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Malawi Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Lilongwe

Other Cities: Blantyre (largest city), Zomba, Mzuzu

Local Time
: UTC +2h

Location: Southeastern Africa
Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.
Border countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia

Climate: Predominately sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)

Type: multi-party democracy.
Independence: July 6, 1964.
Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Malawian(s)
Population (2002 est.): 10.9 million.
Ethnic groups: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European.
Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.
Languages: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.
Literacy: total population 58%.


Currency: Kwacha (MWK)

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermi lite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture products:
Tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses; groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats.

Industries: Tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Exports partners:
South Africa 23.3%, USA 13.4%, Germany 11.3%, Egypt 5.7%, Portugal 4.8%, Japan 4.5%, Netherlands 4.1% (2003)

Imports partners: South Africa 53.7%, India 4.9%, Tanzania 3.9% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Malawi
Government of the Republic of Malawi

Ministry of Information

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

The National Statistical Office of Malawi

Map of Malawi



Background:  Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland
became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of
one-party rule, the country held multiparty elections in 1994 under
a provisional constitution, which took full effect the following
year. National multiparty elections were held again in 1999.

Geography Malawi

Location:  Southern Africa, east of Zambia

Geographic coordinates:  13 30 S, 34 00 E

Map references:  Africa

Area:  total: 118,480 sq km water: 24,400 sq km land: 94,080 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries:  total: 2,881 km border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km,
Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km

Coastline:  0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)

Climate:  sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season
(May to November)

Terrain:  narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills,
some mountains

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: junction of the Shire River and
international boundary with Mozambique 37 m highest point: Sapitwa
(Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m

Natural resources:  limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited
deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite

Land use:  arable land: 20% permanent crops: 1% other: 79% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  280 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  NA

Environment - current issues:  deforestation; land degradation; water
pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation
of spawning grounds endangers fish populations

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity, Climate
Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered
Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life
Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Geography - note:  landlocked; Lake
Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature

People Malawi

Population:  10,701,824 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 and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population
by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 44% (male 2,358,730; female 2,347,017) 15-64
years: 53.2% (male 2,810,478; female 2,884,601) 65 years and over: 2.8%
(male 120,761; female 180,237) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.39% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  37.13 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  23.2 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  119.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   37.15 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  5.04 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  15.96% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  800,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  70,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Malawian(s) adjective: Malawian

Ethnic groups:  Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni,
Ngonde, Asian, European

Religions:  Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous
beliefs 3%, other 2%

Languages:  English (official), Chichewa (official), other languages
important regionally

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 58% male: 72.8% female: 43.4% (1999 est.)

Government Malawi

Country name:  conventional long form: Republic of Malawi conventional
short form: Malawi former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland
Protectorate, Nyasaland

Government type:  multiparty democracy

Capital:  Lilongwe

Administrative divisions:  27 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa,
Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe,
Machinga (Kasupe), Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Ntcheu,
Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima,
Thyolo, Zomba

Independence:  6 July 1964 (from UK)

National holiday:  Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)

Constitution:  18 May 1994

Legal system:  based on English common law and customary law; judicial
review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal; has not
accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Bakili MULUZI (since 21
May 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head
of government head of government: President Bakili MULUZI (since 21
May 1994); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of
government cabinet:  by popular vote for a five-year term; election last
held 15 June 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Bakili
MULUZI reelected president; percent of vote - Bakili MULUZI (UDF) 51.4%,
Gwandaguluwe CHAKUAMBA (MCP-AFORD) 44.3%

Legislative branch:  unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members
elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 15
June 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: percent of vote by
party - UDF 48%, MCP 34%, AFORD 15%, others 3%; seats by party - UDF 96,
MCP 61, AFORD 30, others 6

Judicial branch:  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

Political parties and leaders:  Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Chakufwa
CHIHANA, president]; Malawi Congress Party or MCP [Gwanda CHAKUAMBA,
president, John TEMBO, vice president]; Malawi Democratic Party or MDP
[Kampelo KALUA, president]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Bakili MULUZI]
- governing party

