The World Bank has granted aid of US$50 million to Mozambique to help the country to reform the forestry sector under an agreement signed in Paris, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.
The agreement, signed by the Minister of Land, Forestry and Rural Development of Mozambique, Celso Correia and the Director of the World Bank for Climate Change, John Roome, is intended to finance the reforms that the Mozambican government will begin to apply from 2016 including in-depth changes to exploration of forest resources.
The current scenario, according to the newspaper, is characterised by excesses that lead to deforestation, insignificant gains for the state and the communities and especially the deterioration of the local and global environment due to destruction of forests.
The reform the Ministry of Land, Forestry and Rural Development has prepared will cost an estimated US$85 million, with the World Bank pledging an immediate contribution of US$50 million.
The reform presented about two weeks ago in Maputo provides, among other things, for more criteria in issuing operating licenses, immediate suspension of unprocessed timber, forcing the creation of facilities for local processing.
The timber operators must introduce actual reforestation programmes and national and international investors may invest in factories to produce furniture and other goods from wood.
Mozambique currently has a deforestation rate of 0.58 percent, which means the loss of an area of forest equivalent to 219,000 hectares every year. The reform drafted by the government aims to lower that rate to 0.2 percent per year.
Mozambique’s forests cover around 51 percent of the total 800,000 square kilometres of the country’s area. (macauhub/MZ)