Official name: Republic of Malawi
Area: 118,484 km²
Residents: approx. 17.6 million (2018, count)
Growth of population: 2.6% (2018, estimated)
Seat of government: Lilongwe
Official language: English, Chichewa
Regional languages: Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe
Southeast African poor house
Malawi is not one of the generally known African states. This is not only due to the – positive – fact that it has so far not been able to come up with terrible reports of devastating natural disasters or civil wars, but also to its small size and poverty.
According to a2zgov, Malawi is a partner country of German development cooperation and has traditionally been so since the mid-1960’s, when this category did not even exist. It is one of the cooperation countries with bilateral country programs.
Over 90% of Malawi’s almost 17.6 million residents (2018 census) live directly or indirectly from agriculture, as the country has no significant mineral resources – with the exception of small uranium deposits. With 186 residents per square kilometer (2018 census), the country is considered densely populated in comparison with neighboring countries. Economic growth is determined by the quantity and quality of the agricultural products produced and is dependent on the unstable climatic conditions.
Malawi is traditionally one of the poorest countries in the world. In the UNDP’s annual Human Development Index for 2018, the country ranks 172 (out of 189).
Location & size
Malawi is a landlocked country and is located on the third largest lake in Africa, Lake Malawi. It is almost 120,000 km² in size, of which around 24,000 km² are water. The southern part of the country is surrounded by Mozambique, while it is bordered by Zambia to the west and Tanzania to the north. While the border with Mozambique runs in the middle of Lake Malawi and makes the two populated Malawian islands Likoma and Chizumulu into exclaves, the official state border with Tanzania runs along the Tanzanian shore. This led to previously unresolved border disputes with Tanzania in August 2012 after Malawi had granted a British investor an oil exploration license in Lake Malawi.
This inland location, with no access to the sea, represents a major trade barrier, as the transport costs are significantly increased.
The UN also offers Malawi at a glance. A collection of constantly updated maps is kept available about the humanitarian situation in Malawi. The country has a number of smaller national parks. Expert Africa offers a clearly nuanced view. There are also city maps of the capital Lilongwe and the commercial metropolis Blantyre.
Land use also adapts to changing (climatic) conditions, as the Atlas of Malawi Land Cover shows. The conditions and challenges in the Zambezi region are presented and analyzed in another atlas going beyond Malawi.
For a good introduction to the country, the cultural overview of the Foreign Office, the CIA World Factbook, and the free encyclopedia Wikipedia are suitable. The National Statistical Office in Zomba also provides extensive statistics.
Although the country was not particularly hard hit (wars, major natural disasters) and although it has received relatively generous Western development aid since independence from Great Britain in 1964, Malawi is still one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy was at times clear, at its peak it fell to 39 years, mainly due to HIV / AIDS, but it has improved to almost 62 years in recent years. This is due on the one hand to the use of AIDS drugs, on the other hand to improvements in the – still high – infant and child mortality rates. Statistically speaking, one doctor has over 51,000 residents. There are more Malawian doctors living and working in the UK than in Malawi, which is due to the unattractive pay, which has since improved somewhat, and can be traced back to the offensive recruitment by the British healthcare system which has now ceased. There have been improvements in the field of literacy. The abolition of school fees for primary schools and the abandonment of school uniforms (since the school year 1994/95) are partly responsible for this. The female alphabet rate is 58.6% (2015), and there is a clear discrepancy between it and the male (73.0%). These and other data are detailed at The abolition of school fees for primary schools and the abandonment of school uniforms (since the school year 1994/95) are partly responsible for this. The female alphabet rate is 58.6% (2015), and there is a clear discrepancy between it and the male (73.0%). These and other data are detailed at The abolition of school fees for primary schools and the abandonment of school uniforms (since the school year 1994/95) are partly responsible for this. The female alphabet rate is 58.6% (2015), and there is a clear discrepancy between it and the male (73.0%). These and other data are detailed at UNDP and the World Bank.
Human Development Indicators in Malawi
|Life expectancy(in years)||197041.0||201863.8|
|Infant mortality rate(per 1,000 live births)||1970189||201835.0|
|Death rate of under five year olds(per 1,000 live births)||1970330||201850|
|HIV / AIDS infection rate(15-49 year olds)||20189.2%|
|Population with access to safe drinking water||199049%||201590%|
|Alphabet rate(over 15 year olds)||199051.8%||201868.6%|
|Alphabet rate among young people (15-24 years)||199063.2%||201575.1%|
|Public spending on education(as% of GDP)||19913.2||20184.7|
|Human Development Index||19750.327||20180.485|
Sources: World Bank; World Bank Indicators; Human Development Reports. UNDP; UNESCO; CIA World Factbook, National Statistical Office, Zomba.