About Gatsby Africa

Gatsby Africa

We aim to accelerate inclusive and resilient economic growth in East Africa by demonstrating how key sectors can be transformed.

We plan to achieve our mission by:

  • Funding and implementing programmes that look to catalyse and influence large-scale and lasting change in priority sectors.  
  • Building and supporting local organisations dedicated to sector transformation.  
  • Sharing what we have learned with others who are trying to transform sectors.

Through this, we hope to create jobs, raise incomes and reduce poverty for people across East Africa.

Kenya Commercial Forestry Programme

Introducing innovative technologies and models to transform Kenya’s commercial forestry sector, protect the environment, and benefit millions of Kenyan citizens.

In 2016, Gatsby established the Kenya Commercial Forestry Programme to analyse the opportunities within the sector, test innovative models, bring in international learning and support stakeholders to kickstart growth.

Our analysis and work to date shows Kenya has clear opportunities to unlock land for planting while introducing game-changing technologies and radically upgrading models for sourcing timber, including through farm-forestry.

Crucially, these innovative technologies and models could be deployed so that the sector expands in an inclusive way, with smallholder growers developing win-win relationships with pioneering processors. The impact on Kenya’s environment and economy would be striking.

KCFP analysis has identified three complimentary transformation pathways available to the Kenya commercial forestry sector and the downstream manufacturing industries it can supply.

  1. Unlocking private and public land through PPP arrangements for commercial forestry investment underpinned by performance-based technical assistance and financial incentive programme, driving quality standards across the industry and associated support services (e.g., nurseries, contractors).
  2. Adoption of internationally proven optimised timber processing technologies that can maximise value add to existing private sector forestry resources (primarily farm forestry), unlocking a competitive market for product, and incentivising improved pricing between grower and processor.
  3. Unlocking win-win trade linkages between Uganda and Kenya. Whereby the intrinsic value of high quality privately grown Ugandan timber, can be unlocked through optimised primary processing. And in turn supply Kenya’s secondary processing sectors (e.g. furniture, mass timber construction) with secure supply of quality product currently unavailable through domestic markets.

Forestry Development Trust

The Forestry Development Trust was established by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation in 2013 as an independent Tanzanian institution with a long-term vision for development of the commercial forestry sector.

In order to increase household income from timber resources in the short-term and increase asset valuations of timber resources in the medium term, the Trust aims to strengthen the ability and motivation of forest institutions (private and public) to provide services to growers that collectively improve wood volumes, quality and market access. Specifically, the Trust works to increase demand for, and supply of, an improved genetic resource base; increase demand for, and access to, improved input and output markets; and strengthen the enabling environment through sector insight and stakeholder coordination.

The Trust is driven by the demands of the sector and is responsive to the needs of growers, designing interventions that are underpinned by sound economic analysis and a strong commercial rationale.

FDT’s role is to facilitate co-ordinated interventions among Tanzanian forestry actors that will in turn:

  • Increase the supply of higher-value wood products and energy from sustainable sources;
  • Increase smallholder planting and employment in sustainable private forestry;
  • Raise net incomes for the sector’s smallholders; and
  • Ensure quality services and industry functions are provided sustainably.

To achieve these objectives, FDT is running a programme made up of three components:

  1. Tree Improvement and Research is supporting the development of a multi-partner, long-term tree improvement programme that benefits all scales of tree grower, leading ultimately to sustained domestic production of improved planting material, informed by a responsive and dynamic research base.
  2. Tree Grower Services is Building demand for, and access to improved input markets including the production and dissemination of improved planting material, and contractor and extension services in support of best silviculture practices and strengthening market integration of private tree growers.
  3. Markets and Policy is facilitating the development of inclusive, competitive and resilient business models in wood product markets, and supporting a conducive enabling environment through engagement with public and private actors and provision of sector insight.