CAMEROON: Camvert and the forest peril in the Congo basin

Country/area: Cameroon

Organisation: Afrik21

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 06/04/2021

Credit: Boris Ngounou (journalist); Athe Bonaventure (cameraman)


My name is NOUAYOU NGOUNOU Boris Joël. I am a young Cameroonian of 33 years old who has been practising and living journalism for 8 years. My professional career has made me acquire strong skills in the field of processing and dissemination of information. I have specialised in the field of the environment, where I have already written nearly 2000 online press articles as well as radio and TV reports. 

Project description:

The “Camvert” project is still in the news. The project to develop the largest palm grove in Central Africa, spread over 60,000 hectares in southern Cameroon, has aroused the wrath of environmental NGOs and indigenous populations. 
Despite the social guarantees promised by those in charge of the project, notably the construction of schools and health centres, as well as the creation of 8,000 direct jobs and nearly 10,000 indirect jobs, Camvert remains in the eyes of NGOs and indigenous populations as the myth of sustainable forest conversion. 

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Impact reached:

The Camvert project is an emblematic case of those projects tainted by illegalities and abuses of indigenous rights that exacerbate deforestation and even the climate crisis. The reportage we intend to produce aims to raise national and international awareness of the ecological and climatic damage caused by non-compliance with legal procedures for forest exploitation and management in Cameroon and the Congo Basin, the planet’s second green lung. This should contribute to the adoption of better forestry practices by both local populations and industrialists. 

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Techniques/technologies used:

As part of our survey, we used a map to locate our collection area. We used the internet connection for documentation on the subject, and to collect the data. We used a camera to film the locations, and a dictaphone to record the interviews. 

What was the hardest part of this project?

The most difficult part of this work was accessing statistical data on forest management in Cameroon, legal texts governing the field and figures on the impact of deforestation in southern Cameroon. 

What can others learn from this project?

What other journalists can learn from this subject is how to obtain figures on a little-addressed subject like deforestation in Cameroon. Cameroon is one of the most backward countries in terms of updating digital databases in any field.


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