Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are a vehicle for development and generate almost half of jobs in the formal forest sector globally. They are key to local economies, generating significant livelihood and employment opportunities. Yet the recent economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the vulnerability of MSMEs to sudden market developments.
Little is known about the small and micro-sized entities (SmEs) engaged in the forestry sector in the Mekong region, their characteristics, the number and gender of people involved in the businesses, their supply chains and levels of compliance with regulations. A new briefing published by the EU FLEGT Facility provides analysis, insights and recommendations to improve the position of SmEs in the Mekong forestry sector.
A study commissioned by the Global Timber Forum reveals that women workers in Ghana’s wood processing sector are much less visible than their male counterparts yet are involved in multiple areas of the value chain. This involvement ranges from the administration, labour and through to acting as financiers of business.
According to an African proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ The growing involvement of civil society in managing natural resources in the Central African Republic seems to indicate that the country is prepared to go far.
An article published in Front Page Africa describes the progress made by Liberia towards good forest governance since the end of the 14-year civil war, highlighting the ‘gradual rise’ of women’s participation in the forest sector. The writer outlines the benefits of greater participation of women in decision-making processes related to forests.
It’s a myth that money doesn’t grow on trees — a glance at any timber baron’s bank balance would confirm that. But for people living near tropical forests it has long been clear that when money flows to logging companies, there is little left behind for local development. Now, in Liberia, that is all changing, thanks in part to a trade deal called a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) the country negotiated with the EU.