Zambia Threshold Program

  • Grant Total: $22,735,000
  • Signed: May 23, 2006
  • Completed: February 28, 2009

The Zambia threshold program targeted policy areas measured by three MCC eligibility indicators: Control of Corruption, Government Effectiveness, and Business Start-Up.

Zambia was one of the first countries selected by MCC to participate in the Threshold Program. Selected as eligible for the Threshold Program in 2004, Zambia did not meet MCC’s Compact eligibility criteria in the Ruling Justly and Economic Freedom categories.  To assist the Government of Zambia in the design of its threshold program, MCC provided an indicator analysis that highlighted key policy constraints (inclusive of those raised by the eligibility indicator institutions).

Zambia’s threshold program had three components that were designed to support the program’s objective to combat administrative corruption and reduce administrative barriers to increased trade and investment.

Zambia Threshold Program Implementation

The Zambia threshold program agreement was signed in May 2006 and concluded in February 2009. As the program administrator, USAID managed day-to-day program operations in Zambia and oversaw Chemonics, the primary implementer. The threshold program partnered with nine government ministries, departments and agencies and two nongovernmental organizations. Threshold program activities were concentrated in the capital, Lusaka, with discrete interventions at the subnational level.

Program Achievements

The Zambia threshold program was largely implemented as planned and the majority of outputs were met.  Significant program results include the establishment of one-stop shops that automated procedures for business registration and tax payment and reduced processing times for customs operations.

Zambia is now Compact-eligible and is partnering with MCC to develop a five-year Compact. 

Border Management of Trade Project


Improve border management of trade by piloting a unified management system at two border stations to improve transparency and efficiency of border management

Planned Activities

  1. Building capacity in modern customs techniques and integrated border control and management, including implementing border upgrades in two pilot locations;
  2. Strengthening the capacity of sanitary and phyto-sanitary units to provide efficient and expedited services for local and export trade; and
  3. Strengthening standardization, certification and inspection units by: training border staff in import and export management, establishing an information management system with a network linking all satellite stations, and training staff in auditing of quality, environmental and food safety management systems.
Reducing Corruption in Government Institutions


Reduce corruption by strengthening the Anti-Corruption Commission and improving transparency and efficiency in three pilot government entities: the Ministry of Lands, Zambia Revenue Authority, and the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs

Planned Activities

  1. Building the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the main body in Zambia tasked to     combat corruption in the country;
  2. Implementing institutionally-tailored regulatory reforms to simplify processes and reduce opportunities for corruption in the three pilot agencies;
  3. Establishing internal watchdog units—an internationally-recognized best practice—in each institution; and
  4. Creating efficient public monitoring and reporting mechanisms to expose corruption, including telephone hotlines to report incidents of corruption, locked comment boxes at service-delivery points, quarterly reports on complaints received and actions undertaken posted on relevant websites, and related training for journalists.
Removing administrative barriers to investment entry and operation


Remove administrative barriers to investment by reducing the complexity of business licensing and creating a one-stop investor shop

Planned Activities

  1. Establishing the Zambian Development Agency (ZDA) as a one-stop-shop for investors and business people by: drafting an institutional framework based upon its domestic and international mandate, designing an organizational structure that ensures streamlined functionality, and assisting the ZDA as it establishes a personnel system;
  2. Rationalizing and simplifying the economic regulatory framework to decrease the cost of doing business by reducing administrative barriers to business registration and automating start-up procedures;
  3. Establishing Patents and Companies Registration Offices (PACROs) in three provincial capitals to facilitate investment and business creation in regions outside the capital; and
  4. Building the capacity of the Project Coordinating Unit which is responsible for integrating the private sector into the nation’s economic growth strategy.