ARUSHA, Tanzania (AA) – Tanzania and Kenya on Wednesday signed an agreement to combat illegal logging and timber smuggling, which together cost Tanzania more than $8 million a year.
“Today’s agreement will improve the effectiveness of measures to tackle rampant illegal logging and smuggling,” Juma Mgoo, CEO of Tanzania’s forest services, told reporters.
“The signing of the agreement is a significant action showing that we are ready to regulate timber trade across our borders,” he said.
Mgoo cited a 2012 study conducted by the East African Wildlife Society on the illegal trade of timber – and other forest products – across the Tanzanian and Kenyan borders.
According to the study, Tanzania loses some $8.3 million annually to smugglers.
“The implementation of this agreement will focus on trans-border collaboration around law enforcement to reduce illegal trade in forest resources, like timber, charcoal and logs,” said Emilio Mugo, acting director of Kenya’s forest services.
Amani Ngusaru, Tanzania country director for the World Wildlife Fund, a leading global conservation organization, said developing countries were facing huge losses due to illegal trade in natural resources.
“These losses are unacceptable considering the fact that the money is needed to build hospitals, schools, roads and other social development projects,” Ngusaru told reporters.
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