Malawi

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MALAWI

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS MALAWIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Malawi

CAPITAL: Lilongwe

FLAG: The national flag is a horizontal tricolor of black, red, and green, with a red rising sun in the center of the black stripe.

ANTHEM: Begins "O God, Bless Our Land of Malawi."

MONETARY UNIT: The kwacha (k) of 100 tambala (t) is the national currency; it replaced the Malawi pound (m£) on 28 August 1970 and was linked with the pound sterling until November 1973. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 tambala, and notes of 50 tambala and 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 kwacha. k1 = $0.00832 (or $1 = k120.21) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Martyrs' Day, 3 March; Kamuzu Day, 14 May; Republic or National Day, 6 July; Mothers' Day, 17 October; National Tree Planting Day, 21 December; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

A landlocked country in southeastern Africa, Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) has an area of 118,480 sq km (45,745 sq mi), of which 24,400 sq km (9,420 sq mi) consists of water, chiefly Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Niassa). Comparatively, the area occupied by Malawi is slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania. Malawi extends 853 km (530 mi) ns and 257 km (160 mi) ew. It is bounded on the n and e by Tanzania, on the e, s, and sw by Mozambique, and on the w by Zambia, with a total boundary length of 2,881 km (1,790 mi).

Malawi's capital city, Lilongwe, is located in the central part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Topographically, Malawi lies within the Great Rift Valley system. Lake Malawi, a body of water some 580 km (360 mi) long and about 460 m (1,500 ft) above sea level, is the country's most prominent physical feature. About 75% of the land surface is plateau between 750 m and 1,350 m (2,460 and 4,430 ft) above sea level. Highland elevations rise to over 2,440 m (8,000 ft) in the Nyika Plateau in the north and at Mt. Sapitwa (3,000 m/9,843 ft). The lowest point is on the southern border, where the Shire River approaches its confluence with the Zambezi at 37 m (121 ft) above sea level.

CLIMATE

Variations in altitude in Malawi lead to wide differences in climate. The vast water surface of Lake Malawi has a cooling effect, but because of the low elevation, the margins of the lake have long hot seasons and high humidity, with a mean annual temperature of 24°c (75°f). Precipitation is heaviest along the northern coast of Lake Malawi, where the average is more than 163 cm (64 in) per year; about 70% of the country averages about 75100 cm (3040 in) annually.

In general, the seasons may be divided into the cool (May to mid-August); the hot (mid-August to November); the rainy (November to April), with rains continuing longer in the northern and eastern mountains; and the post-rainy (April to May), with temperatures falling in May. Lilongwe, in central Malawi, at an elevation of 1,041 m (3,415 ft), has a moderately warm climate with adequate rainfall. The average daily minimum and maximum temperatures in November, the hottest month, are 17°c (63°f) and 29°c (84°f), respectively; those in July, the coolest month, are 7°c (45°f) and 23°c (73°f).

FLORA AND FAUNA

About 27% of the land area is forested. Grassland, thicket, and scrub are found throughout the country. There are indigenous softwoods in the better-watered areas, with bamboo and cedars on Mt. Sapitwa; evergreen conifers also grow in the highlands. Mopane, baobab, acacia, and mahogany trees are found at lower elevations. There are over 3,700 species of plants found throughout the country.

There are many varieties of animal life. The elephant, giraffe, and buffalo are found in certain areas; hippopotamuses dwell on the shores of Lake Malawi. The kudu, duiker, bushbuck, tsessebe, wildebeest, and hartebeest are among the antelopes to be found. Other mammals in Malawi are the baboon, monkey, hyena, wolf, zebra, lion, nocturnal cat, badger, warthog, and porcupine. In 2000, there were about 195 species of mammals.

There are at least 219 species of birds. Reptiles are plentiful and include freshwater turtle, crocodile, tortoise, marsh terrapin, chameleon, lizard, and many varieties of snakes; the Egyptian cobra has been found in the Shire Valley. Fish abound in the lakes and rivers; species include bream, bass, catfish, mudfish, perch, carp, and trout. The mbuna is a tropical fish protected within the waters of the Lake Malawi National Park. Malawi is rich in insect life and has species in common with tropical West Africa and Tanzania.

ENVIRONMENT

Almost all fertile land is already under cultivation, and continued population pressure raises the threat of soil erosion and exhaustion, as well as infringement on forest resources for agricultural purposes. The demand for firewood has significantly depleted the timber stock. Malawi has about 16 cu km of renewable water resources. About of 96% city dwellers and 62% of the rural population have access to pure water.

The preservation of Malawi's wildlife is a significant environmental issue. As of 2003, 11.2% of the country's natural areas were protected, including Lake Malawi National Park, which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Lake Chilwa, which is a Ramsar wetland site. Some of the nation's fish population is threatened with extinction due to pollution from sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural chemicals and siltation of spawning grounds. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 7 types of mammals, 13 species of birds, 5 species of amphibians, 9 types of mollusks, 2 species of other invertebrates, and 14 species of plants. Threatened species included the African elephant, cheetah, and African wild dog.

