LILONGWE, Malawi, June 6, 2023 – Malawi’s President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, officially launched implementation of the country’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership at a celebratory summit in the nation’s capital, Lilongwe, on June 6, 2023. The high-profile launch represents a significant milestone for Malawi in its ongoing effort to implement critical reforms to advance integrity, transparency, and accountability, as it moves toward better governance and a high-trust society. The assembly was attended by over 1000 people, including the Vice President, cabinet members, Supreme and High-Court Justices, parliamentary leadership, traditional leaders, international dignitaries, and key members of civil society, including Tim Hanstad, CEO of the Chandler Foundation.
In his official address, President Chakwera singled out the Chandler Foundation by stating, "let me…. [express] my appreciation to our international partners who have made available financial and technical assistance to make the implementation of the National Action Plan during the next two years possible. I want to especially thank the Chandler Foundation in this regard, which also supported my office with the wherewithal to host the Anti-Corruption Conference last year." Chandler Foundation CEO, Tim Hanstad, was one of the few speakers asked to address the nationally livestreamed gathering. Hanstad stressed the importance of implementation, stating that "a plan is only as good as its implementation."
The launch of the National Action Plan is the culmination of a 12-month process, and the Chandler Foundation has been supporting President Chakwera and his cabinet every step of the way. In July 2022, the Foundation supported Malawi’s National Anti-Corruption Conference where Tim Hanstad was a featured participant and a key influencer as Malawi embraced the principles of the Open Government Partnership and its pledge to co-create a multi-sectoral action plan to stamp out corruption at all levels of government, business, and civil society.
Immediately after the National Anti-Corruption Conference, Chakwera set in motion a 20-week anti-corruption campaign that targeted all parts of the country to outreach to Malawi’s 20 million citizens. The Chandler Foundation supported this nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the merits of integrity and the perils of corruption. After the campaign’s completion, the Foundation worked closely with the Office of the President and Cabinet to develop the two-year National Action Plan (2023 - 2025) in partnership with community leaders and the private sector. The plan was finalized and formally adopted by the President on December 29, 2022, and it was officially launched on June 6, 2023.
The National Action Plan (2023- 2025) plan outlines crucial policy reforms that are time-bound and detail the steps necessary for building cultures of integrity, transparency, and accountability. The specific commitments include provisions that will: overhaul the government’s procurement system to make it more transparent and effective; increase the transparency of sovereign debt levels and sources; improve transparency within the corruption-plagued extractive industry sector; boost citizens’ right to information from and about the government; and advance e-government reforms.
In his address, Chakwera also hailed the National Action Plan on Open Government as a fundamental steppingstone on the path to a more open, participatory, and accountable government. He declared that "when it comes to commitment to good governance, Malawi is a leader in the region, not a follower. In fact, my end goal is to see Malawi eventually become a Global Center of Excellence in Good Governance, and this OGP membership means we are on the right track."
The National Action Plan (2023- 2025) serves as a foundational precondition to the ultimate achievement of the country’s Blueprint, Malawi 2063: An Inclusively Wealthy and Self Reliant Nation, which was adopted in January 2021. The Blueprint sets out a long-term vision to transform Malawi – one of the poorest in the world – into a wealthy, self-reliant, and industrialized 'upper middle-income country' by 2063 - a future that can only be achieved by consistent good governance over the long term.