Political pressure groups and leaders:  National Democratic Alliance

International organization participation:  ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO,
Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MONUC, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SADC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Paul Tony Steven KANDIERO FAX: [1] (202) 265-0976 telephone: [1] (202)
797-1007 chancery: 2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Roger A. MEECE embassy: Area 40, Plot 24, Kenyatta Road mailing address:
P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi telephone: [265] 773 166 FAX: [265]
770 471

Flag description:  three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red,
and green with a radiant, rising, red sun centered in the black band

Government - note:  the executive exerts considerable influence over
the legislature

Economy Malawi

Economy - overview:  Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's least
developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural,
with about 90% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture
accounts for 40% of GDP and 88% of export revenues. The economy depends
on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World
Bank, and individual donor nations. In late 2000, Malawi was approved
for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. The
government faces strong challenges, e.g., to fully develop a market
economy, to improve educational facilities, to face up to environmental
problems, and to deal with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS.
The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $7 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.7% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $660 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 40% industry: 19% services:
41% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  54% (FY90/91 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  28.6% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  4.5 million (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 86% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate:  NA%

Budget:  revenues: $490 million expenditures: $523 million, including
capital expenditures of $NA (FY99/00 est.)

Industries:  tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods

Industrial production growth rate:  2.5% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  825 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 3.03% hydro: 96.97%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  767.25 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes,
cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses; cattle, goats, groundnuts, Macadamia

Exports:  $415.5 million (f.o.b., 2001)

Exports - commodities:  tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts,
wood products, apparel

Exports - partners:  South Africa 18%, Germany 13%, US 13%, UK 10%,
Japan 7%, Netherlands 3% (2000)

Imports:  $463.6 million (f.o.b., 2001)

Imports - commodities:  food, petroleum products, semimanufactures,
consumer goods, transportation equipment

Imports - partners:  South Africa 40%, UK 11%, Zimbabwe 7%, Japan 5%,
Germany 2%, US 1.8%, Zambia (2000)

Debt - external:  $2.8 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $427 million (1999)

Currency:  Malawian kwacha (MWK)

Currency code:  MWK

Exchange rates:  Malawian kwachas per US dollar - 67.3111 (December 2001),
72.1973 (2001), 59.5438 (2000), 44.0881 (1999), 31.0727 (1998), 16.4442

Fiscal year:  1 July - 30 June

Communications Malawi

Telephones - main lines in use:  38,000 (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  49,000 (2000)

Telephone system:  general assessment: NA domestic: system employs
open-wire lines, microwave radio relay links, and radiotelephone
communications stations international: satellite earth stations -
2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 9, FM 5 (plus 15 repeater stations),
shortwave 2 (plus a third station held in standby status) (2001)

Radios:  2.6 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  1 (2001)

Televisions:  NA

Internet country code:  .mw

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  7 (2001)

Internet users:  15,000 (2000)

Transportation Malawi

Railways:  total: 797 km narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge (2001)

Highways:  total: 14,594 km paved: 2,773 km unpaved: 11,821 km (2001)

Waterways:  144 km note: on Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire Riverall

Ports and harbors:  Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba

Airports:  44 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 6 over 3,047 m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m:
1 914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 38 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 14 under 914 m: 23 (2001)

Military Malawi

Military branches:  Army (including Air Wing and Naval Detachment),
Police (including paramilitary Mobile Force Unit)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 2,535,207 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,301,625
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $9.5 million (FY00/01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  0.76% (FY00/01)

Transnational Issues Malawi

Disputes - international:  Malawi and Tanzania maintain a largely dormant
dispute over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and current location
of historical boundary in meandering Songwe River

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

News Malawi

The Nation

Capital FM Malawi

Business & Economy
(Business) Information about Malawi

National Bank of Malawi

Reserve Bank of Malawi



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MALAWI - The Warm Heart of Africa

Chancellor College

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Malawi History

The Cichlid Fishes of Lake Malawi

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