Republic of Malawi
Dziko la Malaŵi (Chichewa)
Motto: "Unity and Freedom"
and largest city
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Unitary presidential republic|
• from the United Kingdom
|6 July 1964|
|6 July 1966|
• Current constitution
|18 May 1994|
|118,484 km2 (45,747 sq mi) (98th)|
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
• 2008 census
|128.8/km2 (333.6/sq mi) (86th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2017 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2018)|| 0.510|
low · 171st
|Currency||Kwacha (D) (MWK)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (CAT)|
|ISO 3166 code||MW|
* Population 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.
Malawi (/məˈlɔːwi/, /məˈlɑːwi/ or /ˈmæləwi/; Chichewa: [maláβi] or [maláwi]), officially the Republic of Malawi, is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. Malawi is over 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi) with an estimated population of 18,091,575 (as at July 2016). Lake Malawi takes up about a third of Malawi's area. Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi's largest city; the second largest is Blantyre, the third is Mzuzu and the fourth largest is its old capital Zomba. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed "The Warm Heart of Africa" because of the friendliness of the people.
The part of Africa now known as Malawi was settled by migrating Bantu groups around the 10th century. Centuries later in 1891 the area was colonised by the British. In 1953 Malawi, then known as Nyasaland, a protectorate of the United Kingdom, became a protectorate within the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The Federation was dissolved in 1963. In 1964 the protectorate over Nyasaland was ended and Nyasaland became an independent country under Queen Elizabeth II with the new name Malawi. Two years later it became a republic. Upon gaining independence it became a totalitarian one-party state under the presidency of Hastings Banda, who remained president until 1994. Malawi has a democratic, multi-party government headed by an elected president, currently Arthur Peter Mutharika. The country has a Malawian Defence Force that includes an army, a navy and an air wing. Malawi's foreign policy is pro-Western and includes positive diplomatic relations with most countries and participation in several international organisations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the African Union (AU).
Malawi is among the world's least-developed countries. The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population. The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet development needs, although this need (and the aid offered) has decreased since 2000. The Malawian government faces challenges in building and expanding the economy, improving education, healthcare, environmental protection, and becoming financially independent amidst widespread unemployment. Since 2005, Malawi has developed several programs that focus on these issues, and the country's outlook appears to be improving, with a rise in the economy, education and healthcare seen in 2007 and 2008.
Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, which is a drain on the labour force and government expenditures. There is a diverse population of native peoples, Asians and Europeans, with several languages spoken and an array of religious beliefs. Although there was periodic regional conflict fuelled in part by ethnic divisions in the past, by 2008 it had diminished considerably and the concept of a Malawian nationality had reemerged.
The area of Africa now known as Malawi had a very small population of hunter-gatherers before waves of Bantu peoples began emigrating from the north around the 10th century. Although most of the Bantu peoples continued south, some remained permanently and founded ethnic groups based on common ancestry. By 1500 AD, the tribes had established the Kingdom of Maravi that reached from north of what is now Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River and from Lake Malawi to the Luangwa River in what is now Zambia.
Soon after 1600, with the area mostly united under one native ruler, native tribesmen began encountering, trading with and making alliances with Portuguese traders and members of the military. By 1700, however, the empire had broken up into areas controlled by many individual ethnic groups. The Arab slave trade reached its height in the mid- 1800s, when approximately 20,000 people were enslaved and considered to be carried yearly from Nkhotakota to Kilwa where they were sold.
Missionary and explorer David Livingstone reached Lake Malawi (then Lake Nyasa) in 1859 and identified the Shire Highlands south of the lake as an area suitable for European settlement. As the result of Livingstone's visit, several Anglican and Presbyterian missions were established in the area in the 1860s and 1870s, the African Lakes Company Limited was established in 1878 to set up a trade and transport concern working closely with the missions, and a small mission and trading settlement was established at Blantyre in 1876 and a British Consul took up residence there in 1883. The Portuguese government was also interested in the area so, to prevent Portuguese occupation, the British government sent Harry Johnston as British consul with instructions to make treaties with local rulers beyond Portuguese jurisdiction.
In 1889, a British protectorate was proclaimed over the Shire Highlands, which was extended in 1891 to include the whole of present-day Malawi as the British Central Africa Protectorate. In 1907, the protectorate was renamed Nyasaland, a name it retained for the remainder of its time under British rule. In a prime example of what is sometimes called the "Thin White Line" of colonial authority in Africa, the colonial government of Nyasaland was formed in 1891. The administrators were given a budget of £10,000 (1891 nominal value) per year, which was enough to employ ten European civilians, two military officers, seventy Punjab Sikhs and eighty-five Zanzibar porters. These few employees were then expected to administer and police a territory of around 94,000 square kilometres with between one and two million people.
In 1944, the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) was formed by the Africans of Nyasaland to promote local interests to the British government. In 1953, Britain linked Nyasaland with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in what was the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, often called the Central African Federation (CAF), for mainly political reasons. Even though the Federation was semi-independent, the linking provoked opposition from African nationalists, and the NAC gained popular support. An influential opponent of the CAF was Dr. Hastings Banda, a European-trained doctor working in Ghana who was persuaded to return to Nyasaland in 1958 to assist the nationalist cause. Banda was elected president of the NAC and worked to mobilise nationalist sentiment before being jailed by colonial authorities in 1959. He was released in 1960 and asked to help draft a new constitution for Nyasaland, with a clause granting Africans the majority in the colony's Legislative Council.
