Evaluation of Public Financial Management Reform in Malawi 2001–2010

Publication date: September 1, 2012

This Country Report has been prepared by Fiscus Limited, UK, in collabora-tion with Mokoro Ltd, Oxford, as one of three country reports in the Joint Evaluation of Public Financial Management Reform, managed by the Afri-can Development Bank, Denmark and Sweden. The evaluation looked at two main questions: (i) where and why do Public Finance Management (PFM) reforms deliver results and (ii) where and how does donor support to PFM reform efforts contribute most effectively to results? Our conclusions are sum-marised in Table 1 below, which presents our answers to the 12 Evaluation Questions.
The findings show that between 2000 and 2010 Malawi has made significant strides in improving its PFM systems and that these improvements can be traced to direct PFM inputs by donors and government, as well as external domestic pressure for reform. A key driver of improved PFM functionality in this period has been the suc-cessful implementation of an IFMIS system to control commitments and pay-ments, coupled with the centralisation of the payment system and the estab-lishment of a Single Treasury Account system.
This statement must be qualified in two important ways: firstly there are areas of PFM functionality where significant inputs – particularly donor inputs – did not translate into sustained improvements in PFM func-tionality; secondly, most improvements occurred between 2004 and 2008. Between 2008 and 2011 few PFM areas showed improvement; many more areas experienced deterioration. In attempting to explain these developments, we have identified three cross-cutting trends, which we believe may be of wid-er importance in designing and managing PFM reforms and in providing external support to those reforms.