Gateway to international timbertrade

Ivory Coast

Forest resources

Ivory Coast, also referred to as the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (RCI), is a country located in Africa, on the Atlantic Ocean, in the western part of the Gulf of Guinea. With a surface area of 322,462 km², it is bordered to the north-northwest by Mali, to the northeast by Burkina Faso, to the east by Ghana, to the southwest by Liberia, to the west-northwest by Guinea and to the south by the Atlantic Ocean. The population is estimated at 25,823,071 as of 2019. Ivory Coast's political and administrative capital is Yamoussoukro, although almost all institutions are located in Abidjan, its main economic centre. Although the official language is French, there are over 60 other dialects spoken in daily life. The national currency is the CFA franc. The country is part of the ECOWAS and the African Union.

Three different ecological zones can be distinguished in Ivory Coast:

  1. In the North the domaine soudanais, which can be characterised as extensive savannah;
  2. In the centre a transition zone with mainly semi-deciduous forests; and
  3. In the South humid evergreen forests.

The forests are mostly owned by the State, with barely 2% of the forests belonging to private owners. The governance of Ivory Coast's forests is carried out differently depending on whether they belong to the State's Rural Forest Domain or the State's Permanent Private or Public Forest Domain.

In the rural domain, where priority is in principle given to agriculture, the forest area is managed by the Ministry of Water and Forests. The 233 Classified forests belonging to the State's Permanent Private Forest Domain have been managed since 1992 by SODEFOR (Société de Développement des Forêts - Forest Development Company).

Most forests of Ivory Coast are severely degraded or are at an early stage of secondary growth, except a number of effectively protected areas. According to the Ministry of Water and Forests: "Ivory Coast lost more than 70% of its forest cover between 1960 and 2015, from 16 million hectares to 3.4 million hectares, And only 1.3 million of the 4.2 million hectares of classified forest that existed in the country more than half a century ago remain undegraded. 13,179,403 hectares are allocated to forestry operations.” The protected areas of the country include 8 national parks and 6 nature reserves (3 wildlife reserves and 3 wilderness reserves), protected areas belonging to the State's Permanent Public Forest Domain, which are managed by the OIPR (Office Ivoirien des Parcs et Réserves - Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves), under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MINEDD). The Taï and Comoé National Parks cover nearly 1.5 million hectares. Apart from the forest estates of legal entities governed by public law, there are also forest estates of legal entities governed by private law and natural persons. These areas are forest logging areas (PEF - périmètres d’exploitation forestière) of the rural domain that account for the vast majority of the country's timber production. These forest exploitation areas are managed by private concessionaires assigned to them by the Ministry of Water and Forests.

Production and export

Ivory Coast has engaged in reforestation to increase the presence of teak (Tectonagrandis), framiré (Terminalia ivorensis) and gmelina (Gmelina arborea), although many other species are also planted such as Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata).

In 2019, out of a total of 40 exotic and local forest species that were exported in the form of fresh and dried sawn timber between 1 January 2019 and 30 September 2019, Dabema ranks first (for the past 5 years) with a volume of 9,189.32 m3 followed by Samba, Gmelina, Iroko and cedrela (7,723.71 m3, 5,888 m3, 4,927.12 m3 and 4,642.75 m3, respectively). Gmelina, Teak and Linguese were exported mainly to the Asian market, with Gmelina leading the pack. In 2019, Iroko lost its second place position to Samba. Moreover, it should be noted that importers' preference for Dabema is due to its characteristics, which are highly similar to those of Iroko (resistant to mushrooms and termites), while offering a very attractive market value. The Ivorian forests abound with many species that are not well known and therefore not highly valued. In order to meet the needs of areas above the 8th parallel, the Ministry of Water and Forests places special emphasis on this fact, notably by promoting alternative species. 