In 1961, Banda's Malawi Congress Party (MCP) gained a majority in the Legislative Council elections and Banda became Prime Minister in 1963. The Federation was dissolved in 1963, and on 6 July 1964, Nyasaland became independent from British rule and renamed itself Malawi. Under a new constitution, Malawi became a republic with Banda as its first president. The new document also formally made Malawi a one-party state with the MCP as the only legal party. In 1971, Banda was declared president-for-life. For almost 30 years, Banda presided over a rigidly totalitarian regime, which ensured that Malawi did not suffer armed conflict. Opposition parties, including the Malawi Freedom Movement of Orton Chirwa and the Socialist League of Malawi, were founded in exile.
Malawi's economy while Banda was president was often cited as an example of how a poor, landlocked, heavily populated, mineral-poor country could achieve progress in both agriculture and industrial development. While in office, and using his control of the country, Banda constructed a business empire that eventually produced one-third of the country's GDP and employed 10% of the wage-earning workforce. All money earned by Banda was ploughed back into developing Malawi and was symbolised by the building of a top boarding school called Kamuzu Academy (Eton of Africa). In Banda's own words "I do not want my boys and girls to do what I had to do — to leave their homes and their families and go away from Malawi to get an education", was the reason for gifting this school to Malawi.
Under pressure for increased political freedom, Banda agreed to a referendum in 1993, where the populace voted for a multi-party democracy. In late 1993 a presidential council was formed, the life presidency was abolished and a new constitution was put into place, effectively ending the MCP's rule. In 1994 the first multi-party elections were held in Malawi, and Banda was defeated by Bakili Muluzi (a former Secretary General of the MCP and former Banda Cabinet Minister). Re-elected in 1999, Muluzi remained president until 2004, when Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika was elected. Although the political environment was described as "challenging", it was stated in 2009 that a multi-party system still existed in Malawi. Multiparty parliamentary and presidential elections were held for the fourth time in Malawi in May 2009, and President Mutharika was successfully re-elected, despite charges of election fraud from his rival.
President Mutharika was seen by some as increasingly autocratic and dismissive of human rights, and in July 2011 protests over high costs of living, devolving foreign relations, poor governance and a lack of foreign exchange reserves erupted. The protests left 18 people dead and at least 44 others suffering from gunshot wounds. In April 2012, Mutharika died of a heart attack; the presidential title was taken over by former Vice-President Joyce Banda.
Malawi is a democratic, multi-party government, currently under the leadership of Arthur Peter Mutharika, who defeated former president Joyce Banda in the 2014 elections, despite alleged poll rigging. The current constitution was put into place on 18 May 1995. The branches of the government consist of executive, legislative and judicial. The executive includes a president who is both chief of state and head of government, first and second vice presidents and a cabinet. The president and Vice President are elected together every five years. A second vice president may be appointed by the president if so chosen, although they must be from a different party. The members of the cabinet are appointed by the president and can be from either inside or outside of the legislature.
The legislative branch consists of a unicameral National Assembly of 193 members who are elected every five years, and although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate of 80 seats, one does not exist in practice. If created, the Senate would provide representation for traditional leaders and a variety of geographic districts, as well as special interest groups including the disabled, youth and women. There are currently nine political parties, with the Democratic Progressive Party acting as the ruling party, it is in an unofficial coalition with United Democratic Front. the Malawi Congress Party currently led by Reverend Lazarus Chakwera is the main opposition party. Suffrage is universal at 18 years of age, and the central government budget for 2009/2010 is $1.7 billion.
The independent judicial branch is based upon the English model and consists of a Supreme Court of Appeal, a High Court divided into three sections (general, constitutional and commercial), an Industrial Relations Court and Magistrates Courts, the last of which is divided into five grades and includes Child Justice Courts. The judicial system has been changed several times since Malawi gained independence in 1964. Conventional courts and traditional courts have been used in varying combinations, with varying degrees of success and corruption.
Malawi is composed of three regions (the Northern, Central and Southern regions), which are divided into 28 districts, and further into approximately 250 traditional authorities and 110 administrative wards. Local government is administered by central government-appointed regional administrators and district commissioners. For the first time in the multi-party era, local elections took place on 21 November 2000, with the UDF party winning 70% of the available seats. There was scheduled to be a second round of constitutionally mandated local elections in May 2005, but these were cancelled by the government.
In February 2005, President Mutharika split with the United Democratic Front and began his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party, which had attracted reform-minded officials from other parties and won by-elections across the country in 2006. In 2008, President Mutharika had implemented reforms to address the country's major corruption problem, with at least five senior UDF party members facing criminal charges. In 2012, Malawi was ranked 7th of all countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, an index that measures several variables to provide a comprehensive view of the governance of African countries. Although the country's governance score was higher than the continental average, it was lower than the regional average for southern Africa. Its highest scores were for safety and rule of law, and its lowest scores were for sustainable economic opportunity, with a ranking of 47th on the continent for educational opportunities. Malawi's governance score had improved between 2000 and 2011. Malawi held its most recent elections in May 2014, with challenger Arthur Peter Mutharika defeating incumbent President Joyce Banda.
Malawi is divided into 28 districts within three regions:
Former President Hastings Banda established a pro-Western foreign policy that continued into early 2011. It included good diplomatic relationships with many Western countries. The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy strengthened Malawian ties with the United States. Significant numbers of students from Malawi travel to the US for schooling, and the US has active branches of the Peace Corps, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Agency for International Development in Malawi. Malawi maintained close relations with South Africa throughout the Apartheid era, which strained Malawi's relationships with other African countries. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, diplomatic relationships were made and maintained into 2011 between Malawi and all other African countries. In 2010, however, Malawi's relationship with Mozambique became strained, partially due to disputes over the use of the Zambezi River and an inter-country electrical grid. In 2007, Malawi established diplomatic ties with China, and Chinese investment in the country has continued to increase since then, despite concerns regarding treatment of workers by Chinese companies and competition of Chinese business with local companies. In 2011, relations between Malawi and the United Kingdom were damaged when a document was released in which the British ambassador to Malawi criticised President Mutharika. Mutharika expelled the ambassador from Malawi, and in July 2011, the UK announced that it was suspending all budgetary aid because of Mutharika's lack of response to criticisms of his government and economic mismanagement. On 26 July 2011, the United States followed suit, freezing a US$350 million grant, citing concerns regarding the government's suppression and intimidation of demonstrators and civic groups, as well as restriction of the press and police violence.
