CSM Tech, an Indian IT consulting company with an active business footprint in Africa, has signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Ministry of Economy and Recovery in Gabon. The deal is for the implementation of a timber traceability solution and an electronic timber trade platform for the Ministry.
The agreement was signed by Nicole Jeanine Lydie Roboty Mbou, Minister of Economy and Recovery, Gabon and Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, Founder & CEO of CSM Tech.
The project was kicked off recently by the Minister of Waters & Forests (Gabon) Professor Lee White.
Priyadarshi Nanu Pany, Founder & CEO of CSM Tech said, “We are delighted to bag this opportunity and develop this one-stop, seamless digital solution for the Gabon government. This traceability platform will set new benchmarks in the transparent and sustainable timber trade. It will open up access to global markets for Gabon’s finished wood products. Also, it will ease timber trade for domestic and export markets while strengthening the government’s oversight over log movement and transactions. This milestone project deal will also throw open digital business opportunities in West Africa and Francophone countries”.
The project aims at the digital transformation of existing forest and business operations, ensuring sustainable forest management through digitalization and end-to-end tracking of all administrative and technical activities. The digital platform aims at transparency in transactions, rooting out illegal timber harvest and ensuring environmental sustainability by cutting Greenhouse emissions. Further, the platform is designed to perform forecasts in timber provenance for 20 years.
Initially, the Gabon government established a digital system using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to identify legally produced logs and wood products in collaboration with the Nkok Special Economic Zone (SEZ) covering hectares of land area and home to more than hundred wood processing units. PADEG (Gabonese Economic Diversification Support Project) had envisaged the need of implementing a Forest e-Governance Solution (FEG) along with a Log Traceability Solution (LTS) and Timber Marketplace Solution (TMP) to ensure the continual tracking, monitoring, availability and supply of log to SEZ wood industries while ensuring strong abiding of law and regulatory framework in supply chain management.
Illegal production and trade of timber is the key cause of environmental degradation, leading to the loss of habitats and biodiversity and increased GHG emissions. It is critical for the Gabon government and the SEZ to ensure an uninterrupted supply of raw materials and keep a vigil on the traceability of logs. Gabon is a predominantly forest nation where timber is the crucial export item after oil and manganese and accounting for 9 per cent of the export share by value.
With its ability to collate, consolidate and validate logging operations even in remote forest locations, the digital platform developed by CSM Tech caters to both state and non-state actors- Concessionaire, Government, Contract Loggers, Graders and Logistics Providers.
The introduction of the timber marketplace solution brings in many benefits like plugging revenue leakages, getting over operational inefficacies and setting in new standards for log trading through inventory grading processes. Also, it will create new service revenue opportunities for the Gabon government and SEZ through multiple monetization use cases and integrating the complete ecosystem.
The key modules of the FEG are Support and Databases, Content Management and Confidentiality, E-Administration, Business and Statistical Data, Mapping, Human Resources, Legality, Finance and Taxation and Infrastructure & Logistics.
The project has multi-pronged objectives – provide an online platform for the interaction of investors with all the relevant government agencies, offer a single interface for Investors to apply for all statutory clearances, concessions, and incentives, provide real time status of application through SMS & E-mail to investors, enabling a single window interface for government officials to review the online application and integration of all regulatory compliance & performance reporting, trade data exchange and other information transmission.