Le pillage du bois congolais/ Plundering of congolese wood

Corpwatch annonce qu’une entreprise forestière étrangère à floué les habitants du village de Lamoko en République Démocratique du Congo. Elle leur a fait signer une entente donnant le droit d’exploiter une forêt pendant 25 ans. Pour pouvoir couper des hectares d’arbre précieux, l’entreprise s’est engagée à construire des écoles et une pharmacie pour les villageois. Le coût de cet engagement: 10 000 livres (19 800 $US ou 22 500$Can). Ce que l’entreprise n’a pas dit c’est que chaque arbre coupé lui rapportera 4000 livres (7900 $US ou 9000 $Can). Toute une arnaque.

Here is a news item from Corpwatch. The village of Lamoko, in the Democratic Republic of Congo got ripped off by a wood company:

Lamoko, 150 miles down the Maringa river, sits on the edge of a massive stretch of virgin rainforest in central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On February 8 2005, representatives of a major timber firm arrived to negotiate a contract with the traditional landowners.
Few in the village realised that the talks would transform all their lives, but in just a few hours, the chief, who had received no legal advice and did not realise that just one tree might be worth more than £4,000 in Europe, had signed away his community’s rights in the forest for 25 years.

In return for his signed permission to log thousands of hectares for exotic woods such as Afromosia (African teak) and sapele, the company promised to build Lamoko and other communities in the area three simple village schools and pharmacies. In addition, the firm said it would give the chief 20 sacks of sugar, 200 bags of salt, some machetes and a few hoes. In all, it was estimated that the gifts would cost the company £10,000.

It was the kind of “social responsibility” agreement that is encouraged by the World Bank, but when the villagers found out that their forest had been “sold” so cheaply, they were furious.

They complained to the local and central government that there had been no proper consultation, that the negotiations had been conducted in an “arrogant” manner, and that people had been forced to sign the document. They demanded that the company pull out.
Since February 2005, logging roads have been driven deep into the forests near Lamoko and the company has started extracting and exporting trees, but the villages have yet to see their schools and pharmacies.

“We asked them to provide wood for our coffins and they even refused that,” said one man who asked to remain anonymous.

The Lamoko agreement is just one of many contracts, or concessions, that European companies have signed with tribal chiefs in the DRC as the country begins to recover from a decade of civil wars and dictatorship.