Rank (in descending order) of the 20 most profitable species as of 2019 (MINEF - DPIF, 2019):

  • Dabema (Piptadeniastrum africanum)
  • Samba (Triplochiton scleroxylon)
  • Gmelina (Gmelina arborea)
  • Iroko (Miliciaexcelsa, Milicia regia)
  • Cedrela (Cedrela odorata)
  • Azobe (Lophiraalata)
  • Frake (Terminalia superba)
  • Teak (Tectonagrandis)
  • Framiré (Terminalia ivorensis)
  • Niangon (Heritiera spp.)
  • Lingué (Afzelia africana)
  • Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense)
  • Tali (Erythrophleum ivorense)
  • Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis)
  • Ako (Antiaris Africana)
  • Koto (Pterygota macrocarpa)
  • Iantaza (Albizia ferruginea)
  • Limbali (Gilbertiodendron dewevrei)
  • Aniegre (Aningeria altissima)
  • Sipo (Useful Entandrophragma)

The forest industry of the country is composed of several hundred small processing units, and there are only a few big enterprises. A large part of the industry is foreign owned. Typically, wood is transported from the regions in which it grows to the port of Abidjan in the East, where the vast bulk of wood-based manufacturing takes place, or to the port of San Pedro in the West. The main products exported from Ivory Coast are flooring, logs from planted forests, mouldings, particle boards, plywood, sawn wood, and veneer.

Legality framework


Forest governance

Cote d'Ivoire has learned lessons from its forest governance of the past and now aims to regain its status as a forest country. As such, it has undertaken several actions to improve its forest governance in order to meet the challenges and issues of the future.

On 23 May 2018, the Ivorian government adopted the National Strategy for the Preservation, Rehabilitation and Extension of Forests (SPREF - Stratégie Nationale de Préservation, de Réhabilitation et d’Extension des Forêts), together with an operational action plan that will enable Ivory Coast to increase its forest coverage rate to 20% of the national territory by 2045, while preserving the nation's ecological, social and economic foundations.

The national strategy's main areas of focus are as follows:  

  1. The improvement of forest governance;
  2. Enhanced protection of residual forest massifs;
  3. The rehabilitation of deteriorated forest areas and adaptation to climatic change.  

Within the framework of the improvement of forest governance, one of the National Strategy's major areas of focus, the National Programme for the Improvement of Forest Governance in Côte d'Ivoire (PNAGF-CI), was initiated in 2019. In addition to all of these new initiatives, it is important to remember that Ivory Coast has been actively engaged in (i) negotiations for a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union since June 2013 and (ii) the REDD+ mechanism.

A new Forest Code was adopted on 23 July 2019. It introduces profound changes in Ivorian forest legislation, notably through the creation of new forest categories (agro-forests, community forests, sacred forests, etc.) and the elimination of former categories (forest logging areas (PEF - périmètres d’exploitation forestière)) along with the registration of lands in forest domains of legal entities under private law and that of natural persons. Many provisions of the new Forest Code have yet to be specified by regulation (decrees or orders).

The process of drafting and adopting these implementing texts of the Forest Code is currently under way.

Legal rights to harvest

Logging in the national forest domain is now defined by decree according to the forest code.

Any legal entity, natural person or community that is legally constituted has the right to carry out forestry activities as long as it has been authorised to do so by the competent Administration and does so only in areas authorised for forestry activities in accordance with the provisions set out in the Forest Code and subsequent texts without distinction of nationality or solely Ivorian capital for companies.

The 2019 forest code identifies several categories of forest and agro-forestry. The terms of logging in the national forest domain were outlined by decree No. 2019-980 of 27 November 2019.

Ultimately, the attribution of forest logging areas will no longer be the responsibility of the Ministry of Water and Forests, which remains the guarantor of the management of the nation's forests, but of the new owners who have registered the land on which the forests are located.

The National Forest Domain is defined in article 18 of the Forest Code as follows:

  • Forest estates belonging to legal entities governed by public law;
  • Forest estates belonging to legal entities governed by private law;
  • Forest estates belonging to natural persons

1. The conditions for logging within Agro-Forests and Classified Forests in the State's private domain and in territorial Communitie
The Agro-forests and classified forests of the State and local communities' private domain are logged as part of managed concessions. In Agro-forests and classified forests of the State and local communities' private domain, logging is carried out in accordance with the management plan, the specifications and the technical standards defined by the forest administration.

Logging quotas are established by the forest administration on the basis of, among other things:

  • A forest inventory that is less than two years old;
  • The minimum density threshold to be reached to ensure the regeneration of the ligneous resource, calculated on the basis of the results of the forest inventory;
  • The minimum harvestable diameter.  

2. The conditions for logging in forests belonging to private legal entities and natural persons
Logging in forests belonging to legal entities governed by private law and natural persons shall be carried out in accordance with the simplified management plan or the management plan and the technical standards established by the forest administration. The harvesting of timber for domestic use in forests belonging to legal entities governed by private law and natural persons or in community forests shall be carried out freely by the owner, in keeping with sustainable forest management and any provisions pertaining to protected species. Henceforth, since the authorisation of logging in the national forest estate is done via management concessions, taxes, fees and other charges will be determined by decree, except for those that already exist and are defined by law.

The 2019 Forest Code requires that forests be classified (via registration) in the name of their various beneficiaries (legal entities governed by public or private law, individuals, etc.). A consequence of forest registration will be the avoidance of land tenure problems, lands without owners and it will clearly establish the ownership of trees. Ultimately, in the rural domain, all forest and agroforestry areas that have identified owners will secure the elimination of forest logging areas in the way they currently exist.

Since management concessions are specific, several types of logging permits will be generated. Every logging company is required to obtain an approval issued by the Ministry in charge of forests, and this approval is granted for a fee. The conditions and cost of this approval are determined by regulation.

Taxes and fees

As the 2019 Forest Code has brought changes in terms of the classification of forests, agro-forestry etc., this will probably generate new taxes while likely also modifying existing ones.

For the time being, and prior to the publication of new decrees, orders and other subsequent texts, the legislative continuation maintains the existing Taxes and Usage Fees.

In the rural sector, the Ministry in charge of Water and Forests continues to grant the management of forest logging areas (PEFs) to logging companies that have met the demands outlined in regulations. The payment of various specific taxes is a precondition in order to obtain a provisional authorisation to harvest within the area, namely: (1) Usage Fees for General Interest Works – (TIG - Travaux d’Intérêts Général), (2) Attribution and Area Taxes – (TAS - Taxe d'Attribution et Superficie), and (3) Taxes on the sale of logs. It should be noted that other conditions are mandatory, such as, for example, having met one's obligations in terms of compensatory reforestation, not being subject to litigation related to logging misconduct, and producing a debt clearance certificate in relation to the forest administration.

Within the framework of partnership agreements related to classified forest area, a distinction is made between:

  • Payment of an annual land usage fee based on the forest area under agreement
  • Payment for stalks that will be harvested in accordance with the management plan
Timber harvesting activities

The 2019 forest code identifies several categories of forests and agro-forests. The conditions under which logging can occur in the national forest domain have been established by decree no. 2019-980 of 27 November 2019.

Classified forests: 

  • Management plan (currently, the Forest Code authorises logging under the condition that there is a management plan validated by the MINEF and submitted to it by the Sodefor), Article 4 of Order no. 861/MINEF/CAB of 13 December 2019 on the terms of establishment and implementation of forest and agro-forest management plans.
  • Specific agreement relating to logging and the list of trees authorised for harvest (document issued by the SODEFOR's general management and which must be annexed to the agreement and physically present at the harvesting site);
  • Logging authorisations, along with their specifications (documents issued by the SODEFOR's regional management centre - several authorisations must be obtained for a single agreement).
  • In accordance with chapter 3, article 56 of the 2019 Forest Code, concessions for the management of classified forests are granted by decree and issued by the Council of Ministers.

In the rural domain:

Forest logging areas (PEFs) are initially issued by means of a Provisional Authorisation to harvest the area. For those taxable years prior to the restitution of annual activity, the payment of various taxes is a prerequisite in order to obtain this authorisation: (1) Usage Fees for General Interest Works (TIG - Travaux d’Intérêts Général), (2) Area Attribution Tax (TAS -Taxe d'Attribution et Superficie), and (3) Tax on the sale of logs.