POPULATION

The population of Malawi in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 12,341,000, which placed it at number 70 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 46% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 3.2%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 23,750,000.

The overall population density was 104 per sq km (270 per sq mi), which is one of the highest in Africa. The Southern Region has about 50% of the population, the Central Region about 40%, and the Northern Region about 10%.

The UN estimated that 14% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 4.42%. The capital city, Lilongwe, had a population of 587,000 in that year. Other cities (and their estimated populations) include Blantyre (547,500), Mzuzu (99,700), and Zomba (73,400).

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Malawi. The UN estimated that 16.1% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.

MIGRATION

Accelerating migration from rural to urban areas contributed to an annual urban growth rate of about 6% in the early 1990s. Between October 1992 and mid-1996, 1.3 million Mozambican refugees repatriated from Malawi; the return of refugees to Mozambique was complete. In 2004 persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malawi were 3,682 refugees and 3,335 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. In 2004 over 1,700 Malawians sought asylum in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Remittances in 2003 were $856,000. In 2005 the net migration rate was estimated at zero per 1,000 population, a significant change from -17.1 per 1,000 in 1990. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The people of Malawi belong mainly to various Central Bantu groups. The Chewas are primarily located in the central regions of the country. The Nyanja live primarily in the south and the Lomwe (Alomwe) live south of Lake Chilwa. Other indigenous Malawians include the Tumbuko, Tonga, and Ngonde. The Ngoni (an offshoot of the Zulus from South Africa) and Yao arrived in the 19th century. There are a few thousand Europeans, mainly of British origin, including descendants of Scottish missionaries. There are also small numbers of Portuguese, Asians (mainly Indians), and persons of mixed ancestry.

LANGUAGES

Numerous Bantu languages and dialects are spoken. Chichewa, the language of the Chewa and Nyanja, is spoken by more than half the population, but the Lomwe, Yao, and Tumbuka have their own widely spoken languages, respectively known as Chilomwe, Chiyao, and Chitumbuka. English and Chichewa are the official languages.

RELIGIONS

As of a 2004 report, it is believed that more than 70% of the population are Christian, with the largest groups being affiliated with the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian (Church of Central Africa PresbyterianCCAP) churches. There are smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, Evangelicals, and Seventh-Day Adventists. Muslims account for approximately 20% of the population, with most belonging to the Sunni sect. Tribal religionists account for a small percentage of the population. There are also small numbers of Hindus and Baha'is. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are celebrated as national holidays.

TRANSPORTATION

In 2004, Malawi had 797 km (495 mi) of railways, all of it narrow gauge. The main line of the rail system consisted of a single tracked, 1.067-m/3-ft 6 in (narrow) gauge rail line that ran from Salima to Nsanje, a distance of 439 km (273 mi), and operated by Malawi Railways. The line was extended from Salima to Lilongwe in 1977 and was later extended to Mchinji, on the border with Zambia. At Chipoka, 32 km (20 mi) south of Salima, the railway connects with the Lake Malawi steamer service, also operated by Malawi Railways. The railway line extends, in the south, from Nsanje to the port of Beira in Mozambique. The Central African Railway Co., a subsidiary of Malawi Railways, operates the 26 km (16 mi) span from Nsanje to the Mozambique border. Malawi Railways was privatized in 1999.

In 2002, Malawi had an estimated 14,594 km (9,069 mi) of roads, of which 2,773 km (1,723 mi) were paved. In 2003 there were 11,400 passenger cars, and 14,220 commercial vehicles.

Until 1982, about 95% of Malawi's foreign trade passed through Mozambican ports, mainly by rail connections, but by 1987, because of insurgent activity in Mozambique, over 95% of Malawi's exports were moving through South Africa's port of Durban. The use of this longer route, with only road transport through Malawi, was costing $50 million a year in extra transport expenses. Since 1990, when Mozambican rebels closed down the route, goods have been shipped through Zambia. As of 1999, major Malawi ports and harbors include Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, and Nkhotakota. As of 2003, Malawi had 700 km (435 mi) of navigable waterways on Lake Malawi and on the Shire River.

