|A customer receives prompt service at the revamped PACRO offices. (Photo: USAID/Zambia)|
Democracy and Governance is essential to Zambia’s development. USAID supports Zambia’s goal to provide a system of governance that creates conditions for markets to function, facilitates the efficient and effective delivery of basic services, ensures civil society participation in decision-making, and maximizes the welfare of its people.
Previous USAID Democracy and Governance projects, under the Millennium Challenge Corporation Threshold Program, focused on minimizing opportunities for administrative corruption. This involved reengineering the structure and operations of key government service delivery institutions and enhancing transparency. Removing opportunities for government personnel to abuse their office was central to the projects’ success. USAID/Zambia implemented these projects in conjunction with the Immigration and Customs Offices, the Patents and Companies Registration Office (PACRO), the Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Ministry of Lands.
The Threshold Program focused on removing bottlenecks and promoting transparency in the business process. Successful implementation of these activities demonstrated the benefits of transparent, effective, and accountable governance and has shown improvements in the business climate. These improvements have had important consequences in investment and trade.
New projects will continue the same focus on re-engineering business processes in government offices that provide service directly to the Zambian people. In the 2004 National Governance Baseline Survey, the Department of National Registration, Passport, and Citizenship (NRPC) was ranked in the top five by households reporting solicitation for bribes in return for services provided. USAID Democracy and Governance projects will collaborate with the NRPC on transparent and efficient service delivery.
Another focus of the Democracy and Governance program was the Presidential, Parliamentary, and Local Government elections held in September 2011. USAID provided support to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Election Project. The project enhanced the organizational effectiveness and efficiency of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, supported voter registration, enhanced female participation, conducted civic and voter education programs, worked with the media on issues surrounding election coverage, and collaborated with political parties to foster greater dialogue.
USAID support for the Election Project focused on voter registration. The project worked with the National Registration Card (NRC) office to computerize their operations and modernize the NRC process. This is an important first step in voter registration, as Zambians must have an NRC in order to register. In addition to this, the project worked with the Electoral Commission on expanding the scope of voter registration, including mobile registration, to enable greater participation in the process. The project strengthened the coordination between the Electoral Commission and the NRC office.