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Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Forest Investment Forum
Investment Opportunities: Constraints to Investment and Potential Solutions
The Southern and East Africa Region Forest Investment Forum, held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, from June 13-16, 2006, identified emerging opportunities for responsible private investment in the forest sector to drive economic development, reduce poverty and conserve forest resources. The Forum discussed constraints to such investment, specifically forest sector corruption and governance failures more broadly that manifest in a lack of transparency in forest resource use, ineffective land tenure policies, and a poor investment environment.
Moreover, the Forum considered promising innovative and progressive solutions to overcome these obstacles to harnessing forests' development potential. Such solutions include:
- land tenure reform in support of community forest ownership,
- measures to increase transparency in forest resource allocation,
- market mechanisms to promote good governance such as forest certification and proof of legality,
- and the potential of payments for environmental services to deliver additional investment returns.
Corporate-community forest partnerships and small–medium scale forest based enterprises were given special consideration at the Forum as means to reduce poverty through the creation of jobs as well as markets for timber from community-owned or managed wood lots. Forum participants visited corporate-community forest operations to learn first hand how they function.
The Investment Forum provided the opportunity for representatives of governments, local communities, forest industry, conservation agencies, financial institutions and private investors to come together to not only discuss how to make such solutions work, but also to agree on specific follow up action and possibly make investment deals.
Countries from the region that were represented at the Forum included Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Forum was organized by the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Program on Forests (PROFOR) in partnership with South Africa's Ministry of Water Affairs and Forests (DWAF), Forestry South Africa, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and WWF.
Two earlier Forums in this series were hosted by the World Bank, IFC, PROFOR and other partners in Washington DC in October 2003 and in Nairobi, Kenya, in April, 2005. A third International Investment Forum was hosted by ITTO, Forest Trends and CONAFOR in Cancun, Mexico, May of 2006.
Last Updated : 02-24-2017