ADF Supports Communal Forests Management in Benin

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Tunis, 6 July 2005 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank (ADB) Group,  approved today in Tunis a loan in favour of Benin of 35 million Units of Account (UA*) equivalent to US$ 51.6 million to finance the Communal Forests Management Support Project (PAGEFCOM).

The project will contribute towards poverty reduction. Its specific objective is to contribute to the sustainable management of forest resources and to the improvement of the population’s incomes and living conditions.

The project has three components, namely:

- Support to communal forests management;

- Capacity building;

- Project management.

The Project will cover 23 Communes in the Collines. The two main thrusts of the Project activities will be the protection and development of natural forest resources and the creation of short-term profitable economic forest resources.

The project focuses on the protection and regeneration of floristic and wildlife resources as well as urgent measures in the area of community infrastructure and control of soil degradation in the villages surrounding forests within the project area.

The population who will benefit directly from the project is estimated at 650,000, including 175,000 who will benefit from forest plantations and the integrated soil fertility management programme. The project targets women as an essential beneficiary group. All project activities have a positive impact on women thanks to the reduction of the burden of work and time loss because of the availability of fuelwood within easy reach; improvement of managerial capacities; increase of economic power through the development of remunerative activities;  improvement of health status thanks to outreach health care centres; and  reduction of the chores of fetching water thanks to the nearness of other basic services (schools, primary health care centres, feeder roads). In addition, the management of natural forests highlights the possibility of intensifying the harvesting in the various forests of products such as shea tree, Africa locust and many other non-timber products, wild fruits and vegetables that women, can process thus improving their incomes and living conditions.

The implementation of participatory management plans (PAP) with the involvement of the riparian population will have positive socioeconomic impacts by contributing to the improvement of living conditions in the intervention area where the people live far below the poverty line. Rural (private) plantations will contribute largely to the satisfaction of the population’s needs in fuelwood and utility wood.

The Bank Group's operations in Benin started in 1972. To date, the cumulative commitment of the ADB Group in the country amounts to about US$ 665 million for 71 operations.

Project Information Brief

- Sources of financing: ADF & Government

- Estimated start-up date and duration: January 2006; 6 years

- Executing Agency: Project Management Unit (PMU) attached to the orestry and Natural Resources Directorate

(DFRN); BP 393, Cotonou, Benin; Tel.: (+ 229) 33 06 62, Fax: (+ 229) 33 21 92

- Procurement of Goods and Services: Goods, works and services will be procured in accordance with ADF Rules of Procedure

1UA = US $ 1.456613 as at 01/07/05

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