Supporting African development

Widespread fraud in the forestry sector is estimated to cost Africa $17 billion* annually, with proceeds fueling corruption, civil war and radical insurgency. It deters responsible buyers from importing African timber, hampering sustainable economic development.

Africa is home to 674 million hectares of productive forests, with timber commodities largely exported as round logs to China for processing and manufacture. 

Genetic Infrastructure projects are underway in the Congo Basin (the second largest continuous block of forest after the Amazon) and West Africa, of more than 30 traded timber species.  

From the resulting genetic databases, we are developing secure Chain-of-Custody systems to bolster governance and enable DNA verification of legal timber. These systems increase the confidence in the legal origin of African timber products, thereby supporting trade with the EU, historically a key export market for African hardwoods. 

In addition, the application of Genetic Infrastructure also ensures that a greater portion of timber royalties and taxes are collected and utilised for the benefit of African development. 

*Illegal logging costs Africa US$17 billion each year, estimated by UN / Africa Progress Panel.