Margules Groome spreads its wings to Africa

Forestry industry consultants Margules Groome opened a new office in the Cape Province of South Africa, its first presence on the African continent in April this year.

“We see the African continent becoming increasing attractive to investments in sustainable forestry projects given resource constraints in other parts of the world” Rudolf van Rensburg, a founding Director of Margules Groome, said. “Africa will play an increasing role in supplying wood products markets in the future and we look forward to working with our African counterparts to help realise exciting opportunities for our clients.”

“East Africa is particularly attractive to new project developers” Cori Ham, Head of Margules Groome’s African operations, said. “We see a keen interest from investors globally to develop new projects. Locally we also see existing players wanting to explore new technologies in both forestry and wood processing.”

With a growing fibre deficit in Asia, Africa must be part of the solution. Its geography is suitable for growing a range of species and the business environment is improving for the manufacture of an array of products. Africa is geographically well-placed to serve the key markets of India, China, Japan and the EU. For example, Guandong-based Yihua Enterprise recently announced an investment of $1 billion in Gabon’s forestry and wood processing sectors.

Historically the regulatory environment in Africa has been a hindrance for some investors but improvements are ongoing. Gabon, Liberia, Ghana and Mozambique are examples of countries actively progressing towards better regulations and sustainable use of their forest resources.

Natural African timber species such as obéche, sapele, utile and iroko are in high demand for veneer, plywood and appearance uses. Plantation species and management practices in Africa have many synergies with countries in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand.