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Countries > Malawi Malawi Flag

Languages   6 languages are spoken in Malawi. We have 88 products available for 4 of those languages.

Capital: Lilongwe
Population: 9,700,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Malawi Map


Location: Southern Africa, east of Zambia

Geographic coordinates: 13 30 S, 34 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 118,480 sq km
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,400 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: 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: Mount Mlanje Sapitwa 3,002 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 18%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures : 20%
forests and woodland: 39%
other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 280 sq km (1993 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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked


Population: 10,701,824 (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:
total population :36.59 years
male: 36.05 years
female: 37.15 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.04 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian

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

Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, traditional indigenous beliefs

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

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


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
conventional short form: Malawi
former: Nyasaland

Data code: MI

Government type: multiparty democracy

National 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 6 July (1964); Republic Day 6 July (1966)

Constitution: 18 May 1995

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: Cabinet named by the president
elections : president elected 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 (177 seats; members are 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

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roger A. MEECE
embassy : address NA, in new capital city development area in Lilongwe
mailing address: P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: [265] 783 166
FAX: [265] 780 471

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


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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 28.6% (2001 est.)

Labor force:
total: 4.5 million (2001 est.)
by occupation : agriculture 86%, wage earners 14% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

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

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

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

Electricity - capacity: 190,000 kW (1993)

Electricity - production: 825 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 767.25 million kWh (2000)

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

total value : $415.5 million (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products
partners: US, South Africa, Germany, Japan

total value: $463.6 million (f.o.b., 2001)
commodities: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
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: 1 Malawian kwacha (MWK) = 100 tambala

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 (1997)

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March


Telephones:38,000 (1999)

Telephone system:
domestic : fair system of 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


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

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

Waterways: 144 km Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi); Shire River, 144 km

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

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

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

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males: 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

Disputes - international: dispute with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi)