African countries import timber and timber products worth about US$4bn annually, but less than 10% of these products originate within the African continent because of the low capacity of the region’s timber-processing sector and the lack of policies to promote intra-African trade.

Nevertheless, the rapid growth in the economies – and, consequently, timber demand – of many African countries presents an enormous opportunity for the African timber and timber products sector.

A vibrant local timber-processing industry based on a sustainable timber supply could play an important role in the region’s sustainable development.

The need to promote the intra-African trade of timber and timber products was identified at an international conference organised by ITTO in Accra, Ghana, in 2009.