This paper describes types, processes and importance of rent-seeking in the allocation of timber rights in Ghana. It is based on an analysis of 30 interviews with large-, medium- and small-scale timber firms, as well as government officials and timber industry organizations in Ghana. The paper documents that timber rights allocation is associated with both bureaucratic and political corruption. The latter comes in two forms. First, the findings suggest that well-established relationships exist between politicians and senior bureaucrats on the one side and large-scale timber firms on the other involving exchange of timber rights for political support and/or material, personal benefits. Second, timber rights are allocated to persons or firms outside the timber sector allegedly as payment for political support. The paper concludes that the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU is likely to reduce the observed practises in the future through increased transparency.
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Vol. 16 • No. 6