The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a Pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is an association of individuals who share the quest for and commitment to the sustainable management, use and conservation of the forest and tree resources of Africa for the socio-economic wellbeing of its people and for the stability and improvement of its environment. The purpose of AFF is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equity, economic and social development. Through all its programmes and activities, AFF seeks to promote the empowerment of all marginalized groups particularly women and youth whose representation, priorities and needs are rarely adequately addressed in the forest sector.
AFF has secured funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) to implement the project entitled Strengthening management and use of forest ecosystems for sustainable development in Africa. The overall goal of the project is “to generate and share knowledge and information through partnerships in ways that provide inputs into policy and decision-making options and capacity building, for improved forest management that better addresses poverty eradication and environmental protection in Africa. One of the key project objectives is to enhance the capacity of key stakeholders to sustainably manage the forest resource base in ways that enhance the supply of ecosystem goods and services, including through approaches and technologies that increase efficiency in the use of forest and tree resources.
The objective is premised on the fact that Africa’s forests cover more than 624 million hectares, representing 20.6% of the continent, whose landmass comprising considerable forest variations including the rainforests of the Congo Basin, the Guinean forests, the coastal forests, the Afromontane forests, and many other types of woodlands is characterized by exceptional richness in biodiversity of high ecological and economic importance. These forests provide valuable goods and services for forest dependent communities. Both rural and urban households are heavily reliant on wood and non-wood forest products that contribute considerably to both local and national economies. However, these forests and woodlands are threatened by deforestation and forest degradation which impact on forest cover and therefore leading to their general decline. Wood extraction is one of the key direct drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. Africa’s wood-based industry is characterized by a high proportion of informal and small-scale operations. The informality, often mixed with illegality, prevents the access to technical and financial means, limiting the potential of value chain development. The result is that timber products do not provide a sufficiently profitable alternative to environmentally unsustainable practices. Consequently, Africa’s timber products cannot effectively compete in the international markets due to inefficient production processes. Further, the wood-based processing industry is characterized by low level of processing using old and obsolete machinery and poor roundwood harvesting and transport, as well as a weak trade and market infrastructure, all of which combine to lead to low recovery on wood processing and low returns on product sales.
There is a growing concern on how the continent can meet the needs for an increasing demand for forest products due to population growth in general and rapid urbanization in particular, and simultaneously managing the forest resources sustainably. This calls for improving the efficiency of the timber production processes through improved productivity that could reduce wood wastage and adverse environmental impacts and constrain imports of processed forest products.
It is within this context that AFF seeks to undertake efficiency studies on the sawn timber value chain in different forest types on the continent with the view to gain a better understanding of the state of the sawmilling industry and trade in sawn timber products in Africa in order to inform the design of strategies for improving this sector as well as on securing sustainable industrial roundwood production.
For its 2021 annual plan of work, AFF plans to conduct the studies in six African countries that will assess the sawn timber value chain, with the aim of identifying how to improve efficiencies at its various levels, including the necessary capacity building requirements for key players in the value chain. AFF is recruiting one national expert from Central African Republic to undertake the above described study in the country.
2. Purpose of the work
Undertake studies on approaches, technologies, and other means to increase efficiency in the sawn timber value chains in different forest types in Central African Republic.
- Mapping of the value chain from the industrial roundwood raw material base, through harvesting/logging, processing, drying, to sale as sawn timber sourced from selected forests, including identifying the range of actors at the various levels in the value chain;
- Undertake efficiency studies on the various operations in the value chain including, harvesting/logging, log transport, sawmilling operations, sorting and drying of sawn timber, marketing and trade in sawn timber detailing the product flows, productivity, technologies used and transaction costs at each step from logging to sale of sawn timber;
- Assess the industrial roundwood material availability and ways to make it meet demands for sawn timber on a sustainable basis;
- Identify the governance structures at each level of the sawn timber value chain, how they operate and how they can be made more efficient.
- Explore other determining factors and approaches (institutional, financial, policy, and others) that i) constrain efficiency and/or could be employed for increased efficiency at various levels of the sawn timber value chains;
- Based on the findings on (a) to (e), propose recommendations for improving the sawn timber value chain in ways that are environmentally, socially and gender inclusive.
3. Expected deliverables
For the study, the expected deliverables are as follows:
- A technical report of about 40 pages long, excluding references, annexes;
- A policy brief, a fact sheet and a journal article, all to be finalised in collaboration with relevant staff at the AFF Secretariat.
4. Minimum qualifications and skills
- Have at least a master’s degree in forestry, wood science, wood technology or natural resources management with experience in forest management and forests products trade; a PhD will be an added advantage;
- Have demonstrated experience in forest products value chain analysis, management and development;
- Have written at least a book chapter, and/or published peer reviewed journal papers; and
- Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English or French.
5. Duration of assignment
The tasks in the ToRs are for three months of workload, commencing on 30 August 2021 and spread over a period of four months. The consultant shall work from her/his location but be in close consultation with relevant staff at the AFF Secretariat while keeping to an agreed delivery schedule.
6. How to apply
Please email, quoting the title and number of this consultancy on the subject line, and attach a proposal containing:
- Cover letter stating how you meet the above qualifications and experience requirements;
- Detailed methodological notes, of not more than 3 pages, explaining clearly how you intend to undertake the different tasks listed above (at least half a page for each task);
- A data matrix listing information needs for the key result areas plotted against data sources;
- A draft work plan (clear deliverables plotted against work-weeks for each key result area);
- A tentative table of contents with corresponding number of pages;
- An updated CV.
Please apply, with the subject line: “Consultancy Services NO 01-184.108.40.206 AFF – Evaluation of sawn timber value chains in Central African Republic” and email to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and M.email@example.com, with a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
Application deadline is 27 August 2021. Only successful applicants will be contacted.
Download the Terms of Reference for ease of reference.