Malawi

Introduction 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.
History

The earliest inhabitants of the area were Khoisan hunter-gatherers.

They were largely replaced by Bantu tribes during Bantu migrations. What is now called Malawi was the Maravi state, founded by the Chewa people in the 16th century. The Chewa were themselves an off-shoot of the Luba Empire. In the early to mid 19th century, they were joined by Zulu-related Ndwandwe people from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, the Ngoni, under their king Zwangendaba.

The first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the north shore of Lake Malawi in 1859, and subsequently Scottish Presbyterian churches establishing missions. In 1883, a consul of the British Government was accredited to the "Kings and Chiefs of Central Africa," and in 1891, the British established the British Central Africa Protectorate, by 1907, the Nyasaland Protectorate. Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 20th century, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Central African Federation. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison in Southern Rhodesia (now Gweru) for his political activities but was released in 1960 to participate in a constitutional conference in London.

On April 15, 1961 the MCP won an overwhelming victory in elections for a new Legislative Council. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year. This announcement sealed the fate of the Central African Federation, which lost its reason for existence with an independent Nyasaland. Banda became Prime Minister on February 1, 1963, although the British still controlled Malawi's financial, security, and judicial systems. A new constitution took effect in May 1963, providing for virtually complete internal self-government. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved on December 31, 1963, and Malawi became a fully independent member of the British Commonwealth on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi became a republic with Dr. Banda as its first President, and was also declared a one-party state. In 1970 Banda was declared President for life (Ngwazi) of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for Life of Malawi itself.

However, increasing domestic unrest and pressure from Malawian churches and from the international community led to a referendum in which the Malawian people were asked to vote for a new form of government. On June 14, 1993, the people of Malawi voted overwhelmingly in favor of multi-party democracy. Free and fair national elections were held on May 17, 1994. Bakili Muluzi, leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), was elected President in those elections. The UDF won 82 of the 177 seats in the National Assembly and formed a coalition government with the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD). That coalition disbanded in June 1996, but some of its members remained in the government. Malawi's newly written constitution (1995) eliminated special powers previously reserved for the Malawi Congress Party. Accelerated economic liberalization and structural reform accompanied the political transition.

Malawi saw its first transition between democratically elected presidents in May 2004, when the UDF's presidential candidate Bingu wa Mutharika defeated MCP candidate John Tembo and Gwanda Chakuamba, who was backed by a grouping of opposition parties. Through the politicking of party chairperson and former President Bakili Muluzi, the party successfully secured a majority by forming a "government of national unity" with several opposition parties.

Geography Location: Southern Africa, east of Zambia
Geographic coordinates: 13 30 S, 34 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 118,480 sq km
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,400 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries: total: 2,881 km
border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
Terrain: narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
Natural resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
Land use: arable land: 20.68%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 78.14% (2005)
Irrigated land: 560 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 17.3 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 1.01 cu km/yr (15%/5%/80%)
per capita: 78 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
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
Geography - note: landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature
Politics

For almost thirty one years, the government of Malawi and the Malawi Congress Party were one. When Malawi was declared a republic in 1966, the country was formally declared a one-party state. Under Banda, all citizens had to be members of the party. This situation changed in a 1993 referendum, which instituted a multiparty system. In the country's first democratic elections, Banda and the MCP were soundly defeated.

Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct election every five years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president who is currently Bingu wa Mutharika. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different political party. The members of the presidentially appointed cabinet can be drawn from either within or outside of the legislature. Malawi's National Assembly has 193 seats, all directly elected to serve 5-year terms. The constitution also provides for a second chamber, a Senate of 80 seats, but to date no action has been taken to create the Senate. The Senate is intended to provide representation for traditional leaders and the different geographical districts, as well as various special interest groups, such as women, youth, and the disabled .

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. Malawi's judicial system, based on the English model, is made up of magisterial lower courts, a High Court, and a Supreme Court of Appeal. Local government is carried out in 27 districts within three regions administered by regional administrators and district commissioners who are appointed by the central government. Local elections, the first in the multi-party era, took place in on November 21, 2000. The UDF party won 70% of the seats in this election.

The third multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections, originally planned for May 18, 2004 were postponed by two days following a High Court appeal by the main opposition Mgwirizano (Unity) coalition. The run-up to the poll was overshadowed by opposition claims of irregularities in the voters' roll. European Union and Commonwealth observers said although voting passed peacefully, they were concerned about "serious inadequacies" in the poll.

