The northern forest massif, which is much larger and the richest in terms of high-value species, only really started to be harvested as of 1970. Almost all of these forests are now covered by logging operations. Today, most output comes from the northern zone covered by larger forest concessions.
Despite the strategic importance accorded to the development of the industrialisation of the timber sector by the Congolese government, the industrial infrastructure is not yet sufficiently developed to achieve the objective of halting the export of logs set out in Law 33-2020 of the forestry code and in a recent (2020) CEMAC decision. The dominant activities still relate to primary processing, namely sawing, peeling and the manufacture of plywood.
There are currently 61 timber processing units of all types, and some companies have made significant investments to support the strategy of extensive and diversified local timber processing.
Most timber processing units in the southern forestry sector are old and not very efficient, compared to the industrial units located in the north of the country. Artisanal woodworking remains informal and of low quality due to the poor quality of the raw material that is used (wet sawn timber).
The official production in forest concessions represents 83% of the country's total production, compared with 17% for the non-official sector outside forest concessions.
The local timber market is still highly undersupplied in terms of processed products from forestry concessions. In 2018, the volume of sliced logs put on the local market reached approximately 19,257 m3.