Gabon will be paid by Norway to preserve its forests

Trees are shrouded in smoke during a blaze on the slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain, February 13, 2009.

Trees are shrouded in smoke during a blaze on the slopes of Cape Town's Table Mountain, February 13, 2009. Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Abdi Latif Dahir
Editorial Intern, Quartz Africa
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Forests?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Forests is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


Gabon will become the latest African nation to receive funding to preserve its rainforests to mitigate the effects of climate change. As part of a 10-year deal announced on Sunday (Sept. 22), Norway will pay $150 million to Gabon to battle deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal is part of the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI), which was launched by the United Nations in 2015 to link European donors with countries in Africa. The partnership sets a carbon floor price of $10 per certified ton and will be paid on the basis of verified results from 2016 through to 2025.

In 2014, Liberia was promised $150 million by Norway to completely stop cutting down its trees in return for development aid with the hopes of stopping deforestation by 2020.

Image: World Resources Institute

Gabon, which is on the Atlantic Ocean, has just 2 million people and abundant natural resources. Forests cover almost 90% of the country. Since the early 2000s, it has created more than a dozen national parks to preserve the forests. Gabon also has around 12% of the Congo Basin forest, which is considered the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. The country hosts 60% of Africa’s surviving forest elephants, which CAFI describes as “a key indicator of sound natural resource governance.”

Across west and equatorial Africa, illegal logging is ravaging the forests, much of it driven by demand from China. Gabon, for instance, is home to kevazingo, a reddish wood that some local communities consider sacred. But kevazingo timber is also used to make high-end furniture in Asia. Despite a 2018 government ban, kevazingo has become the target of smugglers. In May, president Ali Bongo fired his vice president and his forests minister after hundreds of seized containers with the precious timber went missing. Bongo then appointed Lee White, a British-born conservationist, as minister of forests.


White has said the deal with Norway will allow the government “to improve the living standards of the Gabonese people by creating jobs and livelihoods, whilst also sustaining natural capital, and to preserve our natural treasures and biodiverse ecosystems.”

Have you read?

The Gabon-Norway partnership was announced just days after protestors took to the streets of several African cities and around the world to demand political action to combat climate change. It also comes as government, businesses, and civil society representatives gather in New York today (Sept. 23) for a special United Nations climate action summit.

While the Gabon-Norway deal is historic, it isn’t the first time an African country has promised to protect its natural resources for financial benefit. In a 2018 deal with the US-headquartered charity The Nature Conservancy, Seychelles agreed to swap part of its debt for a plan that designated nearly a third of its waters as protected areas.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
ForestsAfricaSustainable Development
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How can companies protect and restore forests in a global climate crisis?

Daniel Schneiders

April 11, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum