Africa :: Malawi
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Malawi
Location of Malawi
 
Map of Malawi
Introduction ::Malawi
Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen substantial economic improvement but because of political deadlock in the legislature, his minority party has been unable to pass significant legislation, and anti-corruption measures have stalled. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.
Geography ::Malawi
Southern Africa, east of Zambia
13 30 S, 34 00 E
total: 118,484 sq km
country comparison to the world: 99
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,404 sq km
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
total: 2,881 km
border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km
0 km (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
arable land: 20.68%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 78.14% (2005)
560 sq km (2003)
17.3 cu km (2001)
total: 1.01 cu km/yr (15%/5%/80%)
per capita: 78 cu m/yr (2000)
NA
deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature
People ::Malawi
14,268,711
country comparison to the world: 66
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 45.8% (male 3,272,790/female 3,258,893)
15-64 years: 51.5% (male 3,696,857/female 3,656,918)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 162,863/female 220,390) (2009 est.)
total: 16.8 years
male: 16.8 years
female: 16.9 years (2009 est.)
2.388% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
41.48 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
17.6 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
NA (2009 est.)
urban population: 19% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 5.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 89.05 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 14
male: 93.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 84.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 43.82 years
country comparison to the world: 216
male: 44.07 years
female: 43.57 years (2009 est.)
5.59 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
11.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
930,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 15
68,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European
Christian 79.9%, Muslim 12.8%, other 3%, none 4.3% (1998 census)
Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.7%
male: 76.1%
female: 49.8% (2003 est.)
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2004)
5.8% of GDP (2003)
country comparison to the world: 44
Government ::Malawi
conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
conventional short form: Malawi
local long form: Dziko la Malawi
local short form: Malawi
former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland
multiparty democracy
name: Lilongwe
geographic coordinates: 13 59 S, 33 47 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
28 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga (Kasupe), Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Neno, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba
6 July 1964 (from the UK)
Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
18 May 1994
based on English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004)
cabinet: 46-member Cabinet named by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 19 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA elected president; percent of vote - Bingu wa MUTHARIKA 66%, John TEMBO 30.7%, other 3.3%
unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 19 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DPP 114, MCP 26, UDF 17, independents 32, other 4
Supreme Court of Appeal; High Court (chief justice appointed by the president, puisne judges appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission); magistrate's courts
Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Dindi NYASULU]; Congress of Democrats or CODE [Ralph KASAMBARA]; Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Bingu wa MUTHARIKA]; Malawi Congress Party or MCP [John TEMBO]; Malawi Democratic Party or MDP [Kampelo KALUA]; Malawi Forum for Unity and Development or MAFUNDE [George MNESA]; Maravi People's Party [Uladi MUSSA]; National Unity Party or NUP [Harry CHIUME]; New Rainbow Coalition Party [Beatrice MWALE]; New Republican Party [Gwanda CHAKUWAMBA]; People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Aleke BANDA]; People's Transformation Movement or PETRA [Kamuzu CHIBAMBO]; Republican Party or RP [Stanley MASAULI]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Bakili MULUZI]; United Democratic Party [Kenedy KALAMBO]
Agri-Ecology Media (agriculture and environmental group); Council for NGOs in Malawi or CONGOMA (human rights, democracy, and development); Human Rights Consultative Committee or HRCC (human rights); Malawi Law Society (human rights and law reform); Malawi Movement for the Restoration of Democracy or MMRD (acts to restore and maintain democracy); Public Affairs Committee or PAC (promotes democracy, development, peace and unity)
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
chief of mission: Ambassador Hawa NDILOWE
chancery: 1029 Vermont Avenue, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288
chief of mission: Ambassador Peter W. BODDE
embassy: 16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: [265] (1) 773 166
FAX: [265] (1) 770 471
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green with a radiant, rising, red sun centered in the black band
no party has a majority in the fractured legislature
Economy ::Malawi
Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 85% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Malawi will now begin a consultative process to develop a five-year program before funding can begin. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. In 2005, President MUTHARIKA championed an anticorruption campaign. Since 2005 President MUTHARIKA'S government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF. Improved relations with the IMF lead other international donors to resume aid as well.
$11.81 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
$10.87 billion (2007 est.)
$10.07 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$4.268 billion (2008 est.)
8.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
7.9% (2007 est.)
8.2% (2006 est.)
$800 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 218
$800 (2007 est.)
$800 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 16.8%
services: 44% (2008 est.)
5.747 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)
NA%
53% (2004)
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 31.9% (2004)
39 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 67
8.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
revenues: $1.254 billion
expenditures: $1.351 billion (2008 est.)
48.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
228.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
8.7% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
7.9% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 15
15% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 9
27.72% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 141
$361.5 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 149
$250.4 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 148
$406.2 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
$NA (31 December 2007)
$587.2 million (31 December 2006)
tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats
tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
1.69 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
1.572 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
8,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
6,960 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 154
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 111
$-241 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
$-75 million (2007 est.)
$830 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
$721 million (2007 est.)
tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel
South Africa 10.8%, Egypt 9.8%, Zimbabwe 8.7%, US 7.4%, Netherlands 7%, Russia 5.8%, Germany 5.7% (2008)
$1.587 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
$1.323 billion (2007 est.)
food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
South Africa 35.7%, India 8.1%, China 7.2%, Tanzania 5.8%, US 4.5% (2008)
$185 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 145
$217.2 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$1.039 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
$894 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$11.23 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$NA
Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar - 142.41 (2008 est.), 141.12 (2007), 135.96 (2006), 108.894 (2005), 108.898 (2004)
Communications ::Malawi
236,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 122
1.781 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 127
general assessment: rudimentary
domestic: fixed-line subscribership about 2 per 100 persons; privatization of Malawi Telecommunications (MTL), a necessary step in bringing improvement to telecommunications services, completed in 2006; mobile-cellular services are expanding but cellular network coverage is limited and is based around the main urban areas; mobile cellular subscribership approaching 15 per 100 persons
international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
AM 9, FM 5 (plus 15 repeater stations), shortwave 2 (plus one shortwave station on standby) (2001)
1 (2001)
.mw
741 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 165
316,100 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 125
Transportation ::Malawi
32 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 113
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2009)
total: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 10 (2009)
total: 797 km
country comparison to the world: 102
narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge (2008)
total: 15,451 km
country comparison to the world: 122
paved: 6,956 km
unpaved: 8,495 km (2003)
700 km (on Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire River) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 76
Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba
Military ::Malawi
Malawi Armed Forces: Army (includes Air Wing and Naval Detachment) (2009)
18 years of age for voluntary military service; standard obligation is 2 years of active duty and 5 years of reserve service (2007)
males age 16-49: 3,050,444 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 1,732,621
females age 16-49: 1,562,107 (2009 est.)
male: 174,044
female: 173,828 (2009 est.)
1.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 123
Transnational Issues ::Malawi
disputes with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant