Malawi 1997Malawi

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Malawi - Introduction 1997
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Background: Established in 1891 the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule the country held multiparty elections in 1994 under a provisional constitution which took full effect the following year.

Malawi - Geography 1997
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Location: Southern Africa, east of Zambia

Geographic coordinates: 13 30 S, 34 00 E

Map referenceAfrica

Total: 118,480 km²
Land: 94,080 km²
Water: 24,400 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries
Total: 2,881 km
Border countries: (3) 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

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

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

Land use
Arable land: 18%
Permanent crops: 0%
Permanent pastures: 20%
Forests and woodland: 39%
Other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 280 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA

Note: landlocked

Malawi - People 1997
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Population: 9,609,081 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.57% (1997 est.)

Noun: Malawian(s)
Adjective: Malawian

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

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

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 46% (male 2,210,871; female 2,190,564)
15-64 years: 51% (male 2,430,178; female 2,520,608)
65 years and over: 3% (male 109,010; female 147,850) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.57% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 40.79 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 25.08 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)
Note: the return of refugees to Mozambique is apparently complete

Population distribution


Major urban areas

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

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.74 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 138.9 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 35.26 years
Male: 34.86 years
Female: 35.68 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.77 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 56.4%
Male: 71.9%
Female: 41.8% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Malawi - Government 1997
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Country name
Conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
Conventional short form: Malawi
Former: Nyasaland

Government type: multiparty democracy

Capital: Lilongwe

Administrative divisions: 24 districts; Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Machinga (Kasupe), Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba

Dependent areas

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

International law organization participation


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 17 May 1994 (next to be held by May 1999)
Election results: Bakili MULUZI elected president; percent of vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (177 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
Elections: last held 17 May 1994 (next to be held by May 1999)
Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UDF 84, AFORD 33, MCP 55, others 5; note - because of defections and byelections, the seats in the National Assembly were held at the end of the year as follows:UDF 84, MCP 47, AFORD 34, independents 8, and vacant 4
Note: the constitution of 18 May 1995, in addition to reducing the age at which universal suffrage is conferred from 21 to 18 years, provided for a bicameral legislature; by 1999, in addition to the existing National Assembly, a Senate of 80 seats is to be elected

Judicial branch: High Court; Supreme Court of Appeal

Political parties and leaders

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: Ambassador Willie CHOKANI
In the us chancery: 2,408 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20,008
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 797-1007
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Peter R. CHAVEAS
From the us embassy: address NA, in new capital city development area in Lilongwe
From the us mailing address: P. O. Box 30,016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
From the us telephone: [265] 783 166
From the us FAX: [265] 780 471

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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Malawi - Economy 1997
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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 45% of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. The new government faces strong challenges, e.g., to spur exports, to improve educational and health facilities, and to deal with environmental problems of deforestation and erosion.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 6% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 45%
Industry: 30%
Services: 25% (1995 est.)

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

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

Industrial production growth rate: 1% (1994 est.)

Labor force
Total: 3.5 million
By occupation agriculture: 86%
By occupation wageearners: 14% (1990 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $530 million
Expenditures: $674 million, including capital expenditures of $129 million (1993)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $431 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
Commodities: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products
Partners: US, South Africa, Germany, Japan

Total value: $348 million (f.o.b., 1995 est.)
Commodities: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
Partners: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, US, UK, Germany

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $2.2 billion (1995 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: Malawian kwacha (MK) per US$1 - 15.3118 (September 1996), 15.2837 (1995), 8.7364 (1994), 4.4028 (1993), 3.6033 (1992)

Malawi - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 782 million kWh (1993)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 67 kWh (1993)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Malawi - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Malawi - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $10.4 million (FY94/95)
Percent of gdp: NA%

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Malawi - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 41 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 26
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 4
With paved runways under 914 m: 20 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 15
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 14 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 26
Over 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 4
Under 914 m: 20 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 15
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
914 to 1523 m: 14 (1996 est.)



Total: 789 km
Narrow gauge: 789 km 1.067-m gauge


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

Merchant marine

Ports and terminals

Malawi - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: dispute with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs

The Fives Hotels

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