Liberia Sells Almost Quarter of Country to Logging Companies

David Blair, Telegraph (London), September 4, 2012

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became the first woman to win a presidential election in Africa when she gained Liberia’s leadership in 2005.

The Harvard-educated economist has been widely praised for rebuilding Liberia after a devastating civil war that claimed perhaps 250,000 lives. Liberia is one of five countries where Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative aims to improve public administration and service delivery.

Yet Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf’s government has given logging companies the right to deforest 10,079 square miles of Liberia, an area totalling 23.4 per cent of the entire country, according to Global Witness, a campaign group.

The regions set aside for clearance include 45.6 per cent of Liberia’s primary rainforest, the largest surviving ecosystem of its kind in West Africa. Deforestation rights have been granted in the form of 66 “Private Use Permits” (PUPs) which place minimal obligations on the companies involved, according to Global Witness.

The new licenses “contain no sustainability requirements,” said the campaign group, and would allow companies to clear “almost half of Liberia’s primary intact forests”. The PUPs “provide much less revenue to the government than other types of logging licenses” and “violate Liberia’s new laws designed to ensure that communities can control their forests”.

Local communities have agreed to allow their forests to be cut down in return for compensation. But Global Witness said the sums involved were “paltry”, noting that the international price for Liberian tropical hardwood is around $200 per cubic metre, while the payments to local people have ranged between $1.50 and $3 per cubic metre.

“Liberia is often lauded by the donor community as a country that got it right,” said Jonathan Gant from Global Witness. “In many respects this is accurate, but this legal crisis in the forest sector threatens to undo its fragile progress.”

Two companies—Atlantic Resources and Alpha Logging—have been the biggest beneficiaries of the permits. Both have “significant corporate ties” with Samling Global, a Malaysian logging company. In 2010, the Norwegian government’s pension fund disinvested from Samling after finding that the company had carried out illegal logging in the Sarawak area of Borneo.

Last month, Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf “suspended” Moses Wogbeh, the head of Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority, who had signed the PUPs. A statement from her government said an “independent” investigation would examine the awarding of permits—and promised that no more would be handed out until this was complete.

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  • Let’s sell Hollywood, Washington, DC, Chicago etc. to the Chinese for the silicates. Lots of good silicates there.

    • The__Bobster

      That would be sand. Hollywood has more silicone than sand.

    • I’ve long speculated that the US would eventually cede Alaska to China to protect and preserve our greatest strength.  Hawaii wouldn’t be enough and Southern California would have to be depopulated before China would want it.

  • jedsrael

    You can see it coming:

    When Liberia’s eco system collapses, White school children in America will agree that their own evil White privilege is to blame for the disaster and they will vote for permanent Diversity rule over White Humanity in atonement of their greed and inherited racial sins, even though race doesn’t exist.

  • Yes, buzillion will be a real number and real soon.

  • Defiant White

    I love this story because it shows EXACTLY why Africa is in the shape it’s in and it says alot about the black creature itself.

    The best and brightest are plucked out of the jungle, they come here for a gold-plated education (that I  probably paid for) and then they return to the Mudderland . . . where they proceed to loot everything they can get their hands on.  They cash out through dictatorship, selling the rights to this and that or just plain corruption.

    That’s the true story of Africa.  Has nothing to do with diamonds, white colonialism, apartheid,  or any of that stuff.  Has to do with the African’s internal nature, shaped by hundreds of thousands of years of stealing from each other, grabbing low lying fruit and being too lazy to swat the flies crawling on their face.

  • IstvanIN

    Liberia is no doubt replacing the jungle with commercial farms.

  • Oil Can Harry

    This is probably the best they could do. Since black Africans don’t know how to run a logging company they’re better off letting foreigners do it. 

    This will create jobs for Liberians and if these logging companies are similar to ones in the US they’ll replant trees to replace the ones cut down.

    The alternative is Haiti where blacks mindlessly burn and cut down their own forests, never to be replaced.  

    •  Interesting.

      Why don’t black Africans know how to run a logging company?

      Why can’t they buy the equipment and do it themselves?

      Why were whites able to organize Africans into a sustainable agricultural economy?

      Why doesn’t anyone ask these questions?

      • Oil Can Harry

        According to p.c. liberals, blacks in the West are failures because they’re being held back by racism.

        Also, black-run Zimbabwe and South Africa are suffering from “the legacy of colonialism”.

        However, these elitists don’t like to talk about Liberia since it’s been independent and run by blacks since 1847, which makes it harder to blame whites for their failures.

  • Not giving it away, Trading it.  We’re nearly got the diversity market cornered.  If anybody wants some, they’ll have to deal with us.  They’ll have to pay or No diversity. LOL

  • JackKrak

    Let white Americans suggest that we go ahead and allow logging or oil drilling in an area that is home to a parasite that is dangerous or perhaps fatal to humans & then you’ll see the Sierra Club types put their bongs down for long enough to protest.

    Black or brown people engaging in wanton destruction of the earth? Yawn……

  •  As China moves in, the people beg us whites to come back.

  •  They really teach people how to go about public administration at that school.