International Development Planning Review

Corruption and illegal logging in Ghana

International Development Planning Review (2013), 35, (1), 1–19.

Abstract

Illegal logging is widespread in Ghana, a West African country with a history of rapid forest loss. While state forest management agencies have often attributed their inability to control illegal logging to lack of resources, this paper shows how corrupt practices also contribute to the problem. It has been demonstrated that as a result of neopatrimonialism and bureaucratic corruption, stated rules for awarding timber utilisation contracts have often been ignored. Similarly, although the activities of chainsaw operators have been banned, operators still rely on their corrupt networks with forest guards to harvest wood for sale. Corruption also affects the ability of the Forest Services Division to collect royalties and taxes from timber firms. As a result of these corrupt practices, the exploitation of forest resources is resulting in negative development outcomes. This paper suggests that improving the institutional framework of the state, legalising the operations of chainsaw operators and increasing the participation of civil society in forest monitoring processes might control corruption and illegal logging in Ghana.

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Teye, Joseph