Authorisation is granted on the basis of the approval of a specifications document, which is submitted to the Ministry of Water and Forests and which contains, among other things:

  1. A report on the restoration of the forest area's boundaries, issued by the Ministry of Water and Forests. This confirms that the boundaries of the concession are visible and well maintained.
  2. A reforestation certificate, issued by the Reforestation and Forest Land Registry Directorate, confirming that the company has carried out the required compensatory reforestation.
  3. A forest survey (Prospecting Report with GPS coordinates)
  4. A debt clearance Certificate issued by the MINEF
  5. A debt clearance Certificate issued by the SODEFOR
  6. A Certificate that attests to proper facility operations, issued by the MINEF's Competent Regional Directorate; etc.  

The annual authorisation specifies the annual allowable cut (AAC) that applies to the concession. The concession holder obtains a forest area logbook from the DPIF (Direction de la Production des Industries Forestières - Forest Industry Production Board) in Abidjan, in which the harvested logs are recorded with their unique numbers and other details. The DPIF has published the minimum tolerated harvest diameter for each species.  Article 2 of the Annex to Decree 66-421 of 15 September 1966 regulating the harvesting of lumber and cabinet-making timber, service timber, firewood and charcoal.

Each felled tree is given a unique number, which it will retain until its final destination. The log and stump each bear the mark of the recorder's hammer (Area-specific Hammer), the forest logging area (PEF) number and a unique log number and, where applicable, a log section identifier. In addition to the Forest Area Logbook, the company also completes a B Statement, which consists of a report on the monthly extraction per forest area. 

Third parties' rights

Since the beginning of logging activities in Ivory Coast, and in addition to the obligations imposed on concessionaires, such as the payment of the TIG (Taxe d'Intérêt Général – General Interest Tax), there have always been social support agreements between local communities and concessionaires, such as aid for the construction of schools, health centres, the opening of roads to help with farming, etc.

The 2019 Forest Code provides for forest use rights and specifies the conditions of access to be observed by the communities. Forest use rights are exercised in State and local community forests, with the exception of forests belonging to natural persons and legal entities subject to private law. Harvesting conducted as part of forest use rights must be done in accordance with the principles of sustainable forest management. Forest use rights do not extend to the subsoil.

Forest use rights may be exercised in State and local community forests and agro-forests that are the subject of management concessions without the concessionaire being able to claim any compensation from the communities. Forest products harvested by virtue of forest use rights do not give rise to the payment of any tax or usage fee to the forest administration.

In classified forests and agro-forests, forest use rights are exercised according to the conditions provided for in the management plan, in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management. These rights are limited to:

  • the gathering of dead wood and straw;
  • the gathering of fruits, edible or medicinal plants, roots, bark and leaves;
  • the collecting of drinking water;
  • the capturing of non-endangered animals and insects for consumption and non-commercial purposes;

In terms of the sharing of profits resulting from logging or any other activity related to the forest, a distribution formula will be determined by decree; the local communities are direct beneficiaries.

Trade and transport

For the transportation of logs from the forest to the sawmill, an Approved Waybill - (BRH - Bordereau de Route Homologué) is filled out, which must match the details in the Forest Area Logbook. This transportation document must be in the specified format, and obtained from the Timber Board, and will be produced in six copies for the relevant parties indicated on the document: (1) buyer; (2) forest owner; (3) transporter; (4) forest office; (5) DPIF Abidjan; and (6) remains in the Logbook. For classified forests, the document used is the BCBG, which has the same function as the AWB does for forest logging areas (PEFs).

Each day, logs that enter the sawmill are recorded in an Entry Log Book (LJE - Livre journal des entrées), and the details must match those in the BRH. In addition to the LJE, the company also fills out an E Statement, which is a report on the logs received monthly per harvested forest area in order to determine the amount of taxes payable for the harvested volume.

The sawmill's monthly production is recorded on a production sheet (in a specific format) that is obtained from the DPIF. In addition to the production sheet, the G1 statement is also completed and submitted to the authorities; it contains the sawmill's monthly production. For exports, a full statement of monthly exports is completed, while an H Statement will be used for monthly local sales.

Further processing does not involve sawing / peeling / slicing is indicated in the Monthly Production Declaration (DMP - Déclaration Mensuelle de Production).

