Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Liberia's timber industry reborn

The IRIN has a story on the resumption of Liberia's logging industry.

The industry had come under serious scrutiny under the former dictatorship of Charles Taylor when the warlord was diverting logging revenues to himself rather than the treasury and using these funds to finance his ambitions of regional destabilisation. Logging company militias also became private armies, according to Global Witness.

The UN subsequently prohibited timber exports from the country, a ban that was recently lifted.

A World Bank expert estimated that logging could provide up to 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

A spokesman for the Liberian government’s Forestry Development Authority said logging companies will be made to sign social agreements with local communities to help fund development needs such as schools, health centers and roads.

Hopefully these agreements will actually be honored.

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