wood resources. This is an opinion shared by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is in favour of a process of sustainable industrialisation of the timber sector, in order to capitalise on the various value chains of the resource and generate jobs for young people.
In a report published in 2020, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) already drew the attention of the Cameroonian authorities to the need to apply a complete export ban on logs. For these conservationists, the export of logs encourages the plundering of forests, particularly the illegal cutting and sale of wood, which has created a loss of revenue in Cameroon of around 33 billion CFA francs between 2016 and 2020.