Key documents

The below listed key documents are based on the applicable legislation and are considered to play a key role in demonstrating legal origin.

Harvesting

Déclaration de paiement des taxes forestières
Direction Générale des Impôts
Confirmation of forestry tax payment
RCCM (Registre de Commerce et du Crédit Mobilier - Trade and Personal Property Credit Register)
Commercial Court of Abidjan
The first document required as proof of legal existence - the company is registered in the commercial register. Articles 44 and 46 OHADA, Uniform Act relating to General Commercial Law of 15 December 2010 Articles 97 and 98 OHADA of the Uniform Act relating to the law governing commercial companies of 17 April 1997.
DFE (Déclaration Fiscale d’Existence - Fiscal Existence Declaration)
Tax return centre
It justifies that the company is declared to the tax authorities and that it has a Taxpayer Account (CC - Compte Contribuable). The General Tax Code, 2013 edition Article 146 of the book of fiscal procedures. Order no. 2011-480 of 28 December 2011, article 26.
The company is registered with the CNPS (Caisse Nationale de Prévoyance Sociale - National Social Security Fund). Article 5 of law no. 99-477 of 2 August 1999 on the social security code.
Inter-ministerial Attribution Commission (Trade, Taxes, Water and Forests)
This document authorises the company to export timber products and is valid for the current year. Articles 9 and 10 of the Decree on the conditions for the processing and sale of forest products (Decree to be issued, 2019 Forest Code), the former decree is still in effect.
Directorate of the Forest Land Registry (MINEF)
Specific specifications pertaining to the logging operation and a simplified development plan or management plan (Forests of the rural domain). Specific specifications pertaining to the logging operation and a forest management plan (Forests of the State's private domain). Compensatory reforestation quotas are defined in the specifications.
Debt Clearance Certificate
Water and Forestry Board
Specific operating specifications pertaining to the logging operation. This document is issued upon presentation of the receipts for payment of the surface area tax and the attribution tax, the tax on the sale of logs, the General Interest Tax and the reforestation certificate.
Debt Clearance Certificate
SODEFOR
The SODEFOR's internal verification procedures. It is issued if the company's financial commitments are in order.
A Certificate that attests to proper facility operations
Regional Department of Water and Forests of the facilities' locality
Specific specifications relating to processing operations. It is delivered after the visit of the facilities by the Regional Director, a judicial police officer.
Receipt of payment of the General Interest Tax (TIG - Taxe d’Intérêt Général)
DPIF (Direction de la Production des Industries Forestières - Forest Industry Production Board)
Article 74 of the 2019 forest code Article 2 of Decree no. 2013-484 of 2 July 2013 establishing the institution of non-tax forest revenues within the MINEF. Fiscal annex/General Tax Code. Revenue orders are issued by the DPIF and the company is obliged to pay them in exchange for the issuance of a receipt.
Receipt for payment of the Surface Area and Attribution Tax
Declaration at the Tax Centre
Issuance of a receipt upon payment of the taxes. General Tax Code - Article 74 of the 2019 forest code.
Official report on the delimitation of forest logging areas (PEFs)
Regional Department of Water and Forests of the Territory
Specific specifications relating to the logging operation. Issued after the opening of the forest logging area (PEF) boundaries has been observed.
Receipt of payment of the Tax on log sales
Declaration at the Tax Centre
Issuance of a receipt upon payment 2018 Tax Appendix/General tax code Article 74 of the 2019 forest code.
Authorisation for the annual resumption of forest logging area (PEF) activities
Ministry of Water and Forests
Renewal of the annual harvest authorisation in the PEF Article 63 of Law no. 2019-675 of 23 July 2019 of the Forest Code
Forest Management Plan
SODEFOR / MINEF
The forest management plan (PAF - plan d'aménagement forestier) is a planning instrument that is specific to the relevant forest area; it defines the logging conditions. Article 4 of order no. 861/MINEF/CAB of 13 December 2019 on the conditions of preparation and implementation of forest and agro-forest management plans.
Contract/Harvesting Authorisation for the Classified Forest
SODEFOR
Decree 2019-980 of 27 November 27, 2019 pertaining to logging in the national forest estate (Classified Forests, Agroforestry, etc.).
Specific logging operation agreement
SODEFOR
Specific specifications relating to logging in the classified forest. Lists certain specific conditions that must be met in terms of the logging operation.
Payroll Tax (ITS - Impôt sur les Traitements et Salaires)
Declaration at the Tax Centre
Receipt certifying that the company has paid the taxes to the relevant administration. General Tax Code.
CNPS ( Social security contribution)
Declaration of social security contributions at the CNPS
Payment of monthly social security contributions to the CNPS Law no. 99-477 of 2 August 1999 of the social security code.
ARF Tax Compliance Certificate
The company's Tax Centre
This document shows that the company is currently up to date in terms of its tax obligations. General Tax Code.
Import-Export Code sheet
Ministry of Commerce
Freight Forwarder's Certificate
Freight Forwarder
Article 5 and Article 75(1) of the Customs Code Articles 1, 2 and 3 Ordinance no. 62-216 of 26 June 1962 which replaces the increase in the single exit tax on timber as part of the national contribution with an increase in the rates of taxes and usage fees. Articles 1 et seq. of Decree no. 94-377 of 1 July 1994 modifying the market values of logs and certain timber products for export. Article 2 of Decree no. 96-190 of 7 March 1993 modifying the market values of logs and certain timber products. Certifies that the logging company has paid his exit duties.
Environmental Fee
CIAPOL
Article 22 of Decree 98-43 of 28 January 1998 on classified installations for the protection of the environment. The logging company has to pay this environmental tax; a payment receipt is issued once the logger has honoured its obligations.
Phytosanitary certificate
MINAGRI
Article 7 of Decree 63-457 of 7 November 1963 establishing the conditions for the introduction and export of plants and other materials which may carry dangerous microorganisms.