Malawi has been seen as a haven for refugees from other African countries, including Mozambique and Rwanda, since 1985. These influxes of refugees have placed a strain on the Malawian economy but have also drawn significant inflows of aid from other countries. Donors to Malawi include the United States, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, the UK and Flanders (Belgium), as well as international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the African Development Bank and UN organisations.
Malawi is a member of several international organisations including the Commonwealth, the UN and some of its child agencies, the IMF, the World Bank, the African Union and the World Health Organization. Malawi tends to view economic and political stability in southern Africa as a necessity, and advocates peaceful solutions through negotiation. The country was the first in southern Africa to receive peacekeeping training under the African Crisis Response Initiative.
As of 2017, international observers noted issues in several human rights areas. Excessive force was seen to be used by police forces, security forces were able to act with impunity, mob violence was occasionally seen, and prison conditions continued to be harsh and sometimes life-threatening. However, the government was seen to make some effort to prosecute security forces who used excessive force. Other legal issues included limits on free speech and freedom of the press, lengthy pretrial detentions, and arbitrary arrests and detentions. Societal issues found included violence against women, human trafficking, and child labour. Corruption within the government is seen as a major issue, despite the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau's (ACB) attempts to reduce it. The ACB appears to be successful at finding and prosecuting low level corruption, but higher level officials appear to be able to act with impunity. Corruption within security forces is also an issue. Malawi had one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. In 2015 Malawi raised the legal age for marriage from 15 to 18. Other issues that have been raised are lack of adequate legal protection of women from sexual abuse and harassment, very high maternal mortality rate, and abuse related to accusations of witchcraft.
As of 2010, homosexuality has been illegal in Malawi. In one 2010 case, a couple perceived as homosexual faced extensive jail time when convicted. The convicted pair, sentenced to the maximum of 14 years of hard labour each, were pardoned two weeks later following the intervention of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. In May 2012, then-President Joyce Banda pledged to repeal laws criminalising homosexuality.
Malawi is a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast and Mozambique to the south, southwest and southeast. It lies between latitudes 9° and 18°S, and longitudes 32° and 36°E.
The Great Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south, and to the east of the valley lies Lake Malawi (also called Lake Nyasa), making up over three-quarters of Malawi's eastern boundary. Lake Malawi is sometimes called the Calendar Lake as it is about 587 kilometres (365 mi) long and 84 kilometres (52 mi) wide. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometres (250 mi) farther south in Mozambique. The surface of Lake Malawi is located at 457 metres (1,500 ft) above sea level, with a maximum depth of 701 metres (2,300 ft), which means the lake bottom is over 213 metres (700 ft) below sea level at some points.
In the mountainous sections of Malawi surrounding the Rift Valley, plateaus rise generally 914 to 1,219 metres (3,000 to 4,000 ft) above sea level, although some rise as high as 2,438 metres (8,000 ft) in the north. To the south of Lake Malawi lie the Shire Highlands, gently rolling land at approximately 914 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level. In this area, the Zomba and Mulanje mountain peaks rise to respective heights of 2,134 and 3,048 metres (7,000 and 10,000 ft).
Malawi's capital is Lilongwe, and its commercial centre is Blantyre with a population of over 500,000 people. Malawi has two sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Lake Malawi National Park was first listed in 1984 and the Chongoni Rock Art Area was listed in 2006.
Malawi's climate is hot in the low-lying areas in the south of the country and temperate in the northern highlands. The altitude moderates what would otherwise be an equatorial climate. Between November and April the temperature is warm with equatorial rains and thunderstorms, with the storms reaching their peak severity in late March. After March, the rainfall rapidly diminishes and from May to September wet mists float from the highlands into the plateaus, with almost no rainfall during these months.
Animal life indigenous to Malawi includes mammals such as elephants, hippos, big cats, monkeys, and bats; a great variety of birds including birds of prey, parrots and falcons, waterfowl and large waders, owls and songbirds. Lake Malawi has been described as having one of the richest lake fish faunas in the world, being the home for some 200 mammal, 650 bird, 30+ mollusc, and 5,500+ plant species.
The ecoregions include tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands of the miombo woodland, dominated by miombo trees; and the Zambezian and mopane woodlands, characterized by the mopane tree; and also flooded grassland providing grassland and swamp vegetation.
There are five national parks, four wildlife and game reserves and two other protected areas in Malawi.
Malawi is among the world's least developed countries. Around 85% of the population live in rural areas. The economy is based on agriculture, and more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues come from this. In the past, the economy has been dependent on substantial economic aid from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other countries. Malawi was ranked the 119th safest investment destination in the world in the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings.
In December 2000, the IMF stopped aid disbursements due to corruption concerns, and many individual donors followed suit, resulting in an almost 80% drop in Malawi's development budget. However, in 2005, Malawi was the recipient of over US$575 million in aid. The Malawian government faces challenges in developing a market economy, improving environmental protection, dealing with the rapidly growing HIV/AIDS problem, improving the education system, and satisfying its foreign donors that it is working to become financially independent. Improved financial discipline had been seen since 2005 under the leadership of President Mutharika and Financial Minister Gondwe. This discipline has since evaporated as shown by the purchase in 2009 of a private presidential jet followed almost immediately by a nationwide fuel shortage which was officially blamed on logistical problems, but was more likely due to the hard currency shortage caused by the jet purchase. The overall cost to the economy (and healthcare system) is unknown.
