Malawi Country Facts

Malawi-MapCountry: Republic of Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) : (click here for Mozambique country facts)

Background/History: “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 presidential and parliamentary elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. 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 in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009. He oversaw some economic improvement in his first term, but was accused of economic mismanagement and poor governance in his second term. He died abruptly in April 2012 and was succeeded by vice president, Joyce BANDA, who had earlier started her own party, the People’s Party. MUTHARIKA’s brother, Peter MUTHARIKA, defeated BANDA in the May 2014 election. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.” (CIA-World Fact Book 2016)

Geography: Malawi is in Southeast Africa and shares borders with Tanzania to the north and northeast; Mozambique to the east and southwest; and Zambia to the west. Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) is the country’s most prominent physical feature. It is the third largest lake in Africa and is approximately 580 km long. Malawi has many plateaus, mountains, and hills.

Area: 118,484 sq km (45,747 sq miles); slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Climate: Sub-tropical; It is cool in the highlands and warm around Lake Malawi. rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)

Population: 18,570,321 (July 2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 3.32% (2016 est.)

Fertility Rate: 5.54 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate: 44.8 deaths/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth: 61.2 years

HIV/AIDS Adult Prevalence Rate: 9.11% (2015 est.)

Literacy: 65.8% (age > 15) (2015 est.)

Language: Chichewa is the national language and most widely spoken although English is the official language.

Capital: Lilongwe.

Government: Presidential Republic. Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964.

Religion: Christian 82.6%, Muslim 13%

Currency: Malawian kwacha (MWK)

GDP-per capita: $1100 (in 2015 US dollars) (2015 est)

Labor Force: 90% agriculture (2003 est.)

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

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

Economy: Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. The economy is very dependent upon economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and other donor nations. Tobacco accounts for over 50% of exports.


(Information obtained from the World Fact Book 2016 and other sources)