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Central Africa Congo Basin Timber: Case studies of urban wood products markets in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon

In the Congo Basin, up to one-third of the total wood market is sourced from traditional (or artisanal)
woodcutting, with these products primarily destined for domestic markets. Due to the informal nature of
much of the domestic value-added wood product market, the sector’s real contribution to GDP and to local
livelihoods is challenging to measure. However, urban timber markets contribute to economic growth and
provide jobs, with an annual turnover of at least USD 15 million and employment of some 5,000 individuals
in Yaoundé, Douala, and Kinshasa alone.
Boosting the share of locally-processed wood used in domestic construction and furniture-making could
represent a significant business opportunity for small, medium and large-sized enterprises in wood fiberbased
value chains: smallholders, community forest holders, forest concessionaires, as well as SMEs and
larger companies involved in transportation logistics, wood processing industries (large or small), wood
workers, builders, and even designers, with the right policy incentives and enabling environment. Domestic
processing capacities are low, almost entirely limited to primary processing: sawnwood, peeling and slicing
for plywood, and veneer production. Industrial and semi-industrial wood transformation enterprises are well
equipped, but have difficulties competing on the domestic market as they are subject to higher taxes than
smaller enterprises, operating informally.
This report aim to improve knowledge and prioritize options for policies and targeted investments for
improved domestic timber utilization in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report
builds on prior knowledge to better understand the solutions needed to overcome barriers to expanding
the market for legal (and possibly sustainable) timber and processed wood products used in the domestic
furniture and construction markets in the two countries.