AfDB approves US$20mn investment for African Forestry Fund

By Leah Netabai

African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$20mn investment for African Forestry Fund, the bank will sit on the advisory committee.

Currently forestry is being impacted by population growth and urbanisation as well as the increased demand for wood-based products. Each year roughly 100 million cubic metres of round wood is used for fuel or industrial use – building materials furniture, infrastructure – in Africa.

The project will mostly focus on the Eastern and Southern Africa regions – which contains most of the continent’s forest resources – and aims to rehabilitate existing plantations to increase productivity by converting silvicultural assets into high-value assets, reduce the processing of high-margin wood products as well as reducing the use of wood waste for power generation. All of this will be managed by Criterion African Partners (CAP) an investment company that specialises in forestry based in Africa.

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The first phase of the African Forestry Fund commenced back in 2010, hiring nearly 8,600 people. Lessons learned form phase one will be implemented during phase two, with special attention given to: community participation, female participation and corporate social responsibilities to ensure greater sustainability.

The African Forestry Fund aligns with African Development Banks strategy for 2013 to 2022 that focuses on “effective and sustainable management of natural assets" as a priority.

This investment comes as the latest in a list of contributions AfDB has made and has seen strong results from, to develop Africa’s economy and the economy of the Middle East.

Recent investments include: Egypt, Zimbabwe and Somalia.

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