11. December 2019

Malawi’s new National Anti-Corruption Strategy: a state-of-the-art approach?

NACS launch banner in Malawi

Congratulations to our partners in Malawi on the launch of the new Malawi National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS II).

The Basel Institute, through its International Centre for Asset Recovery, Public Governance research team and Collective Action experts, is delighted to have contributed to the strategy’s development within the framework of the UK Department for International Development’s Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption programme.

We are even more delighted to have been able to contribute our multi-disciplinary expertise to what we believe is a state-of-the-art anti-corruption strategy that will have real impact on corruption in Malawi over the next five years.

What makes Malawi’s new strategy stand out

NACS II is evidence-based. It draws on multi-stakeholder consultations and extensive research on the state and drivers of corruption in Malawi, plus a political economy analysis. The methodology is based on a review of international evidence about best practices in drafting national anti-corruption strategies.

With the support of an expert advisory group, the NACS II drafting committee was able to analyse this wealth of evidence to identify goals, priorities and key areas of activity that respond to the actual challenges and expectations of all sectors of Malawian society.

NACS II has concrete, complementary goals that Malawians across the board care about:

  • Improving the quality and accessibility of public services.
  • Promoting rule of law by strengthening the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute corrupt individuals and recover their illicit assets.
  • Promoting a culture of integrity and accountability.

These goals are closely related. Strengthening rule of law, for example, allows law enforcement agencies to better tackle corruption in service delivery. Social audits by civil society organisations can help promote integrity in public services.

NACS II is inclusive and participatory. It draws on the results of consultations with civil society groups, including those representing youth and women, and business representatives.

At a meeting of the UNCAC Working Group on Corruption Prevention focused on developing effective anti-corruption strategies, it was emphasised that this multi-stakeholder participation is critical to ensure buy-in and promote ownership of the strategy across Malawian society.

One key finding – echoing a message heard in many other countries – is that the private sector is “ready and willing to become a more active partner in fighting corruption”. This is why the NACS II promotes Collective Action as a way to achieve sustainable and strategic engagement of the private sector in the fight against corruption in Malawi.

Looking forward

In the many stakeholder meetings and surveys conducted in support of NACS II, one message was loud and clear. Malawians care greatly about corruption and are ready to mobilise – to support the anti-corruption activities, to monitor their implementation and to make sure they are locally owned.

All of us at the Basel Institute look forward to supporting this process and seeing its positive impact on Malawian society. Watch this space.