Alternative business models for forest - dependent communities in Africa: A pragmatic consideration of small - scale enterprises and a path forward

  • RA Kozak

Abstract

The dominant mode of business practice in the African forest sector – especially in the high forest cover regions – comes in the form of concessionaires operating on publicly held lands. Increasingly, however, the concession - based model is being challenged. Is it socially and environmentally sustainable? Does it lead to positive socio - economic outcomes for forest dependent communities? While this paper does not attempt to answer these questions head - on, it does put forward four alternative business models that could serve to reduce poverty and improve social conditions among rural forest - dwelling Africans: 1) small and medium - sized enterprises; 2) community forest enterprises; 3) business associations; and 4) alliances with concessionaires. Definitions of the four business models are provided, and some key considerations for each are discussed. The paper concludes by providing recommendations for civil society, governments, economic actors, communities, and other stakeholders interested in catalyzing and creating an enabling environment for these sorts of business alternatives to succeed in the forested regions of Africa. Namely, there is a need to collect and disseminate quantitative data on the socio - economic contributions that small - scale enterprises can make, devise appropriate interventions that take into account the highly variable socio - political landscapes of Africa, and develop business plans grounded in solid, marketable value propositions.
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Articles

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eISSN: 1662-2510