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Project page: Options for Reducing Corruption in Procurement: The Case of the Construction Sector in Zambia

May 2018 update: Options for Reducing Corruption in Procurement: The Case of the Construction Sector in Zambia

Professor Mundia Muya and team

Professor Muya and members of his team have published two articles based on research arising from their ACE project. They can be accessed via the links below:

L. Matakala, M. Muya, M. Macwan'gi, J. Tambatamba, B. Mwiya, J. Kalyongwe, N. Milapo, B. Sidono, K. Kazungu and V. Byusa, 'Gaps and Challenges in the Legal Framework Regulating Corruption in Construction Procurement in Zambia'. Link here.

M. Macwan'gi, M. Muya, L. Matakala and N. Milapo, 'Evolving Cultural Norms at Crossroads with Legal Frameworks in Reducing Corruption in the Procurement of Construction Projects in Zambia'. Link here.

They have also produced two policy briefs, which can be downloaded on this page.


January 2017 update: Options for Reducing Corruption in Procurement: The Case of the Construction Sector in Zambia

Professor Mundia Muya and team

A stakeholders’ workshop was held in July 2016 to share experiences in anti-corruption activities, objectives, methodology, and expected outputs of the study. The workshop acknowledged the prevalence of corruption in the construction sector. Participants agreed that most of Zambia’s policies, rules, regulations, and laws governing the construction sector were adequate but that there was impunity and political interference in upholding professional ethics and best practices.

To enable an in-depth investigation and understanding of complex and multiple factors associated with corruption in the procurement of construction projects in Zambia, a cross-sectional case study design was employed. To enrich its findings, the study also draws lessons from Rwanda and Tanzania. Eight construction projects were identified as case studies in the three countries.

A project website was created, and a tool kit was developed and uploaded on the website on 30.06.2016. The toolkit can be accessed at To meet ethical requirements, a study protocol was developed and submitted to ERES CONVERGE IRB for clearance which was granted in July 2016.

The following four study instruments were developed: a survey questionnaire; an in-depth interview (IDI) questionnaire; a focus group discussion (FGD) guide and a project document review checklist. A total of 42 research assistants were recruited and trained in data collection in the three countries. The training covered an overview of the study, data collection methods, review of study tools, mock interviews, and pre-testing of the instruments. Data was collected between October and December 2016 using all four study tools in Zambia, while only IDIs, FGDs and the project document review checklist were used in Rwanda and Tanzania. Analysis of quantitative and qualitative data began in December 2016 and is expected to end in January 2017.

In December 2016, an article on the project was published in the Zambia Daily Mail newspaper:

This project is one of eight British Academy-funded anti-corruption research projects, and you can see the main project page with full details of all awards and award holders here.


September 2016 update: Options for Reducing Corruption in Procurement: The Case of the Construction Sector in Zambia

The Institute of Economic and Social Research (INESOR) and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at the University of Zambia (UNZA) has been awarded a grant under the British Academy/Department for International Development (DfID) Anti-Corruption Evidence programme (ACE) to undertake a study on corruption in the construction sector in Zambia. The study aims at producing evidence to support the development of effective policies and measures to reduce corruption in the construction procurement cycle to strengthen the evidence base for best practices.

According to our work plan most of the first and second quarter activities have been achieved. A summary of activities that have been carried out is set out below.          


The Principal Investigator (PI) attended the induction meeting held on 29 February 2016 in London. The purpose of the meeting was to convene and share projected activities and broader agenda.


The planned two-day inception workshop was successfully held from 10-11 March 2016 and was attended by all co-investigators from the 3 countries. The objective of the workshop was to:

i)         Review the project approach;

ii)         Refine key methodological elements for the implementation of the project, in view of the information from the induction meeting;

iii)        Refine the work plan and performance measurements; and

iv)        Review project budget and financial reporting;

The workshop provided an opportunity to detail BA requirements and adequately plan for the major task which is the collection and assessment of evidence for best practice in addressing corruption in procurement in the Zambian, Rwandese and Tanzanian construction sectors.


The study protocol was submitted for ethical clearance, reviewed and approved on 21 July 2016.


Research tools were developed and submitted with the protocol. The research instruments are: in depth interview guide, focus group discussion guide, a questionnaire survey and a project checklist.


The team has kept contact with Professor Jennifer Widner of Princeton University PI for Corruption Prevention: Strategic Challenges, Tactical Solutions. She has availed relevant literature and insights for our study. The other projects we intend to network with closely are: ‘Curbing corruption in development aid-funded procurement’ led by Dr Olli Hellmann; and ‘The Role of Parliaments in Curbing Corruption at the Country Level’ led by Professor Frederick Stapenhurst.


So far a total of 20 research assistants have been recruited. Two are assisting with collection of case study documents and the remaining 18 will assist with primary data collection. In addition there are 6 transcribers. The research assistants will be trained in how to conduct quantitative and qualitative interviews, as well as research confidentiality and ethical conduct. The training will include pre-testing the data collection tools.


