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Malawi

Malawi, previously known as Nyasaland, is located in Southern Africa. It shares a border with Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia. A former British protectorate, Malawi received its independence in 1964. Malawi fell under the one-party rule leadership of President Banda for three decades following independence. In the mid-1990s, Malawians pressured President Banda to hold elections. The elections allowed Malawians to have a taste of multi-party democracy.  As Malawi gains its political stability, it is faced with the problem of HIV/AIDS that is killing tens of thousands of Malawians very year. In 2004, a program to tackle this problem was launched. It is during this time that President Muluzi revealed that he lost his

brother this pandemic. Malawi is known for its great variety of landscapes. It has everything from wetlands and lakes to forests, mountains and national parks. This country is home to nine national parks and wildlife reserves. While Lilongwe is Malawi’s capital city, Blantyre is Malawi’s commercial capital. Lilongwe is a modern city with attractive markets and an inviting Old Town. Blantyre is the largest town and has the National Museum and the Mandala House, which is the oldest European building in Malawi. Within Lake Nyasa (Malawi), there are two islands, Chisumulu and Likoma Island. Likoma Island is known for its beaches and the Anglican Cathedral, which was built by missionaries over a century ago. Malawi has a rich musical tradition and in fact, most tribes have their own dances and songs. Malawi is known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’ because of the warmth and the friendliness of the Malawians.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Malawi's Flag

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

Nationality: Malawian

Capital: Lilongwe

Population: 13,013,9264 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 46.5%
  • 15-64 years: 50.8%
  • 65 years and over: 2.7% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.38% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 62.7% of the population is literate (male: 76.1%, female: 49.8%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Christian 79.9%, Muslim 12.8%, other 3%, none 4.3% (1998 census)

Languages: 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)

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

Area comparative to Canadian province:
double the size of Nova Scotia

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

Environmental Issues: deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations

Economy


Malawi is rated as one of the world’s least developed countries. With around 90% of the population living in the rural regions, Malawi’s economy is mainly agricultural. In 2005, agriculture accounted for almost 36% of GDP and 80% of export revenues. Tobacco accounts for over 60% of Malawi’s exports. The economy remains dependent upon the IMF, the World Bank and individual donor nations for economic aid. In 2000, Malawi was approved as one of the countries to receive relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. The government faces a number of challenges; to develop a market economy, to enhance educational facilities, to resolve environmental concerns, to deal with the severe problem of HIV/AIDS.


Major industries:

  • tobacco
  • tea
  • sugar
  • sawmill products
  • cement
  • consumer goods

Agricultural products:

  • tobacco
  • sugarcane
  • cotton
  • tea
  • corn
  • potatoes
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • sorghum
  • pulses
  • groundnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • cattle
  • goats

Oil production: 0 bbl/day (2003)

Railways: 797 km

Road map: 28,400 km (paved: 5,254 km, unpaved: 23,146 km)

Currency: Malawian kwacha

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 93,000 (2004)

Cellular lines in use: 222,100 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2001)

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

Internet users: 46,100 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 14.2% (2003 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 900,000 (2003 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/mi.html