Available records on intra-African trade in forest products indicate that the volumes traded have been very small. However, there are potentially big unrecorded, and possibly very significant, illegal sales of forest products across national borders. While it is right to condemn illegalities in such trade, it is also important to understand how this profitable trade is evolving, its contribution to socio-economic development, and how it could be formalized and well organised so that it contributes to broader policies of economic integration in Africa, where trade is key.
Forest certification provides evidence on the sustainable sourcing of forest-based raw materials in products. It provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value. It is important to evaluate how forest certification can be widely employed as a way of promoting responsible behavior in African forestry.