In addition, some setbacks have been experienced, and Malawi has lost some of its ability to pay for imports due to a general shortage of foreign exchange, as investment fell 23% in 2009. There are many investment barriers in Malawi, which the government has failed to address, including high service costs and poor infrastructure for power, water, and telecommunications. As of 2009, it was estimated that Malawi had a GDP (purchasing power parity) of $12.81 billion, with a per capita GDP of $900, and inflation estimated at around 8.5% in 2009.
Agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP, industry for 19% and services for the remaining 46%. Malawi has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, although economic growth was estimated at 9.7% in 2008 and strong growth is predicted by the International Monetary Fund for 2009. The poverty rate in Malawi is decreasing through the work of the government and supporting organizations, with people living under the poverty line decreasing from 54% in 1990 to 40% in 2006, and the percentage of "ultra-poor" decreasing from 24% in 1990 to 15% in 2007.
Many analysts believe that economic progress for Malawi depends on its ability to control population growth.
In January 2015 southern Malawi was devastated by the worst floods in living memory, stranding at least 20,000 people. These floods affected more than a million people across the country, including 336,000 who were displaced, according to UNICEF. Over 100 people were killed and an estimated 64,000 hectares of cropland were washed away.
The economy of Malawi is predominantly agricultural. Over 80% of the population is engaged in subsistence farming, even though agriculture only contributed to 27% of GDP in 2013. The services sector accounts for more than half of GDP (54%), compared to 11% for manufacturing and 8% for other industries, including natural uranium mining. Malawi invests more in agriculture (as a share of GDP) than any other African country: 28% of GDP.
The main agricultural products of Malawi include tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats. The main industries are tobacco, tea and sugar processing, sawmill products, cement and consumer goods. The industrial production growth rate is estimated at 10% (2009). The country makes no significant use of natural gas. As of 2008, Malawi does not import or export any electricity, but does import all its petroleum, with no production in country. Beginning in 2006, the country began mixing unleaded petrol with 10% ethanol, produced in-country at two plants, to reduce dependence on imported fuel. In 2008, Malawi began testing cars that ran solely on ethanol, and initial results are promising, and the country is continuing to increase its use of ethanol.
As of 2009, Malawi exports an estimated US$945 million in goods per year. The country's strong reliance on tobacco places a heavy burden on the economy as world prices decline and the international community increases pressure to limit tobacco production. Malawi's dependence on tobacco is growing, with the product jumping from 53% to 70% of export revenues between 2007 and 2008. The country also relies heavily on tea, sugar and coffee, with these three plus tobacco making up more than 90% of Malawi's export revenue. Because of a rise in costs and a decline in sales prices, Malawi is encouraging farmers away from tobacco towards more profitable crops, including spices such as paprika. The move away from tobacco is further fueled by likely World Health Organization moves against the particular type of tobacco that Malawi produces, burley leaf. It is seen to be more harmful to human health than other tobacco products. India hemp is another possible alternative, but arguments have been made that it will bring more crime to the country through its resemblance to varieties of cannabis used as a recreational drug and the difficulty in distinguishing between the two types. This concern is especially important because the cultivation of Malawian cannabis, known as Malawi Gold, as a drug has increased significantly. Malawi is known for growing "the best and finest" cannabis in the world for recreational drug use, according to a recent World Bank report, and cultivation and sales of the crop may contribute to corruption within the police force.
Other exported goods are cotton, peanuts, wood products and apparel. The main destination locations for the country's exports are South Africa, Germany, Egypt, Zimbabwe, the United States, Russia and the Netherlands. Malawi currently imports an estimated US$1.625 billion in goods per year, with the main commodities being food, petroleum products, consumer goods and transportation equipment. The main countries that Malawi imports from are South Africa, India, Zambia, Tanzania, the US and China.
In 2006, in response to disastrously low agricultural harvests, Malawi began a programme of fertiliser subsidies, the Fertiliser Input Subsidy Program (FISP) that were designed to re-energise the land and boost crop production. It has been reported that this program, championed by the country's president, is radically improving Malawi's agriculture, and causing Malawi to become a net exporter of food to nearby countries. The FISP fertiliser subsidy programs ended with President Bingu wa Mutharika's death; the country quickly faced food shortages again, and farmers developed reluctance to purchase fertilisers and other agricultural inputs on the open markets that remained.
In 2016, Malawi was hit by a drought, and in January 2017, the country reported an outbreak of armyworms around Zomba. The moth is capable of wiping out entire fields of corn, the staple grain of impoverished residents. On 14 January 2017, the agriculture minister George Chaponda reported that 2,000 hectares of crop had been destroyed, having spread to nine of twenty-eight districts.
As of 2012, Malawi has 31 airports, 7 with paved runways (2 international airports) and 24 with unpaved runways. As of 2008, the country has 797 kilometres (495 mi) of railways, all narrow-gauge, and, as of 2003, 24,866 kilometres (15,451 mi) of roadways in various conditions, 6,956 kilometres (4,322 mi) paved and 8,495 kilometres (5,279 mi) unpaved. Malawi also has 700 kilometres (430 mi) of waterways on Lake Malawi and along the Shire River.
As of 2011, there were 3.952 million cell phones and 173,500 landline telephones in Malawi. There were 716,400 Internet users in 2009, and 1,099 Internet hosts as of 2012. As of 2007 there was one government-run radio station and approximately a dozen more owned by private enterprise.
Radio, television and postal services in Malawi are regulated by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA). Malawi television is improving. The country boasts 20 television stations by 2016 broadcasting on the country's digital network MDBNL e.g. This includes Times Group, Timveni, Adventist, and Beta, Zodiak and CFC. In the past, Malawi's telecommunications system has been named as some of the poorest in Africa, but conditions are improving, with 130,000 land line telephones being connected between 2000 and 2007. Telephones are much more accessible in urban areas, with less than a quarter of land lines being in rural areas.
