Last updated: 07 March 2020



Forestry and legality

Region Sub-Saharan Africa (2019) UNSD
FLEGT status VPA implementing (2019) FLEGT Facility
Forest area 22.2 million ha (2015) FAO
Deforestation rate 0.02 million ha/year (2010-2015) FAO
Planted area 0.002 million ha (2015) FAO
Tree cover loss 739 kha (2001-2018) Global Forest Watch
Tree cover loss (%) 1.6 % (2001-2018) Global Forest Watch
Tree cover gain 39.3 kha (2001-2012) Global Forest Watch
FSC certified area 0 ha (December 2019) FSC
PEFC certified area 0 ha (December 2019) PEFC
Double certified area (FSC & PEFC) 0 ha (Mid-2019) FSC & PEFC

VPA status of Central African Republic

  • VPA implementation in the Central African Republic regained some momentum in 2015 and 2016 after democratic elections restored some stability.

  • The CAR government concluded an accord with 14 armed groups in February 2019, leading to a peace agreement and appointment of a new ‘inclusive government’ on 24 March 2019. However, the security situation remains precarious.

  • In February 2019, the 2017 joint EU-CAR Annual Report on VPA implementation was released. Among developments highlighted were:

    • sanctions for mandated independent observation of forest law enforcement;
    • further support for the WWF’s private sector VPA capacity-building project;
    • reinstatement of the Mobile Inspection Brigade, which controls forest, wildlife and fishing activity;
    • launch of a collaborative database within the VPA Permanent Technical Secretariat (STP) to monitor timber transport from the forest and tax payment; and
    • missions by FAO-EU FLEGT Programme consultants to support the STP in developing a VPA information website and timber monitoring database.

Forest resources in Central African Republic

  • The latest FAO data shows that the Central African Republic’s forest area was 22.17 million hectares in 2015, 78,000 hectares (0.4%) less than in 2010.

  • Deforestation and forest degradation are mainly caused by expansion of subsistence and cash crop agriculture, which particularly affects gallery forests along waterways, and savannah wildfires largely induced by people. Another reason is wood-gathering around human settlements and mining (for gold, diamonds, and uranium).

  • Large areas of forest in the country comprise savannah type woodland and the area of forest suitable for commercial timber extraction is much smaller. The EU FLEGT Facility, for example, estimates national forest area at just 5.4 million hectares.

  • The closed semi-deciduous forests in the southwest of the country are among the richest in Africa, containing a high density of high-value timber species such as Terminalia superba (limba), Entandrophragma cylindricum (sapelli) and Triplochiton scleroxylon (ayous) and significant areas are still largely unexploited.



Economic and industrial status

GDP 2.4 billion USD (2018) World Bank
Population 4.7 million (2018) World Bank
Income group Low income (2019) World Bank
Ease of Doing Business (EDB) Rank 184 / 190 (2019) World Bank
Global Competitiveness Index Rank unavailable / 141 (2019) World Economic Forum
Liner Shipping Connectivity Index unavailable (maximum value in 2004 = 100) (2019) World Bank

Timber industry competitiveness of Central African Republic

  • Since the mid-1990s, the Central African Republic has attempted to impose minimum requirements for processing of timber prior to export but with limited success owing to the challenges of encouraging investment in processing facilities.

  • According to national law, 70% of the log harvest should be processed in the country. However, the volume processed as a percentage of the total volume produced has fallen significantly, from approximately 49% in 2001 to less than 20% in 2018.

  • The country is either not rated at all or ranked very low on international competitiveness indices. In 2019, it was ranked 183rd out of 190 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.

  • In 2018, FAO and CIFOR published a joint report on the state of the forest sector in Central African Republic in 2016 which indicated there were 11 logging companies, with an average annual production of close to 400,000 m3 at that time. This study suggests sawnwood production of only 33,000 m3 in 2016.

  • According to the FAO-CIFOR study, close to 30 species are processed in the country, but Sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum), Ayous, Dibétou (Lovoa trichilioides) and Kossipo (Entandrophragma candollei), account for more than half of the total volume, and one company alone, SEFCA does more than half the processing.

Trade Overview

Trade Overview


  • According to the ITTO Biennial Review, Central African Republic log production was 727,000 m3 in 2018, a rise from 627,000 m3 in 2017 and from only 548,000 m3 in 2014. Log exports, which were only 114,000 m3 in 2014, had risen to 418,000 m3 in 2018.

  • Sawnwood production was estimated by ITTO to be only 50,000 m3 in 2018 and largely unchanged in the previous 3 years (this compares to 33,000 m3 in 2016 estimated by FAO/CIFOR). Sawnwood exports were estimated by ITTO at only 12,000 m3 in 2018, down from 15,000 m3 the previous year.

  • There is negligible plywood and veneer production in CAR.

Central African Republic’s imports and exports of timber products in the latest 12 months (USD value from January 2019 to December 2019)

NOTE: Mirror data from STIX, drawing on trade data reported by Central African Republic’s main trading partners, is used. Read more about the data in ‘Data Sources and Issues’.
Hover over the chart to see the value.

Imports (1.49 Million USD) Exports (48.49 Million USD)
Region Country Product Product Country Region

Central African Republic’s production, imports, exports and domestic consumption of primary wood products in 2018

(data source: ITTO) Hover over the chart to see the value.

Trend in production, imports, exports and domestic consumption of primary wood products (logs, sawnwood, plywood, and veneer) in Central African Republic

(data source: ITTO)