Wellspring was contracted by Gatsby Africa, working together with Criterion Africa Partners (CAP), to undertake a joint research project examining a key set of lessons from commercial forestry investments in Africa over the last 30 years, and for sector transformation through recommendations for future investments, as well as high-level industrial policy.


The Wellspring team carried out a review of proprietary data from CAP and available literature, on industrial and smallholder greenfield forestry investments to date. We also interviewed key stakeholders and experts (e.g. sponsors, current and past management of forestry companies, DFI and non-DFI investors) to gather insights on challenges in greenfield commercial forestry project design and implementation, potential solutions to these challenges and the role of carbon markets in African forestry. ​​

This report provides insights and recommendations on industrial and smallholder greenfield forestry investments, the importance of downstream industrial developments and markets, and the significance of the new era of carbon markets for the sector’s development. Findings are available in a public report and were presented to key industry stakeholders at a roundtable event in December 2023. Positive feedback received that the research provides a de facto reference document for the industry and investors.

Funders and clients

Gatsby Africa

Team members


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