Malawi devoted 1.06% of GDP to research and development in 2010, according to a survey by the Department of Science and Technology, one of the highest ratios in Africa. This corresponds to $7.8 per researcher (in current purchasing parity dollars).
In 2014, Malawian scientists had the third-largest output in Southern Africa, in terms of articles catalogued in international journals. They published 322 articles in Thomson Reuters' Web of Science (Science Citation Index expanded) that year, almost triple the number in 2005 (116). Only South Africa (9,309) and the United Republic of Tanzania (770) published more in Southern Africa. Malawian scientists publish more in mainstream journals – relative to GDP – than any other country of a similar population size. This is impressive, even if the country's publication density remains modest, with just 19 publications per million inhabitants catalogued in international journals in 2014. The average for sub-Saharan Africa is 20 publications per million inhabitants.
Malawi's first science and technology policy dates from 1991 and was revised in 2002. The National Science and Technology Policy of 2002 envisaged the establishment of a National Commission for Science and Technology to advise the government and other stakeholders on science and technology-led development. Although the Science and Technology Act of 2003 made provision for the creation of this commission, it only became operational in 2011, with a secretariat resulting from the merger of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Council. The Science and Technology Act of 2003 also established a Science and Technology Fund to finance research and studies through government grants and loans but, as of 2014, this was not yet operational. The Secretariat of the National Commission for Science and Technology has reviewed the Strategic Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (2011–2015) but, as of early 2015, the revised policy had not yet met with Cabinet approval.
Malawi is conscious of the need to attract more foreign investment to foster technology transfer, develop human capital and empower the private sector to drive economic growth. In 2012, most foreign investment flowed to infrastructure (62%) and the energy sector (33%). The government has introduced a series of fiscal incentives, including tax breaks, to attract more foreign investors. In 2013, the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre put together an investment portfolio spanning 20 companies in the country's six major economic growth sectors, namely:
In 2013, the government adopted a National Export Strategy to diversify the country's exports. Production facilities are to be established for a wide range of products within the three selected clusters: oil seed products, sugar cane products and manufacturing. The government estimates that these three clusters have the potential to represent more than 50% of Malawi's exports by 2027. In order to help companies adopt innovative practices and technologies, the strategy makes provision for greater access to the outcome of international research and better information about available technologies; it also helps companies to obtain grants to invest in such technologies from sources such as the country's Export Development Fund and the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund.
The Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund is a competitive facility, through which businesses in Malawi's agricultural and manufacturing sectors can apply for grant funding for innovative projects with potential for making a strong social impact and helping the country to diversify its narrow range of exports. The first round of competitive bidding opened in April 2014.The fund is aligned on the three clusters selected within the country's National Export Strategy: oil seed products, sugar cane products and manufacturing. It provides a matching grant of up to 50% to innovative business projects to help absorb some of the commercial risk in triggering innovation. This support should speed up the implementation of new business models and/or the adoption of technologies. The fund is endowed with US$8 million from the United Nations Development Programme and the UK Department for International Development.
Malawi has a population of over 18 million, with a growth rate of 3.32%, according to 2016 estimates. The population is forecast to grow to over 45 million people by 2050, nearly tripling the estimated 16 million in 2010.18,091,575 is Malawi's estimated 2016 population based on most recent estimates.
Malawi's population is made up of the Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, and Ngonde native ethnic groups, as well as populations of Asians and Europeans. The official language is English. Major languages include Chichewa, a language spoken by over 57% of the population, Chinyanja (12.8%), Chiyao (10.1%), and Chitumbuka (9.5%). Other native languages are Malawian Lomwe, spoken by around 250,000 in the southeast of the country; Kokola, spoken by around 200,000 people also in the southeast; Lambya, spoken by around 45,000 in the northwestern tip; Ndali, spoken by around 70,000; Nyakyusa-Ngonde, spoken by around 300,000 in northern Malawi; Malawian Sena, spoken by around 270,000 in southern Malawi; and Tonga, spoken by around 170,000 in the north.
Malawi is a majority Christian country, with a significant Muslim minority. Government surveys indicate that 87% of the country is Christian, with a minority 11.6% Islamic population. The largest Christian groups in Malawi are the Roman Catholic Church, of which 19% of Malawians are adherents, and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) to which 18% belong. The CCAP is the largest Protestant denomination in Malawi with 1.3 million members. There are smaller Presbyterian denominations like the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Malawi and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Malawi. There are also smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses (over 93,000), evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Lutherans. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had just over 2,000 members in the country at the end of 2015.
Other religious groups within the country include Rastafarians, Hindus, Baha'is (0.2%) and around 300 Jews. Atheists make up around 4% of the population, although this number may include people who practice traditional African religions that do not have any Gods.
Malawi has central hospitals, regional and private facilities. The public sector offers free health services and medicines, while non-government organisations offers services and medicines for fees. Private doctors offer fee-based services and medicines. Health insurance schemes have been established since 2000. The country has a pharmaceutical manufacturing industry consisting of four privately owned pharmaceutical companies. Malawi's healthcare goal is for "promoting health, preventing, reducing and curing disease, and reducing the occurrence of premature death in the population".
