Malawi

Country Summary

Introduction

Background

From the late 15th to the 18th centuries, a prosperous Kingdom of Maravi - from which the name Malawi derives - extended its reach into what are now areas of Zambia and Mozambique. In 1889, a British Central African Protectorate was established, which was renamed Nyasaland in 1907, and which became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964.

Geography

Area

total: 118,484 sq km
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,404 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

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

People and Society

Population

21,279,597 (2023 est.)

Ethnic groups

Chewa 34.3%, Lomwe 18.8%, Yao 13.2%, Ngoni 10.4%, Tumbuka 9.2%, Sena 3.8%, Mang'anja 3.2%, Tonga 1.8%, Nyanja 1.8%, Nkhonde 1%, other 2.2%, foreign 0.3% (2018 est.)

Languages

English (official), Chewa (dominant), Lambya, Lomwe, Ngoni, Nkhonde, Nyakyusa, Nyanja, Sena, Tonga, Tumbuka, Yao

Religions

Protestant 33.5% (includes Church of Central Africa Presbyterian 14.2%, Seventh Day Adventist/Baptist 9.4%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Anglican 2.3%), Roman Catholic 17.2%, other Christian 26.6%, Muslim 13.8%, traditionalist 1.1%, other 5.6%, none 2.1% (2018 est.)

Population growth rate

2.28% (2023 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Lilongwe

Executive branch

chief of state: President Lazarus CHAKWERA (since 28 June 2020); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 3 February 2020); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Lazarus CHAKWERA (since 28 June 2020); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 3 February 2020)

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Economy

Economic overview

low-income East African economy; primarily agrarian; investing in human capital; urban poverty increasing due to COVID-19; high public debt; endemic corruption and poor property rights; poor hydroelectric grid; localized pharmaceutical industry

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$29.932 billion (2022 est.)
$29.658 billion (2021 est.)
$28.864 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2022 est.)
$1,500 (2021 est.)
$1,500 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

sweet potatoes, cassava, sugar cane, maize, mangoes/guavas, potatoes, tomatoes, pigeon peas, bananas, plantains

Industries

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

Exports

$1.538 billion (2021 est.)
$1.268 billion (2020 est.)
$1.447 billion (2019 est.)

Exports - partners

Belgium 16%, United States 8%, Egypt 7%, South Africa 6%, Germany 6%, Kenya 5%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

tobacco, gold, soybeans, raw sugar, tea, dried legumes and nuts (2021)

Imports

$3.582 billion (2021 est.)
$3.208 billion (2020 est.)
$3.266 billion (2019 est.)

Imports - partners

South Africa 17%, China 16%, United Arab Emirates 9%, India 9%, United Kingdom 8% (2019)

Imports - commodities

postage stamps, refined petroleum, packaged medicines, fertilizers, office machinery/parts (2019)

Exchange rates

Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
749.527 (2020 est.)
745.541 (2019 est.)
732.333 (2018 est.)
730.273 (2017 est.)
718.005 (2016 est.)


Page last updated: Tuesday, April 09, 2024