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Fostering Partnerships Between Local Communities and the Private Sector in Kenya

Support to Forest Sector Reform in Kenya, 2004-2005


A combination of corruption and illegal excisions in the latter half of the 1990s reduced the area of industrial plantations in Kenya government forest reserves from 160,000 hectares to about 120,000 hectares. These forest excisions have created major environmental, economic and social problems. Illegal logging in indigenous forests has mushroomed and is negatively impacting on the biodiversity and the vital water catchment protection functions of Kenya's remaining upland forests.

Further, uncertainties about the possibility to sustain the industrial round wood (IRW) requirements for Kenya's sawmilling, wood based panel and pulp and paper industries led to a government decision in the late 1990s to ban logging and to close down most sawmilling enterprises. As a result, many displaced forest workers are living in shanty townships, wood costs have soared, and the future survival of Kenya's pulp, paper and wood-based panel industries is under serious threat.


A new forest bill and revised forest policy aimed to buck this trend and shift the emphasis of forest management to local communities and the private sector. In this context, PROFOR worked in partnership with the IFC and other donors to improve opportunities for collaboration between the private sector, local communities and smallholders.


PROFOR helped to move the national dialogue forward by providing information on a range of partnership schemes and guidelines for engaging companies, communities, and stakeholders. A Forest Investment Workshop hosted by the World Bank and PROFOR in Nairobi in November 2004 identified several possible business-community or business-smallholder partnership-based approaches that could be suitable for pilot scale testing.

The following year, PROFOR continued to support the development of forest sector partnership in Kenya, by providing insights on three topics: 1) Kenya Forestry: Economics and Financial Viability; 2) Forestry Partnerships in Kenya A Review of Issues for business- farmer, and government community - business arrangements for wood production; and 3) Kenya Interim Industrial Wood Supply Strategy. The reports are available on this page.

Besides contributing to a reform process which eventually culminated in the creation of a forest service in Kenya, PROFOR's work in Kenya informed a larger Eastern and Southern Africa Region Forest Investment Forum in South Africa in 2006.

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Last Updated : 02-24-2017