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Zambia Threshold Program

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 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 designing its threshold program, MCC conducted an indicator analysis highlighting key policy constraints raised by the indicator institutions.

Zambia’s Threshold Program had three projects designed to support the program’s objective to combat corruption in key government institutions and reduce 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 non-governmental organizations. Threshold program activities were concentrated in the capital, Lusaka, with selected activities taking place at the local or regional 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 was selected as eligible for an MCC Compact on December 11, 2008. MCC and the Government of Zambia signed a compact on May 10, 2012.

Program Budget


  • Signed:
    May 23, 2006
  • Closed:
    March 1, 2009

Program Projects


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. Strengthened the capacity of sanitary and phyto-sanitary units to provide efficient and expedited services for local and export trade; and
  2. Strengthened 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.
Projected Long Term Results, Timeframe Not Specified


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. Boosted the capabilities of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the main body tasked with combating corruption in Zambia;
  2. Implemented regulatory reforms to simplify processes and reduce opportunities for corruption in the three pilot agencies;
  3. Established internal watchdog units — an internationally-recognized best practice — in each institution; and
  4. Created 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 that were posted on relevant websites, and training for journalists.
Projected Long Term Results, Timeframe Not Specified


Remove administrative barriers to investment through a reduction in the complexity of business licensing and the creation of a one-stop shop for investors.

Planned Activities

  1. Simplified the economic regulatory framework to decrease the cost of doing business through a reduction in administrative barriers to business registration and the automation of start-up procedures;
  2. Established Patents and Companies Registration Offices (PACROs) in three provincial capitals to facilitate investment and business creation in regions outside the capital; and
  3. Built the capacity of the Project Coordinating Unit to integrate the private sector into the nation’s economic growth strategy.
Projected Long Term Results, Timeframe Not Specified