The Malawi threshold program sought to improve performance on eligibility indicators under the Ruling Justly and Economic Freedom categories. The independent evaluation assesses the program’s achievement of its goals. Both MCC’s internal review of the Threshold Program and findings from this and other early Threshold Program evaluations led to the development of a body of “lessons learned” that will be applied going forward.
Results to Date
Overall, the evaluation finds the primary impact of the Threshold Program was the establishment of a large number of institutions (or institutional arrangements) that have proved sustainable thus far, including the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Internal Affairs and Computer Forensics Units of the Police Services, the Domestic Tax division at the Revenue Authority, the National Assembly Committee Department, a revived Media Council, the integrated financial management system (IFMIS) regional office connections, and university procurement specializations. The Threshold Program was also instrumental in passage of two pieces of legislation: the Anti-Money-Laundering law and the plea bargaining provisions under the recently enacted Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code. These are significant accomplishments within the relatively short two-year time frame and speak to the high level of the Government of Malawi’s internal ownership over the reforms. There is no evidence, however, that the threshold activities had any impact on the broader program goal of combating public sector corruption. Where data is available, improvements relate to criminal activity in the private sector (financial crimes or tax evasion) rather than the public sector corruption, which the program was meant to address. Activities related to financial management as a whole were more effective than interventions at ministries/departments/agencies directly related to controlling corruption. Capacity-building is inferred to have benefitted individuals, but the high level of staff attrition characterizing Malawi’s civil service has limited the impact on institutions. More intensive investment in fewer partner organizations and a tighter focus on anti-corruption, rather than general capacity-building, would have been beneficial in increasing impact.