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  Malawi   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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 elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current 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 (DPP) in 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen substantial economic improvement but because of political deadlock in the legislature, his minority party has been unable to pass significant legislation, and anti-corruption measures have stalled. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.01 cu km/yr (15%/5%/80%)
per capita: 78 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
17.3 cu km (2001)

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

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

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

Map references:
Africa

Geographic coordinates:
13 30 S, 34 00 E

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

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

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

Geography - note:
landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature

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

Location:
Southern Africa, east of Zambia

Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Irrigated land:
560 sq km (2003)

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

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

Natural hazards:
NA

Land use:
arable land: 20.68%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 78.14% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
5.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

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

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

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 43.45 years
male: 43.74 years
female: 43.15 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.7%
male: 76.1%
female: 49.8% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
NA (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 16.8 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 16.8 years (2008 est.)

Population:
13,931,831
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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.8% of GDP (2003)

Population growth rate:
2.39% (2008 est.)

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)

Death rate:
17.89 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 90.55 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 94.69 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 86.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
84,000 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 9 years (2004)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 3,208,112/female 3,194,600)
15-64 years: 51.4% (male 3,592,073/female 3,563,840)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 159,450/female 213,756) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
41.79 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Nationality:
noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Peter W. BODDE
embassy: 16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: [265] (1) 773 166
FAX: [265] (1) 770 471

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

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
multiparty democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Agri-Ecology Media (agriculture and environmental group); Malawi Law Society (human rights); Malawi Movement for the Restoration of Democracy or MMRD (acts to restore and maintain democracy); National Democratic Alliance or NDA (acts to restore democracy; Public Affairs Committee or PAC (promotes democracy, development, peace and unity)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hawa NDILOWE
chancery: 1029 Vermont Avenue, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288

International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 20 May 2004 (next to be held in 19 May 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - MCP 56, UDF 49, independents 39, RP 15, others 25, vacancies 8

Legal system:
based on English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

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

Independence:
6 July 1964 (from UK)

Government - note:
no party has a majority in the fractured legislature

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
conventional short form: Malawi
local long form: Dziko la Malawi
local short form: Malawi
former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland

Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Tom CHIHANA]; Congress of Democrats or COPE [Ralph KASAMBARA]; Congress for National Unity or CONU [Daniel MUKHUMBWE]; Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Bingu wa MUTHARIKA]; Malawi Congress Party or MCP [John TEMBO]; Malawi Democratic Party or MDP [Kampelo KALUA]; Malawi Forum for Unity and Development or MAFUNDE [George MNESA]; Malawi People's Party [Uladi MUSSA]; Mgwirizano Coalition or MC [Gwandaguluwe CHAKUAMBA] (coalition of MAFUNDE, MDP, MGODE, NUP, PETRA, PPM, RP); Movement for Genuine Democratic Change or MGODE [Sam Kandodo BANDA]; National Democratic Alliance or NDA [Brown MPINGANJIRA]; National Unity Party or NUP [Harry CHIUME]; New Rainbow Coalition Party [Beatrice MWALE]; New Republican Party [Gwanda CHAKUWAMBA]; People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Aleke BANDA]; People's Transformation Movement or PETRA [Kamuzu CHIBAMBO]; Republican Party or RP [Gwandaguluwe CHAKUAMBA]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Bakili MULUZI]; United Democratic Party [Kenedy KALAMBO]

Capital:
name: Lilongwe
geographic coordinates: 13 59 S, 33 47 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
18 May 1994

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004)
cabinet: 46-member Cabinet named by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 20 May 2004 (next to be held in 19 May 2009)
election results: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA elected president; percent of vote - Bingu wa MUTHARIKA 35.9%, John TEMBO 27.1%, Gwandaguluwe CHAKUAMBA 25.7%, Brown MPINGANJIRA 8.7%, Justin MALEWEZI 2.5%

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Germany 11.7%, South Africa 10%, Egypt 9.2%, Zimbabwe 8.2%, US 7.3%, Russia 5.8%, Netherlands 4.5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
1.051 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
15% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$420 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$974 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
NA%

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$800 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
8.6% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$406.2 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$11.82 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$4.082 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
39 (2004)

Exchange rates:
Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar - 142.41 (2008 est.), 141.12 (2007), 135.96 (2006), 108.894 (2005), 108.898 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$361.5 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
4.5 million (2001 est.)

Imports - partners:
South Africa 36.1%, India 8.5%, Tanzania 6.1%, US 6.1%, China 4.9% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 38.1%
industry: 17.7%
services: 44.2% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
6,788 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$679 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Malawian kwacha (MWK)

Economy - overview:
Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 85% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Malawi will now begin a consultative process to develop a five-year program before funding can begin. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. In 2005, President MUTHARIKA championed an anticorruption campaign. Since 2005 President MUTHARIKA'S government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF. Improved relations with the IMF lead other international donors to resume aid as well.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
53% (2004)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
27.72% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$250.4 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
1.13 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$1.023 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$221 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
6,160 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA

Public debt:
49.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Currency code:
MWK

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 31.8% (2004)

Exports - commodities:
tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel

Economic aid - recipient:
$575.3 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 3.3%
hydro: 96.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $1.227 billion
expenditures: $1.337 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
139,500 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
175,200 (2007)

Televisions:
NA

Internet country code:
.mw

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 9, FM 5 (plus 15 repeater stations), shortwave 2 (plus one shortwave station on standby) (2001)

Radios:
2.6 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.051 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: rudimentary
domestic: fixed-line subscribership about 1 per 100 persons; privatization of Malawi Telecommunications (MTL), a necessary step in bringing improvement to telecommunications services, completed in 2006; mobile-cellular services are expanding but cellular network coverage is limited and is based around the main urban areas; mobile cellular subscribership roughly 8 per 100 persons
international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
3 (2002)

Internet hosts:
107 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Waterways:
700 km (on Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire River) (2008)

Railways:
total: 797 km
narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)

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

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 15,451 km
paved: 6,956 km
unpaved: 8,495 km (2003)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 16 (2007)

Airports:
39 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; standard obligation is 2 years of active duty and 5 years of reserve service (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 3,050,444 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,676,117 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Malawi Armed Forces: Army (includes Air Wing and Naval Detachment) (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 168,858
female: 168,946 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.3% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
disputes with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant

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