Infant mortality rates are high, and life expectancy at birth is 50.03 years. Abortion is illegal in Malawi, except to save the mother's life. The Penal Code punishes women who seek illegal or clinical abortion with 7 years in prison, and 14 years for those perform the abortion. There is a high adult prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 980,000 adults (or 9.1% of the population) living with the disease in 2015. There are approximately 27,000 deaths each year from HIV/AIDS, and over half a million children orphaned because of the disease (2015). Approximately 250 new people are infected each day, and at least 70% of Malawi's hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDS patients. The high rate of infection has resulted in an estimated 5.8% of the farm labor force dying of the disease. The government spends over $120,000 each year on funerals for civil servants who die of the disease. In 2006, international superstar Madonna started Raising Malawi, a foundation that helps AIDS orphans in Malawi, and also financed a documentary about the hardships experienced by Malawian orphans, called I Am Because We Are. Raising Malawi also works with the Millennium Villages Project to improve education, health care, infrastructure and agriculture in Malawi.
There is a very high degree of risk for major infectious diseases, including bacterial and protozoal diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, malaria, plague, schistosomiasis, and rabies. Malawi has been making progress on decreasing child mortality and reducing the incidences of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; however, the country has been "performing dismally" on reducing maternal mortality and promoting gender equality. Female genital mutilation (FGM), while not widespread, is practiced in some local communities.
On 23 November 2016, a court in Malawi sentenced an HIV-positive man to two years in prison with forced labor after having sex with 100 women without disclosing his status. Women rights activists asked the government to review the sentence calling it too "lenient."
In 1994, free primary education for all Malawian children was established by the government, and primary education has been compulsory since the passage of the Revised Education Act in 2012. As a result, attendance rates for all children have improved, with enrollment rates for primary schools up from 58% in 1992 to 75% in 2007. Also, the percentage of students who begin standard one and complete standard five has increased from 64% in 1992 to 86% in 2006. Youth literacy has also increased, moving from 68% in 2000 to 82% in 2007. This increase is primarily attributed to improved learning materials in schools, better infrastructure and feeding programs that have been implemented throughout the school system.
However, attendance in secondary school falls to approximately 25%, with attendance rates being slightly higher for males. Dropout rates are higher for girls than boys, attributed to security problems during long walks to school, as girls face a higher prevalence of gender-based violence.
Education in Malawi comprises eight years of primary education, four years of secondary school and four years of university. There are four public universities in Malawi: Mzuzu University (MZUNI), Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), the University of Malawi (UNIMA) and Malawi University of Science and Technology. There are also private universities, such as Livingstonia, Malawi Lakeview, Catholic University of Malawi, African Bible College, UNICAF University, and MIM. The entry requirement is six credits on the Malawi School Certificate of Education, which is equivalent to O levels.
Malawi maintains a small standing military of approximately 25,000 men, the Malawian Defence Force. It consists of army, navy and air force elements. The Malawi army originated from British colonial units formed before independence, and is now made up of two rifle regiments and one parachute regiment. The Malawi Air Force was established with German help in 1976, and operates a small number of transport aircraft and multi-purpose helicopters. The Malawian Navy has 3 vessels operating on Lake Malawi, based in Monkey Bay.
The name "Malawi" comes from the Maravi, a Bantu people who emigrated from the southern Congo around 1400 AD. Upon reaching northern Lake Malawi, the group divided, with one group moving south down the west bank of the lake to become the group known as the Chewa, while the other group, the ancestors of today's Nyanja, moved along the east side of the lake to the southern section of Malawi. Ethnic conflict and continuing migration prevented the formation of a society that was uniquely and cohesively Malawian until the dawn of the 20th century. Over the past century, ethnic distinctions have diminished to the point where there is no significant inter-ethnic friction, although regional divisions still occur. The concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to form around a predominantly rural people who are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent. The "Warm Heart of Africa" nickname is not due to the hot weather of the country, but due to the kind, loving nature of the Malawian people.
From 1964–2010, and again since 2012, the Flag of Malawi is made up of three equal horizontal stripes of black, red and green with a red rising sun superimposed in the center of the black stripe. The black stripe represented the African people, the red represented the blood of martyrs for African freedom, green represented Malawi's ever-green nature and the rising sun represented the dawn of freedom and hope for Africa. In 2010, the flag was changed, removing the red rising sun and adding a full white sun in the center as a symbol of Malawi's economic progress. The change was reverted in 2012.
Its dances are a strong part of Malawi's culture, and the National Dance Troupe (formerly the Kwacha Cultural Troupe) was formed in November 1987 by the government. Traditional music and dances can be seen at initiation rites, rituals, marriage ceremonies and celebrations.
The indigenous ethnic groups of Malawi have a rich tradition of basketry and mask carving, and some of these goods are used in traditional ceremonies still performed by native peoples. Wood carving and oil painting are also popular in more urban centres, with many of the items produced being sold to tourists. There are several internationally recognised literary figures from Malawi, including poet Jack Mapanje, history and fiction writer Paul Zeleza and authors Legson Kayira, Felix Mnthali, Frank Chipasula and David Rubadiri.
Football is the most common sport in Malawi, introduced there during British colonial rule. Its national team has failed to qualify to World Cup so far, but have made two appearances in the Africa Cup of Nations. Basketball is also growing in popularity, but its national team is yet to participate in any international competition.
Malawian cuisine is diverse, with tea and fish being popular features of the country's cuisine. Sugar, coffee, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats are also important components of the cuisine and economy. Lake Malawi is a source of fish including chambo (similar to bream) usipa (similar to sardine), and mpasa (similar to salmon and kampango). Nsima is a food staple made from ground corn and typically served with side dishes of meat and vegetables. It is commonly eaten for lunch and dinner.
Blantyre (UK: ) is Malawi's centre of finance and commerce, and its second largest city, with an estimated 994,500 inhabitants as of 2018. It is sometimes referred to as the commercial and industrial capital of Malawi as opposed to the political capital, Lilongwe. It is the capital of the country's Southern Region as well as the Blantyre District.
Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the country's state broadcaster and the provider of one of Malawi's television channels, has its headquarters in Blantyre. The Supreme Court is located here. City house, College of Medicine, Malawi Polytechnic and Kamuzu College of Nursing, constituent colleges of the University of Malawi. The Malawi College of Accountancy is also headquartered there. Its rather unconventional location has meant that Blantyre is surrounded by Mount Soche, Ndirande mountain, Chiradzulu mountain and Michiru Mountain which consolidates the Michiru Mountain Conservation Area.
Blantyre supports an expatriate population of about 25,000, mainly from Europe and South Africa. According to the Mercer 2017 Cost of Living Rankings, Blantyre is the city with the fifth-lowest cost of living for expatriates in the world.Cichlid
Cichlids are fish from the family Cichlidae in the order Cichliformes. Cichlids were traditionally classed in a suborder, Labroidei, along with the wrasses (Labridae), in the order Perciformes but molecular studies have contradicted this grouping. The closest living relatives of cichlids are probably the convict blennies and both families are classified in the 5th edition of Fishes of the World as the two families in the Cichliformes, part of the subseries Ovalentaria. This family is both large and diverse. At least 1,650 species have been scientifically described, making it one of the largest vertebrate families. New species are discovered annually, and many species remain undescribed. The actual number of species is therefore unknown, with estimates varying between 2,000 and 3,000.Many cichlids, particularly tilapia, are important food fishes, while others, such as the Cichla species, are valued game fish. The family also includes many popular freshwater aquarium fish kept by hobbyists, including the angelfish, oscars, and discus. Cichlids have the largest number of endangered species among vertebrate families, most in the haplochromine group. Cichlids are particularly well known for having evolved rapidly into a large number of closely related but morphologically diverse species within large lakes, particularly Tanganyika, Victoria, Malawi, and Edward. Their diversity in the African Great Lakes is important for the study of speciation in evolution. Many cichlids introduced into waters outside of their natural range have become nuisances.All cichlids have some form of parental care for their eggs and fry. That parental care may come in the form of guarding the eggs and fry or it may come in the form of mouthbrooding.Economy of Malawi
The economy of Malawi is predominantly agricultural, with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. The landlocked country in south central Africa ranks among the world's least developed countries. In 2017, agriculture accounted for about one-third of GDP and about 80% of export revenue. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. The government faces strong challenges: to spur exports, to improve educational and health facilities, to face up to environmental problems of deforestation and erosion, and to deal with the problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa.Hastings Banda
Hastings Kamuzu Banda (15 February 1898 – 25 November 1997) was the prime minister and later president of Malawi from 1964 to 1994 (for the first year of his rule as it achieved independence in 1964, Malawi was the British protectorate of Nyasaland). In 1966, the country became a republic and he became president.
After receiving much of his education in ethnography, linguistics, history, and medicine overseas, Banda returned to his home country (then British Nyasaland) to speak against colonialism and advocate independence. He was formally appointed prime minister of Nyasaland and led the country to independence. Two years later he proclaimed Malawi a republic with himself as president. He consolidated power and later declared Malawi a one-party state under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1970, the MCP made him the party's President for Life. In 1971, he became President for Life of Malawi itself.
As a leader of the pro-Western bloc in Africa he received support from the West during the Cold War. He generally supported women's rights, improved the country's infrastructure and maintained a good educational system relative to other African countries but also presided over one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. His totalitarian government regularly tortured and murdered political opponents. Human rights groups estimate that at least 6,000 people were killed, tortured and jailed without trial. As many as 18,000 people were killed during his rule according to one estimate. He was scorned for maintaining full diplomatic relations with apartheid-era South Africa.
By 1993 he was facing international pressure and widespread protest. A referendum ended the one-party system and a special assembly ended his life-term presidency, stripping him of most of his powers. Banda ran for president in the democratic elections which followed and was defeated. He died in South Africa on 25 November 1997.History of Malawi
The History of Malawi covers the area of present-day Malawi. The region was once part of the Maravi Empire. In colonial times, the territory was ruled by the British, under whose control it was known first as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The country achieved full independence, as Malawi, in 1964. After independence, Malawi was ruled as a one-party state under Hastings Banda until 1994.Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania and Lago Niassa in Mozambique, is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
It is the fourth largest fresh water lake in the world by volume, the ninth largest lake in the world by area—and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake, including at least 700 species of cichlids. The Mozambique portion of the lake was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011, while in Malawi a portion of the lake is included in Lake Malawi National Park.Lake Malawi is a meromictic lake, meaning that its water layers do not mix. The permanent stratification of Lake Malawi's water and the oxic-anoxic boundary (relating to oxygen in the water) are maintained by moderately small chemical and thermal gradients.Lilongwe
Lilongwe (UK: , US: , Chewa: [ɽiˈɽoᵑɡʷe]) is the capital city of Malawi with a projected population of 1,227,100 for 2018. The city is located in the central region of Malawi, near the borders with Mozambique and Zambia, and it is an important economic and transportation hub for central Malawi. It is named after the Lilongwe River.Malawi Lomwe language
Malawi Lomwe, known as Elhomwe, is a dialect of the Lomwe language spoken in southeastern Malawi.Malawi national football team
The Malawi national football team, nicknamed The Flames, is the national team of Malawi, a country in South Eastern Africa, and is controlled by the Football Association of Malawi. Before 1966, they were known as the Nyasaland national football team.Malawian cuisine
Malawian cuisine includes the foods and culinary practices of Malawi. Tea and fish are popular features of Malawian cuisine. Sugar, coffee, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats are also important components of the cuisine and economy. Lake Malawi is a source of fish including chambo (similar to bream) usipa (similar to sardine), mpasa (similar to salmon and kampango). Nsima is a staple food made from ground corn and served with side dishes of meat, beans and vegetable. It can be eaten for lunch and dinner.Additional Malawi cuisine includes:
Kachumbari, a type of tomato and onion salad, known locally in Malawi as 'Sumu' or 'Shum' or simply 'tomato and onion salad'.
