The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the second largest forest in the world after Brazil. Estimated at nearly 155 million hectares, the DRC's forest area attracts timber industry players around the world. However, the exploitation of timber in several forest provinces, especially by Chinese companies, poses a real problem, notably because of corruption at all levels, the lack of enforcement of forestry laws and impunity.
The Wood of Poverty is an investigation we conducted in the provinces of Equateur and Tshuapa. It sheds light on the blunders, complicity and obstruction of the law committed by Chinese companies in this part of the country.
By Nelphie Mie Ngakao with the participation of Francis Mbanzulu, Elisée Boweya and Eric Bombayo
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!
The long journey of Congolese timber to China began in 2018, in the city of Bokatola, Ingende Territory, Equateur Province. Despite the moratorium, Maniema Union 2 has managed to obtain forest concessions and industrial timber cutting permits. This was made possible thanks to the support of the police-military authorities, under the reign of former President Joseph Kabila.
In 2019, after multiple denunciations, this company decided to change its name. It becomes Long Xin Sarlu. In 2020, it will split into two companies, one called Congo Sun Flower Development, and the other Congo King Bashing Forestry Development (COKIBAFODE).