Successful implementation of Forestry Rights Administration System in Malawi - First Phase Complete

Lilongwe, Malawi

Maria Lanza Knudsen

Revenue Development Foundation (RDF) recently completed the first phase of a project with the the Forestry Department of Malawi (Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining). The Forestry Rights Administration Support Project (FRASP) project aimed to strengthen administrative management of licensing and revenues. The project was funded by the Norwegian government through the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe.

The RD Forestry Rights Administration Systems were deployed at the head office in Lilongwe, three Regional Offices and the largest Plantation Office (Viphya Plantation Office). At the head office, all Export Permits and Licenses are now processed through the system, which went live early 2015. This replaces the earlier paper-based system.

At Viphya Plantation Office, the largest revenue generating Plantation Office in Malawi, they now process and issue Forestry Rights from the system customized for their mandate and revenue base, including Conveyance- and Phytosanitory Certificates. Data exchange between the various offices has also been enabled. As part of this data exchange a SMS solution was developed and implemented. This SMS solution allows Checkpoint- and Forest Guards to query validity of Conveyance- and Phytosanitory certificates in an effective and accountable manner. The Guards simply sends a text message to the FRAS system having issued the certificate at hand, the system then answers immediately and automatically with the validity information the Forest Guard will need. The system was further expanded to three Regional offices during June 2015. 

Throughout the project a RDF Revenue Specialist has been embedded full time into the Department of Forestry, in order to train staff members, implement the software solutions, provide support and recommendations, and ensure good communication between all stakeholders.