Tanzania and Kenya sign deal to tackle illegal timber trade

Countries join forces to battle illegal cross-border trade

Tanzania and Kenya have signed an agreement to combat the illegal logging and timber trade across the borders of both countries.

The memorandum of understanding was signed in Arusha on 24 March by the Tanzanian and Kenyan forest agencies.

The five-year deal outlines cooperative measures aimed at managing the countries' forest resources by focusing on cross-border collaboration to reduce illegal trade in timber and charcoal.

The agreement follows several years' of exchange visits and meetings between both sides, facilitated by the World Widlife Fund and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

Recent environmental studies have revealed considerable illicit trade in timber and charcoal across the Tanzanian and Kenyan borders, causing extensive loss of revenue to both goverments.

The illegal logging gangs operating in the border region are responsible for smuggling hundreds of tons of timber a month and their activity is driving some tree species to the brink of extinction locally. The gangs are also reportedly armed, well-organised, and often work at night.