As part of its ongoing series of seminars, UNU-EGOV Government Fellow Herilala Fanomezantsoa delivered, on 4 April 2017, a presentation on the theme “Land Administration Reform in Madagascar: the Theory, the Practice, and the Lessons Learned“.
Herilala described the land tenure and title deed situation in Madagascar in terms resembling a potential national crisis. Users, comprising citizens, businesses, even state agencies, face a pandemic of land conflicts and insecurity, which result in instability in the society and missed economic development opportunities for individuals, businesses, and the country as a whole.
The presentation developed the four strategic pillars of the land administrative reform taken by the Malagasy Government to address the issue since 2005, namely: the judicial renovation of land ownership; the decentralization of a certain category of land; the modernization of land administration office in terms of technology usage and reconstruction; and the use of a transversal tool called Local Plan of Land Occupation.
Further, Herilala discussed the scope and the limited outcomes of the reforms. He subsequently analysed the impediments to the reform in m meeting users’ expectations.
The institutional reform based on devolution and decentralization has inspired a number of countries in Africa, allowing opportunities to absorb the massive demand for land security, especially in rural areas. The e-Government initiative however faced difficulties at different stages due to organizational, financial and contextual factors, rather than technical issues.
Public sector reformers should bore in mind that e-Government initiatives focusing merely on technology enhancement and reform content – without paying sufficient attention to behavioural change and organizational culture, among others – is prone to failure. The donor-based financing model of the reform is proven ineffective since international donors pulled out their funding as the 2009 political crisis erupted. Hence, an alternative financing model is crucial to support the implementation of the reform through a sustainable funding mechanism.
The presentation concluded with an elaboration of the Malagasy land reform experience in relation to theories of change model and a potential way to redress and advance the land reform of Madagascar vis-à-vis the broader development goals. In doing so, Herilala identified a number of potential high impact activities to implement in the short run and strategic changes to pursue in the long run, with accompanying measures. As such, the country could leverage an efficient land management to boost economic growth and sustainable development. The recommendations derived from the previous experience’s lessons learned as well as Georgia’s good practices – an approach and model which enabled Georgia to climb from 110th to the top—10 position of World Bank’s Doing Business Report in registering property. The Georgian approach and model focus on streamlining all land-related affair procedures, creating enabling legal and regulatory frameworks, using ICT enabled processes and re-engineering of organisational and business process of land registry offices, under the leadership of the National Agency of Public Registry.
Herilala is currently working at the Coordination Office of Land Reform of Madagascar to streamline the land tenure system of the country and harmonize land policies with sectorial policies. In this capacity, he contributed to the finalization of the 2016-2020 action plan for implementing the new national land policy and support development agencies in land-related matter. He was also involved with a FAO’s project, using the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT), to define a methodology enabling the Government of Madagascar to implement the inventory of the state’s land assets.
Herilala serves as a Government Fellow at UNU-EGOV for the period 1 February to 31 April 2017 and is actively contributing with his knowledge and experience for the project EGOV for Administrative Burden Reduction and enrich the project with Malagasy case studies as well Standard Cost Model research.