Côte d’Ivoire, which has lost nearly all its forests in the past half century, has launched a major project to triple its cover by 2030, the government announced in November 2022.
The Forests Investment Project aims to cover 6.5 million hectares — about 20% of the country — said the World Bank, which is financing the $149 million project.
The project also would help preserve 300,000 hectares of degraded forest land in the southwest, and forests in the northern Savanes zone, said Water and Forests Minister Laurent Tchagba.
The seven-year project will benefit the country’s four national parks, including the Tai Forest National Park in the west, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the last remnants of the primary tropical forest of West Africa.
Côte d’Ivoire had 16 million hectares of forest in the 1960s.
That figure has fallen to 2 million hectares, according to official figures, mainly because of the development of cocoa plantations, of which Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s main producer, with 40% of the market.
Climate change, natural disasters, soil degradation and population movement also contribute to the loss of forest.
Delegations from other cocoa-producing countries Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Ghana attended the project’s launch.