Bans and quota

Ivory Coast has an export ban for logs from natural forests and has export quota for fresh wood. Additionally, there is an export ban for small diameter wood of the genus Pterocarpus spp. (e.g. Padouk, Kosso, bois de Vêne).

Cites and protected species

The Afrormosia / Assamela (Pericopsiselata) comes from Ivory Coast and is listed in CITES' Appendix II comes from Ivory Coast. The commercialisation of this species in Ivory Coast has been suspended by the nation's government.

Vène wood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) has also been banned from harvest, sale and export (Decree No. 2013-508 of 25 July 2013) and is also listed in CITES' Appendix II.

National action on timber legality

As part of a broad effort to improve governance in the country, Ivory Coast has initiated a series of measures to improve the governance of its forest sector. In addition to forest law reforms, in 2013 Ivory Coast began the process of negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union. Since then, two formal negotiation sessions have taken place, as well as ongoing technical missions and discussions, and substantial progress has been made at the national level.

Third party certification

In 2019, in Ivory Coast, the Certificate of the Origin and Legality of Timber (OLB - Origine et Légalité des Bois) was the only one used to certify companies. This represented roughly 1.1 million hectares of forests. 

Contacts

Ministère des Eaux et Forêts
Tour D 19ème étage
B.P. 650
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Tel: +225 20 21 94 06
Tel: +225 20 221629
The Ministry of Water and Forests is responsible for the regulation of utilization of the country’s forest resources, the conservation and management of those resources and the coordination of policies related to them.
Ministère des Eaux et Forêts
Direction de la faune et des ressources cynégétiques
Ing. Salimata Kone
Ingénieur des Eaux et Forêts
B.P. V 178
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Tel: +225 20 21 07 00
CITES management authority of the country
Société de développement des forêts (SODEFOR)
01 BP 3770
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Tel: +225 22 48 30 00
State forest service responsible for the management of the classified forests (forêt classes)
Syndicat des Producteurs Industriels du Bois de Côte d'Ivoire (SPIB)
01 B.P. 318
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Tel: +225 22 44 44 80
SPIB is the main timber producer association of Côte d’Ivoire, and aims to promote the trade in timber and timber products from Côte d’Ivoire.

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