Timber Exploitation in Cameroon

The law n° 94-01 of January 20 1994 door system of the forests, wildlife and fishing foresaw in his item 71(1) the stop of the exportation of timber to the end of five years, the objective being to favor the economical development of Cameroon while creating value added by the local transformation of a first matter.

Carrying research through the Cameroonian ministry of the environment and forests (MINEF), a study on the industrialisation of the system drinks to the Cameroon between 1994 and 1998. This study was realized by the CERNA, the economy center industrial of the school of the Paris expressions, and was presented to the administrations, to the silent partners and to the economical operators June 11 1999.

The study, foreseen by the item 71(4) law n° 94-01 of January 20 1994, had for ambition to erect a state of the precise places of the body of the Cameroonian factories of first transformation of wood and of their evolution since five years.

Thus, an exhaustive investigation concerned the 87 inventoried factories to Cameroon, completed by discussions with the general directions of the businesses to Cameroon and, if need be, corporations mothers in Europe.

The increase of the transformation capacities since 1993-94 In five years, 28 new factories were constructed for a transformation capacity of 1,15 millions of m3 and an investment of 34 billion FCFA. In addition, 9 of the 38 factories existing in 1993-94 were the object of buybacks with modernization (capacity increase of 320 000 m3) for a total amount, investment understand, of 5 billion FCFA.

Thus, in five years, the transformation capacity has more than doubled, passing of 1,20 to 2,67 millions of m3, and surpasses henceforth the one of Ivory Coast from my research carried.

The investors in the construction of new factories or the buyback of factories principally existing was done it three categories of investors:

ten exploiting forest that had not any factories in 1994;

nine exploiting forest that already transformed before 1994;

Nine foreign transformers that did not be present to the Cameroon before 1994.

But one notes also it arrived among the new investors of six Cameroonian businessmen (of which the origin trade is not the forest exploitation) : this point deserves to be underlined for the one of the objectives of the political forest one Cameroon is exactly to favor the promotion of the national contractors (SME).

The type of the built factories

The study made obvious the following characteristics:

a climbed in power of the factories in industrial frank points, that represent henceforth a third of the transformation capacity;

a movement of the factories of the forest towards the urban environment (approval to the electric network and accesses to the harbor of Douala by the paved road): one does not construct anymore factories in bush;

An increase from the timber bought on the local market, in complement of the timber originating permit belonging to the factory.

The reasons of the acceleration of the investment

The arrival of 25 new investors of which 19 directly were threatened by an eventual stop of the exportations of grumes indicates that the perspective of a stop of the exportations of grumes has certainly, among of other factors, played an important role in the acceleration of the observed investment during the period 1994-98.

That says, this perspective did not reverse the tendency to construct brief factories: simple scieries, without dryer or workshop of industrial, insufficient woodwork to promote correctly the Cameroonian grumes of good quality, the one precisely that are available after a stop of the exportations of Timber.