Growing Interest In Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing in Africa

6th November 2019
African Wood Products Investments

By 2050, Africa will be one of the largest markets in the world with a population exceeding China’s. The development of a continental free trade area is well underway. Africa’s population will include a significant middle class with an increasing appetite for consumerism. These developments create opportunity for forest and wood product investment and development. Tanzania is one country with potential and Margules Groome is excited to participate in the development of opportunities in Africa.

The Forestry Development Trust (FDT) was established by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation (Gatsby) in 2013 as an independent Tanzanian institution with a long-term vision for development of the commercial forestry sector. FDT, with support from the Tanzania National Business Council (TNBC) Forestry Working Group is in the process of investigating an opportunity to facilitate the development of Engineered Wood Product value chains in Tanzania. As part of this objective FDT commissioned Margules Groome Consulting to complete a feasibility assessment of the investment potential of different engineered wood products based on their technical, economic and development potential.

An essential element of the project is engineered wood product potential and implementation within a regional context that considers log and other raw material supply and quality dynamics as well as local, regional and international demand for engineered wood products.

As part of this process Margules Groome visited Dar es Salaam and the Southern Highlands in Tanzania to meet with different participants in the value chain including growers, timber transporters, timber processors and buyers. Margules Groome also participated in a workshop with FDT in Iringa. Participants included members from TNBC, the Tanzania Government, academics and other industry groups.

The workshop presentation started by providing a background to engineered wood product potential within a global market context and discussed the type of products likely to be suitable for Tanzania, considering the local market context. In addition to sharing global market insights, the first workshop focused on stimulating stakeholder contributions based on their sector and supply chain experience. During breakout sessions, opportunities and constraints to engineered wood product sector growth was discussed in detail.

A second workshop is scheduled for late September 2019 to present our results and to discuss a roadmap for engineered wood product investment and implementation in Tanzania.