Thobwa, a fermented drink made from white maize and millet or sorghum.
Kondowole, made from cassava flour and water. It is primarily from northern Malawi and is a very sticky meal resembling Malawian nsima, Tanzanian ugali, or English posho. It is mostly cooked on the floor because of its texture as it is normally tough to run a cooking stick through hence a lot of strength is needed. Kondowole is normally eaten with fish.Malawi–United States relations
The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Servicess, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.
U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region's problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the first southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and has joined the successor program, African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.
In July 2011, the United States suspended direct aid funding. The US government agency responsible, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, suspended aid because it was 'deeply upset' by the deaths of the 19 people during the July protests.According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 60% of Malawians approve of U.S. leadership, with 25% disapproving and 15% uncertain.Military ranks of Malawi
The Military ranks of Malawi are the military insignia used by the Malawian Defence Force. Being a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Malawi shares a rank structure similar to that of the United Kingdom.Music of Malawi
Music of Malawi has historically been influenced through its triple cultural heritage (British, African,American). Malawians have long been travelers and migrant workers, and as a result, their music has spread across the African continent and blended with other music forms. One of the prime historical causes of the Malawian musical melting pot was World War II, when soldiers both brought music to distant lands and also brought them back. By the end of the war, guitar and banjo duos were the most popular type of dance bands. Both instruments were imported. Malawians working in the mines in South Africa and Mozambique also led to fusion and blending in music styles, giving rise to music styles like Kwela.During the colonial period, Malawi saw rise to very few well-known singers. One such singer was Tony Bird a folk rock singer-songwriter who was born in Nyasaland and performed anti-colonial music about life for regular Malawians during the colonial period. His music is described as a fusion of Malawian and Afrikaner traditions. His popular style led him to tour with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the 1980s.
Under President Hastings Banda, the Malawian state censored music that it deemed to be of a sexual or politically subversive nature. This led to few internationally renowned artists entering the international arena from 1964-1994. After the country's first multiparty elections in 1994, however, many artists could now practice their art publicly, and Malawian music began to grow and develop into the music forms that can be heard coming out of Malawi now.
Since 1994, the country has seen a steady growth in its music industries and in its local celebrities. Due to the period of music suppression, many of Malawi's new and up-and-coming artists are young. Artists like Young Kay are being supported by the veterans in the industry and are working together to give Malawian music a distinct new identity.Many local artists are also making headway internationally.
Contemporary well-known international artists from Malawi are Wambali Mkandawire, Erik Paliani, Lucius Banda, Tay Grin, Esau Mwamwaya and Tsar Leo. In 2015 Malawian music was recognized in the 58th Grammy Awards for the first time, with the nomination of Zomba Prison Project I Have No Everything Here for Best World Music Album.National Assembly (Malawi)
The National Assembly of Malawi is the supreme legislative body of the nation. It is situated on Capital Hill, Lilongwe along Presidential Way. The National Assembly alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in Malawi. At its head is the Speaker of the House who is elected by his or her peers. Since June 2014 the Speaker is Richard Msowoya.
The 1994 Constitution provided for a Senate but Parliament repealed it. Malawi therefore has a unicameral legislature in practice. The National Assembly has 193 Members of Parliament (MPs) who are directly elected in single-member constituencies using the simple majority (or first-past-the-post) system and serve five-year terms.Nyasaland
Nyasaland () was a British Protectorate located in Africa that was established in 1907 when the former British Central Africa Protectorate changed its name. Between 1953 and 1963, Nyasaland was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. After the Federation was dissolved, Nyasaland became independent from Britain on 6 July 1964 and was renamed Malawi.
Nyasaland's history was marked by the massive loss of African communal lands in the early colonial period. In January 1915, the Reverend John Chilembwe staged an attempt at rebellion in protest at discrimination against Africans. Colonial authorities reassessed some of their policies. From the 1930s, a growing class of educated African elite, many educated in Great Britain, became increasingly vocal about gaining independence and politically active. They established associations and, after 1944, the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).
When Nyasaland was forced in 1953 into a Federation with Southern and Northern Rhodesia, there was a rise in civic unrest, as this was deeply unpopular among the people of the territory. The failure of the NAC to prevent this caused its collapse. Not long afterwards, a younger and more militant generation revived the NAC. Ultimately, they invited Hastings Banda to return to the country and lead it to independence as Malawi in 1964.Nyiha language
Nyiha (Nyixa, Nyika) is a Bantu language primarily spoken in Tanzania and Zambia. The language of the 10,000 speakers in Malawi is different enough to sometimes be considered a distinct language.President of Malawi
The President of the Republic of Malawi is the head of state and head of government of Malawi. The president leads the executive branch of the Government of Malawi and is the commander-in-chief of the Malawian Defence Force.Sena language
Sena is a Bantu language spoken in the four provinces of central Mozambique (Zambezi valley): Tete, Sofala, Zambezia and Manica. There were an estimated 900,000 native Sena speakers in Mozambique in 1997, with at least 1.5 million if including those who speak it as second language. It is one of the Nyasa languages.
Sena is spoken in several dialects, of which Rue and Podzo are divergent. The Sena of Malawi may be a distinct language. Barwe (Chibarwe) has official recognition in Zimbabwe.
Some remarks on Sena tenses can be found in Funnell (2004), Barnes & Funnell (2005) and in Kiso (2012).Visa policy of Malawi
Visitors to Malawi must obtain a visa from one of the Malawian diplomatic missions unless they come from one of the visa exempt countries or countries eligible for visa on arrival.
Articles relating to Malawi