Impact of Poor Governance on Deforestation in Africa

Paul Mwari Maina, Samuel Juma


According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world loses 18 million acres through deforestation each year. Africa is the only continent in the world where deforestation is on the increase threatening the continent’s scarce water resources, efforts by the region to combat climate change, and exacerbating the vulnerability of rural communities to poverty and effects of climate change. Deforestation over the decades has been blamed on poverty and burgeoning population increase. Demand for wood in Africa which is a source of energy could triple by 2050, straining the continents dwindling forest resources according to UN report. The study based on library research examines the extents to which poor governance and corruption which have been pervasive in Africa and have significantly contributed to the loss of the continent’s forest cover. Thirty published research papers were reviewed with the following objectives; i)  analyse the extent of corruption in the forest sector, ii) to examine the extent to which corruption contributes to deforestation in Africa, iii) examine ways in which poor governance and weak institutional arrangements exacerbate corruption in the forest sector, iv) explore the extent to which corruption undermines the effectiveness of Community Forest Associations in combating deforestation in Africa, and v) explore opportunities and challenges of community forest association in combating corruption in the forest sector. The study further evaluated policy documents and frameworks previous researchers have employed to examine forest governance, compared to the emerging recent models of forest governance. From the previous research, it is apparent that corruption has the potential to decimate a nation’s forests. Few studies in Africa have however examined the extent of this phenomenon. There is an urgent need for such studies that provide further explanation on the extent to which corruption plays in the continuing loss of forest cover against the backdrop of all the reforms to improve the performance of the forestry sector.

Keywords: community forest associations, deforestation, drivers, governance, corruption, institutions

DOI: 10.7176/JAAS/80-04

Publication date:May 31st 2022

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