Meeting with Azusa Kuwota, PO Malawi CO.
The future of SDNP is at stake and after 7 years of supporting the programme the CO is eager to make it an independent entity. For this purpose, a national consultant was recruited earlier this year to assess the situation and recommendations for the future. The consultant was a national and the recommendation was to create a “government trust”. No consideration, analysis or comparison with other SDNPs was made.
SDNP Malawi essentially works as an ISP. It has an exclusive arrangement with the government (all government institutions can only connect through them creating in this manner a de facto monopoly). The local and regional private sector have complained to UNDP on the use of public funds to subsidise an ISP that unfairly competes with them in a very small market.
SDNP Malawi is also doing very little on capacity building and networking, thus behaving again like a typical ISP. According to the CO, SDNP is actually making considerable resources by selling their ISP service to various clients, specially government ministries and institutions.
The CO is looking for options and support to a) close the project and create an independent entity which can then b) have a more developmental perspective and focus more in tune with the original SDNP concept -reducing in that fashion the current ISP overemphasis.
A draft copy of the global evaluation report will be shared with the office as well as other advice required to help them move forward with this process.