People 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.)
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.)
Median age: total: 16.8 years
male: 16.7 years
female: 16.8 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.39% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 41.79 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 17.89 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (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.)
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.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 43.45 years
male: 43.74 years
female: 43.15 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 14.2% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 900,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 84,000 (2003 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)
Nationality: noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
Ethnic groups: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European
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)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.7%
male: 76.1%
female: 49.8% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: 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
Government type: multiparty democracy
Capital: name: Lilongwe
geographic coordinates: 13 59 S, 33 47 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
Independence: 6 July 1964 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
Constitution: 18 May 1994
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
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
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 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%
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 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
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
Political parties and leaders: Alliance for Democracy or AFORD; Congress for National Unity or CONU; 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]; 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]; 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]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
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, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Hawa NDILOWE
chancery: 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005
telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Alan EASTHAM
embassy: Area 40, Plot 24, Kenyatta Road
mailing address: P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: [265] (1) 773 166
FAX: [265] (1) 770 471
Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green with a radiant, rising, red sun centered in the black band
Government - note: no party has a majority in the fractured legislature
Culture

Malawi is a country in Southern Africa, inhabited by a wide variety of ethnic groups; the Chewa being the single largest group. Malawians have long been travelers, and as a result their music has spread across the African continent. In more modern times, little Malawian music has achieved international renown, though the country does have its musical celebrities that are well-known in some foreign circles.

One of the prime recent causes of the Malawian musical melting pot was World War 2, when soldiers both brought music to distant lands and also brought them back. By the end of the war, guitar and banjo duos were the most popular type of dance bands. Both instruments were imported.

In the late 1960s, South African kwela music was popular in Malawi; the country produced its own kwela stars, like Daniel Kachamba & His Kwela Band. Malawian jazz bands also became popular. In spite of the name, Malawian jazz has little in common with its American namesake. Rural musicians played acoustic instruments, often in very traditional ways. These performers include Jazz Giants, Linengwe River Band, Mulanje Mountain Band and Chimvu Jazz. By the beginning of the 1970s, electric guitars had become common and American rock and roll, soul and funk influences the music scene, resulting in a fusion called afroma. New Scene, led by Morson Phuka, was the most well-known exponent of afroma.

The 1980s saw soukous from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) become popular, and result in a Malawian variety called kwasa kwasa. Gospel music also became popular during this period, and even more so into the 1990s. The Pope's 1989 visit did a lot to inspire the rise in gospel music, which was also fueled by the country's intense poverty. Reggae has also become immensely popular, especially along the tourist-filled lakefront.

Traditional Malawian music has also found some commercial success, like the folk fusionists Pamtondo, whose music uses rhythms from the Lomwe, Makuwa and Man'ganja peoples. There have also been more traditionalist performers, like Alan Namoko.

There is a Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, and frequent listeners to "Radio One" will know that Malawian's favorite foreign artists are Don Williams, Shaggy, and South Africans Lucky Dube and Brenda Fassie.

Economy 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $10.47 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.441 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.7% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $800 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 36.3%
industry: 18.6%
services: 45.1% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.5 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 53% (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 31.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 39 (2004)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 9.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $1.082 billion
expenditures: $1.142 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 42.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats
Industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 1.397 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 3.3%
hydro: 96.7%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 1.299 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 6,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 6,263 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $-180 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $657 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel
Exports - partners: South Africa 12.6%, Germany 9.7%, Egypt 9.6%, US 9.5%, Zimbabwe 8.5%, Russia 5.4%, Netherlands 4.4% (2006)
Imports: $892 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
Imports - partners: South Africa 33.9%, India 8%, Zambia 7.6%, US 6.3%, Tanzania 5.7%, Germany 4.5%, China 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $575.3 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $140 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $622 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Malawian kwacha (MWK)
Currency code: MWK
Exchange rates: Malawian kwachas per US dollar - 141.12 (2007), 135.96 (2006), 108.894 (2005), 108.898 (2004), 97.433 (2003)
Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 102,700 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 429,300 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: rudimentary
domestic: fixed-line subscribership remains less than 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
international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean)
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)
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2001)
Televisions: NA
Internet country code: .mw
Internet hosts: 347 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2002)
Internet users: 59,700 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 39 (2007)
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)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 33
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 16 (2007)
Railways: total: 797 km
narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 15,451 km
paved: 6,956 km
unpaved: 8,495 km (2003)
Waterways: 700 km (on Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire River) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba
Military Military branches: Malawi Armed Forces: Army (includes Air Wing and Naval Detachment) (2007)
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 18-49: 2,430,514 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 1,226,802 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.3% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: disputes with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant