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New Head of Liberia's Forest Agency Aims to Boost Timber Exports Amid Controversy


The newly appointed head of Liberia's Forestry Development Authority (FDA), C. Mike Doyen, has big plans to increase the country's timber exports and revitalize the forestry sector. However, his appointment has raised concerns and skepticism due to his rumored ties with former war criminal Charles Taylor. Doyen has vehemently denied these allegations and remains focused on his goal of improving Liberia's forest management and sustainable timber production.


Liberia, a country in West Africa, is home to one of the largest remaining tropical rainforests in the region. The country's forests are rich in biodiversity and provide valuable resources for its economy, including timber exports. However, decades of civil war and political instability have taken a toll on the forest sector, leading to illegal logging and deforestation. In recent years, efforts have been made to improve forest governance and sustainable management practices, aiming to balance economic development with environmental conservation.

In this context, the appointment of C. Mike Doyen as the Managing Director of the FDA has brought both hope and controversy to the forefront. Doyen, a former official in the Ministry of Lands, Mines, and Energy, is no stranger to the challenges facing Liberia's natural resources sector. His appointment comes at a crucial time, as the country seeks to rebuild its forestry industry and meet international standards for timber production.

Plans for Increasing Timber Exports

Central to Doyen's vision for the FDA is to increase Liberia's timber exports through improved forest management and sustainable harvesting practices. He aims to strengthen the regulatory framework for the forestry sector, ensuring that logging activities are conducted in compliance with environmental laws and international standards. Doyen also plans to promote value-added wood processing within Liberia, aiming to boost the country's export earnings and create jobs in the forestry industry.

In addition to promoting sustainable timber production, Doyen is actively seeking partnerships with international organizations and foreign investors to support Liberia's forestry sector. He believes that by aligning with global best practices and attracting responsible investment, Liberia's forest resources can be harnessed for sustainable development and environmental conservation.

Denying Alleged Links to Charles Taylor

Amid his plans to revitalize Liberia's forestry sector, Doyen has faced allegations of collaborating with former war criminal Charles Taylor. These rumors have sparked concern among civil society and international observers, who fear that Doyen's appointment may be associated with a return to the corrupt and illegal practices that plagued the forestry sector in the past.

Doyen has vehemently denied these allegations, stating that he has no connections to Charles Taylor and adamantly rejects any association with war criminals. In response to the controversy, Doyen has emphasized his commitment to transparency and accountability in his leadership of the FDA, assuring that his focus is solely on advancing sustainable forest management and promoting the lawful and ethical practices within the forestry sector.

Upholding Forest Governance and Sustainability

In light of the skepticism surrounding his appointment, Doyen has underscored the importance of upholding good forest governance and sustainability in Liberia. He has pledged to work closely with civil society organizations, international partners, and the local communities to ensure that the country's forests are managed responsibly and in the best interests of the nation.

Doyen's stance on forest governance aligns with Liberia's commitment to sustainable development and environmental conservation. The country has made strides in implementing the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, which aims to improve forest governance, combat illegal logging, and promote legal timber trade. Doyen's leadership is seen as pivotal in driving forward the implementation of the VPA and advancing Liberia's forestry sector.

Collaboration with International Partners

Recognizing the significance of international collaboration, Doyen has expressed his willingness to work with foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, and international bodies to strengthen Liberia's forestry sector. He seeks to leverage the expertise and resources of international partners to enhance technical capacity, develop sustainable forestry practices, and promote responsible timber trade.

Moreover, Doyen is keen on engaging with foreign investors to inject much-needed capital into Liberia's forest industry, with the aim of modernizing wood processing facilities and increasing the value-added timber products for export. By cultivating strategic partnerships with reputable international stakeholders, Doyen envisions a sustainable and prosperous future for Liberia's forestry sector.

Overcoming Challenges and Moving Forward

Despite the controversy surrounding his appointment, Doyen remains resolute in his determination to drive positive change in Liberia's forestry sector. He acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead, including combating illegal logging, addressing land tenure issues, and improving the livelihoods of local communities dependent on forest resources. By confronting these challenges head-on, Doyen aims to build a sustainable and inclusive forestry industry that benefits all stakeholders and safeguards Liberia's natural heritage.

In the face of concerns about his alleged ties to Charles Taylor, Doyen continues to emphasize his dedication to transparency, accountability, and ethical leadership at the FDA. He is committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that the forestry sector operates in alignment with international standards and best practices.


The appointment of C. Mike Doyen as the head of Liberia's Forestry Development Authority comes at a critical juncture for the country's forestry sector. With ambitious plans to increase timber exports, improve forest governance, and promote sustainable management practices, Doyen aims to steer Liberia towards a more prosperous and sustainable future.

As the controversy surrounding his alleged connections with Charles Taylor continues to simmer, Doyen remains steadfast in his denial of any ties to the former war criminal. He is determined to focus on advancing Liberia's forestry industry with integrity and transparency, all while engaging with international partners and promoting responsible forest management.

The unfolding narrative of Doyen's leadership at the FDA holds the promise of a brighter future for Liberia's forests and the communities that depend on them. Whether Doyen can overcome the skepticism and deliver on his ambitious vision remains to be seen, but his appointment signals a new chapter in Liberia's forestry sector, one that is filled with both opportunity and challenges.

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