Working Paper
Reform of the Malawian Public Sector

Incentives, Governance and Accountability

Since the early 1990s, Malawi has tried to undertake economic reforms, including the restructuring of the public sector, even as it embraced democratic reforms. Paucity of human and financial resources has made the process difficult and drawn out. However, towards the end of the 1990s, the reforms began to bear fruit. Notably, the efficiency of the civil service improved, while the government continued to emphasise the importance of accountability and established an agency to fight corruption. This chapter analyses the factors, which have influenced public sector reforms in Malawi, with emphasis on the nature of reforms implemented by the government and the incentive structure in the civil service. Not unlike many other African countries, top political support has been important for the successful implementation of public sector reform in Malawi. However, sustainability will only be ensured when support for the programmes is spread among broad sections of the population.