Malawi Threshold Program

  • Grant Total: $20,920,000
  • Signed: September 24, 2005
  • Completed: October 1, 2008

The Malawi threshold program targeted the policy areas measured by two MCC eligibility indicators, Control of Corruption and Fiscal Policy.

When Malawi was selected as eligible for the Threshold Program in 2004, it did not meet MCC’s Compact eligibility criteria in the Ruling Justly category, failing only the Control of Corruption indicator. While Malawi did meet MCC’s Compact eligibility criteria in the Economic Freedom category, it did not pass two indicators — Credit Rating and Fiscal Policy.  The Government of Malawi (GOM) proposed a threshold program focusing on reducing public corruption with emphasis on improving fiscal management.

The Malawi threshold program was comprised of four components designed to be a multi-pronged approach to fighting corruption by reducing opportunities for corruption and strengthen the GOM’s ability to manage and monitor its finances.  

Malawi Threshold Program Implementation

The Malawi threshold program agreement was signed in September 2005; the program officially concluded in September 2008. As the program administer, USAID managed day-to-day program operations and oversaw the program implementers: Casals & Associates, State University of New York, the United States Treasury Office of Technical Assistance (OTA), the United States Department of Justice International Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) and the Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT). The Threshold Program worked with over 12 separate government entities, the Malawi National Assembly, and a wide range of civil society organizations, universities, and local media.

Program Achievements

The Malawi threshold program was largely implemented as planned and the majority of outputs were met. The threshold program established a large number of institutions (or institutional arrangements) that have proved sustainable thus far. 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.

Malawi moved on to sign an MCC compact in April 2011. MCC placed the compact on operational hold in July 2011 due to concerns about governance in Malawi and formally suspended the compact following a pattern of actions by the Government of Malawi that was inconsistent with the democratic governance criteria that MCC uses to select its compact partners. MCC’s Board of Directors reinstated the compact in June 2012. MCC and the Government of Malawi are now working to prepare for the compact’s entry into force.

Corruption Prevention


Reduce corruption by establishing and strengthening systems for preventing corruption


  1. Deploy an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) in several Government of Malawi agencies to strengthen resource management and financial reporting and to improve government accountability.
  2. Build professionalism and skills in the Department of Public Procurement.
  3. Support the development, passage, and implementation of several pieces of legislation including Anti-Money Laundering, Combating Financing of Terrorism, and Declaration of Assets legislation all of which conform to international standards.
  4. Establish an effective Financial Intelligence Unit.
Enforcement and Deterrence


Reduce corruption and improve fiscal management by putting in place effective systems of enforcement and deterrence


  1. Build Malawi’s prosecutorial abilities in the Department of Public Prosecutions, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and the Malawi Police Service.
  2. Increase the effectiveness of the Malawi Police Service to address corruption-related crimes by training officers in fiscal and fraud investigation, installing a Management Information System, and developing and delivering an ethics training curriculum.
  3. Build legal skills capacity among judges, police prosecutors, media and others.
Government Oversight


Reduce corruption and improve fiscal management by creating and supporting effective and independent oversight institutions


  1. Strengthen the Government of Malawi’s audit capacities by recruiting, training, and equipping the staff of the National Audit Office.
  2. Build monitoring and evaluation (M&E) capacity for GOM-implemented projects at the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.
  3. Build capacity for improved/prudent fiscal management by strengthening capabilities in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, and the Malawi Revenue Authority.
  4. Strengthen National Assembly oversight by empowering and strengthening the capacity of committees to carry out their constitutional mandate of oversight in order to curb corruption and enhance fiscal discipline in the public sector.
  5. Train journalists and media professionals to report and analyze corruption and integrate civil society into an anti-corruption campaign.
  6. Re-establish a Media Council to improve press freedom, promote journalistic ethical and professional standards, address complaints on press conduct, and accredit journalists
Improved Credit Rating


Improve Malawi’s credit rating


  1. Fund and assist Malawi in preparing for a sovereign credit rating.