Economic performance of the Congo Basin’s forestry sector

The Congo Basin is made up of six countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The Congo Basin’s forests, being the second largest ‘lungs’ of the world after the Amazonian forests, have an area of about 178 million hectares (ha) of dense humid forests with almost one third earmarked for timber production. The region also has 18 million hectares under conservation and 100 million hectares that are still unallocated. This brief does not deal with wider management or governance issues in the forestry sector but rather dwells on the performances of the national timber sectors in terms of trade balances in key wood products within three significant product categories.