Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA)

The Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) is an in-depth study analysing the status, trends and driving forces shaping African forestry and assessing potential changes in the sector to the year 2020. As globalization progresses and economies become more integrated, the opportunities and challenges for the forest sector are unfolding rapidly. FOSA provides a long-term perspective, enabling countries to develop appropriate responses to enhance the sector's contribution to societal welfare.

The study covers all continental and island countries in Africa divided into five sub-regions.
FOSA is the outcome of a collaborative effort, coordinated by FAO and guided by the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission and the Near East Forestry Commission. Each country designated aFOSA Focal point for the study. The African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Commission were the key partners. Regional and subregional organizations and international organizations active in African forestry were involved in the implementation of FOSA. AnExpert Advisory Group provided expert guidance and technical advice for the study.

Implementation of the study

In April 1998, the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission requested FAO to co-ordinate the Forestry Outlook Study for Africa (FOSA) study in partnership with African governments, regional and subregional organizations, multinational and bilateral organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. A series of activities were implemented in the course of the study and included:

Subregional meetings: A series of subregional planning meetings bringing together the respective country focal points were held in 1999 to define a common vision of FOSA among its partners, plan FOSA implementation, and clarify operational arrangements. Late in 2000, another series of subregional meetings discussed the draft Country Outlook Papers and the process of preparation of the subregion reports.

Working papers

  • Baseline studies: In support of the preparation of country outlook papers and subregional reports, FOSA has prepared baseline studies on: "Population, Incomes and Forest Resources in Africa", "Forest Institutional Issues", "Wood and Wood Product Supply and Demand in Africa to 2030";
  • Country outlook papers: Each country has prepared a paper presenting scenarios for forestry in the year 2020 by analysing change drivers both within and outside the sector, and envisioning likely policy, institutional and technological developments;
  • Thematic studies: For each of the subregions two thematic papers were prepared on the driving forces shaping forestry and the key issues in forestry conservation and development to year 2020;
  • Outlook papers were prepared by African consultants for each subregion.

Questionnaire survey: To elicit the perception and vision of the civil society on the current situation and the future development of the forestry sector, a questionnaire has been sent to many African organisations and individuals. The conclusions of the survey are provided in the FOSA reports.

Regional meeting: A technical review meeting was organised from 17 to 19 September 2001 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the findings of the subregional and regional FOSA reports.

Endorsement of FOSA: After the review process done by the Expert Advisory Group in Abidjan in October 2001, the drafts of the regional and subregional reports (translated into French, English and Arabic for the North Africa Report) were presented to and endorsed by the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission in March 2002 and the Near East Forestry Commission in January 2002.


Final Products

Synthesis of the FOSA Outlook Study: gives a summary of the main findings of the regional overview and subregional outlook reports.

African Forests: A view to 2020

Regional report: an overview of the status, trends and future prospects for forests and forestry sector in Africa and how the sector may position itself in the global context.

Forestry Outlook Study for Africa - Regional Report - opportunities and challenges towards 2020 - FAO Forestry Paper 141

Subregional outlook reports: in-depth diagnosis of the status, prospects and development strategies for the five subregions.

North Africa Subregional Report
Central Africa Subregional Report
East Africa Subregional Report
West Africa Subregional Report
Southern Africa Subregional Report
Comments on the FOSA reports can be sent to [email protected]

FOSA Follow-up

FOSA is a process as well a product. It demonstrates the commitment of countries to develop and integrate their outlook studies into national policies, plans and programmes.

National level:

  • Incorporate the FOSA approach into national forestry programmes;
  • Build national capacity for outlook planning and provide training;
  • Regular updating of country outlook.

Subregional level:

  • Map the outcomes from FOSA into subregional priority programmes and projects;
  • Identify thematic areas within the scope of FOSA that require further study.

Regional level:

  • Promote exchange of African forestry information to assist forestry outlook planning.


last updated:  Friday, June 13, 2008