The stakeholder meeting took place from 12th to 13th July 2016 at Cresta Golfview Hotel in Lusaka and was attended by the programme leader, Professor Paul Heywood. The objectives of the workshop were:

i)                 To provide a general overview of the research project to the stakeholders;

ii)               To share the overall methodology of the research;

iii)             To profile the selected case studies of what works and what does not work in combating corruption in procurement in the construction sector; and

iv)             To receive input from stakeholders on the above matters.

The workshop was opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia representing the host organisation. From the workshop it was agreed that the policies, rules, regulations and most laws governing the construction sector were adequate but there was lack of political will to fight corruption. The feedback provided guidance to the study. It led to some of the hypotheses being reviewed. In addition, the project case studies were re-evaluated.


The toolkit has been developed and is available on the project website. Instructions on how to download and access the toolkit are online. The toolkit can be accessed on The monitored online traffic has been significant and reached 7000 hits in June 2016.


  • On 6th April 2016 the PI and three other members of the team visited the country DFID office in Lusaka to introduce the project. The team met Emeline Dicker, the Governance Advisor. Emeline explained DFID’s role in Zambia. With regards to procurement, Emeline mentioned that DFID was supporting procurement audits under the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).
  • The team is preparing a conference paper and will target conferences where other BA-DFID projects are scheduled to present.


Initial thoughts

Corruption is widespread in the construction sector in Zambia. Corruption has direct consequences on economic and governance factors and inhibits equitable service delivery and provision of infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads. This prevents socioeconomic development and negatively affects quality of life. The study addresses corruption in construction in Zambia and draws lessons from Tanzania and Rwanda. Rwanda and Tanzania were selected because they were less and more corrupt than Zambia, respectively, according to 2014 Transparency International (TI) corruption perception indices of 47 SubSaharan African (SSA) countries.

When the President addressed the nation on May 25, 2015, he lamented that “corruption is among the key challenges that Zambia must confront with urgency.” This underscores the importance of this study to Zambia. The country has in the recent past been investing 25% of its budget on infrastructure development making the study of the sector a high priority.

Zambia has an institutional system to combat corruption in public procurement such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission Zambia Police Service, Office of Auditor General, the Ombudsman and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority. The National Council for Construction is mandated to monitor and regulate the construction sector. Despite these frameworks, legal, institutional and implementation gaps still remain.

The main objective of this study is to examine the extent and nature of corruption in the procurement cycle, and demonstrate what works in preventing and reducing corruption in the construction sector in Zambia in comparison to Tanzania and Rwanda. This will involve establishing the extent, type and key drivers of corruption in construction, examining the levels of awareness and stakeholder involvement in construction procurement processes, identifying gaps in the legal and institutional frameworks regulating the construction industry and challenges in their implementation, identifying and documenting national, regional and global best practices, proposing options for preventing and reducing corruption in the construction sector in Zambia and documenting and widely disseminating the evidence based findings of what works in tackling corruption in the construction sector.

The study will be conducted in Zambia. Selection of projects will be done nationally and purposively to ensure that an adequate number of construction projects in key development sectors of health, education, energy, and transport are included in the study. Data will also be collected in Tanzania and Rwanda. The study will also involve stakeholders in the construction sector.

A case study approach will be used and will be conducted over a 2-year period by an interdisciplinary team. The study will employ both qualitative and quantitative and multiple and complementary research methods. Triangulation of research methods will allow a greater understanding of corruption practices and anti-corruption interventions in procurement in order to answer the study objectives.

The study addresses procurement reforms and aims at producing evidence to support the development of effective policies and measures to reduce corruption in the construction procurement cycle to strengthen the evidence base for best practices.

The intended audience includes policy-makers, regulators, project implementers, consultants, project managers, civil society, material suppliers and beneficiaries. The potential impact of this project is reduced corruption in the construction sector. Through effective dissemination of findings, the study will increase the knowledge and awareness of corruption in the country and facilitate increased involvement of stakeholders in anti-corruption measures.

Lessons from Zambia, Tanzania, and Rwanda, will be compared to determine what works in the three countries.

The success of this project will be demonstrated through various long-term evidence based outcomes. Lessons learnt and other relevant materials such as training manuals will be documented in easily accessible open formats and widely disseminated using multiple channels in order to reach out to various stakeholders. The lessons will be used as reference materials for development and implementation of anti-corruption policies and interventions, by governments and civil society, and teaching and research in academic institutions. Outcomes will include establishing a Stakeholders’ Forum that will identify, discuss and debate key issues with a wide audience with the view of raising public awareness and involvement in anti-corruption efforts in the country, publishing at least three papers in quality peer-reviewed open access journals and two in quality peer-reviewed open access conference proceedings, Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework, Toolkit containing electronic and digital data that will be generated by the project to provide easy access to would be users and integration of Anti-corruption training programmes into the existing Institute of Economic and Social Research and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering current training programmes targeting policy makers, civil society, state owned enterprise, private sector, professional bodies, students and community.


Title: Options for Reducing Corruption in Procurement: The Case of the Construction Sector in Zambia Value of award: £399,857

Country: Zambia Lead executing agency: The Institute of Economic and Social Research and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Zambia

Overall term: 2016 to 2018

The study is led by: Professor Mundia Muya (Dean, School of Engineering; Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Zambia).


The University of Zambia

Open University of Tanzania

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