Kenyan president lifts ban on logging

Bad news for the planet. Despite concerns expressed by environmental groups, Kenyan President William Ruto on Sunday announced the lifting of the nearly six-year-old ban on logging. This “long-awaited” decision aims to create jobs and develop the sectors of the economy that depend on forest products, explained the Head of State.

“We cannot have mature trees rotting in the forests while the inhabitants suffer from the lack of wood. This is madness,” the president said during a church service in Molo, a town about 200 kilometers northwest of Nairobi, the capital. “That’s why we decided to open the forest and harvest wood, in order to create jobs for our young people and open businesses,” he added.

Rare and endangered species

William Ruto, who has positioned himself at the forefront of African efforts to tackle climate change, assured that the government is sticking to its target of planting 15 billion trees over the next ten years. The lifting of the ban will rejoice the sectors of sawmills and the timber trade, which deplored that it had caused many job losses. The moratorium was imposed by the previous government in February 2018, in public and community forests, to eradicate endemic illegal logging and increase the country’s forest cover to 10%.

For Greenpeace Africa, its lifting risks having “catastrophic environmental consequences”. “In Kenya, the forests are home to rare and endangered species, and millions of people depend on these forests for their livelihoods, for food and medicine,” the NGO warned last month, as part of a petition. thrown against this raise.

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“Since the Kenyan government imposed the logging ban six years ago, significant progress has been made in protecting forests and in tackling the climate crisis,” she added. “The lifting of the ban will undo all our hard work, as it will open the floodgates to commercial and illegal logging, solely motivated by profit,” according to the NGO.

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