Airports in 2004 numbered 42, only 6 of which had paved runways as of 2005. Malawi's principal airports include Kamuzu International Airport, at Lilongwe, and Chileka, at Blantyre. Air Malawi, the national airline established in 1967, provides international and domestic air service. National carriers to some other countries in the region operate complementary services to Malawi. There are no direct services to Asia and the Pacific or the Americas. In 2003, about 109,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

HISTORY

Malawi has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years; its earliest peoples were nomadic hunter-gatherers. By the 13th century, Bantu-speaking migrants had entered the region. The Chewa peoples had become dominant by the early 16th century; their clans were consolidated under the leadership of a hereditary ruler called the karonga. Before the coming of the Europeans in the second half of the 19th century, Malawi was an important area of operations for Arab slave traders. The incursions of slaving took a heavy toll on the inhabitants, although the Chewa state never came under direct Arab rule. One of the major stated objectives of British intervention in the territory was to stamp out the slave trade.

The first European to explore the area extensively was David Livingstone, whose reports in the 1850s and 1860s were instrumental in the establishment of a series of mission stations in Nyasaland (as Malawi was then known) during the 1870s. In 1878, the African Lakes Company was formed by Scottish businessmen to supply the missions and provide a "legitimate" alternative to the slave trade. As the company extended its operations, it came into conflict with Yao tribesmen and Arab outposts toward the northern end of Lake Malawi. Fighting ensued in 188789, and pacification was completed only some years after the British government had annexed the whole of the territory in 1891. To Sir Harry Johnston, the first commissioner of the protectorate, fell the task of wiping out the remaining autonomous slave-trading groups. These antislavery operations were assisted by gunboats of the Royal Navy.

Nyasaland attracted a small group of European planters in the first decades of the 20th century. This group settled mainly in the Shire Highlands, and its numbers were never large. The territory was viewed by the imperial government as a tropical dependency, rather than as an area fit for widespread white settlement; many of the frictions that marred race relations in the Rhodesias were therefore minimized in Nyasaland. Missionaries and colonial civil servants consistently outnumbered planters in the European community, and lands occupied by European estates accounted for only a small part of the total land area.

Between World Wars I and II, the policy of the imperial government was built around the concept of "indirect rule"that is, increasing the political responsibility of the African peoples by building on the foundations of their indigenous political institutions. Although this policy was not implemented at a rapid pace, it was generally assumed that Nyasaland would ultimately become an independent African-led state. In 1953, however, Nyasaland was joined with the two RhodesiasNorthern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)in the Central African Federation. The Africans' reaction to this political arrangement was hostile. Disturbances sparked by opposition to the federation in 1959 led to the declaration of a state of emergency, and some Africans, including Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, were detained.

The African political leaders imprisoned in Southern Rhodesia were released in April 1960, and they gathered African support for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). The MCP increased the campaign against federation rule and in the August 1961 elections polled more than 90% of the vote, winning all of the 20 lower-roll seats and two of eight upper-roll places. An era of "responsible" government then began, with the MCP obtaining five, and eventually seven, of the 10 available Executive Council positions. At a constitutional conference held in London in November 1962, it was agreed that Nyasaland should become fully self-governing early in 1963, and that Banda, who headed the MCP, should become prime minister. On 19 December 1962, the British government announced acceptance "in principle" of the right of Nyasaland to secede from the federation.

In February 1963, as scheduled, Nyasaland became a self-governing republic. In July, at a conference held at Victoria Falls, it was decided that the Central African Federation would break up by the end of the year. In October, Banda visited the United Kingdom and successfully negotiated full independence, effective in mid-1964 after a general election based on universal adult suffrage. Accordingly, on 6 July 1964, Nyasaland became a fully independent Commonwealth country and adopted the name Malawi. On 6 July 1966, Malawi became a republic, and Banda assumed the presidency. After the constitution was amended in November 1970, Banda became president for life.

During the first decade of Banda's presidency, Malawi's relations with its black-ruled neighbors were sometimes stormy. At the opening session of the MCP convention in September 1968, President Banda made a claim to extensive territories outside the present boundaries of Malawi. The claim covered the whole of Lake Malawi and parts of Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia.

The Tanzanian government asserted that President Banda could make territorial claims only because he had the support of South Africa, Rhodesia (which at that time had a white minority government), and Portugal (which then still ruled Mozambique). In fact, in 1967, Malawi had become the first black African country to establish diplomatic relations with white-ruled South Africa; in August 1971, moreover, Banda became the first black African head of state to be officially received in South Africa, which supplied arms and development funds to Malawi.

The Banda government also faced some internal opposition. In October 1967, the Malawi government announced that a group of rebels, numbering about 25, wearing police uniforms and posing as insurgents from Mozambique, had entered Malawi with the intention of killing President Banda and his ministers. Eventually, eight of the rebels were convicted of treason and sentenced to death; five others, including Ledson Chidenge, a member of the National Assembly, were sentenced to death for the murder of a former official of the MCP.

The aging Banda continued to rule Malawi with an iron hand through the 1970s and into the late 1980s. Several thousand people were imprisoned for political offenses at one time or another during his rule. One of these was former Justice Minister Orton Chirwa, leader of an opposition group in exile, who in May 1983 was sentenced to death after having reportedly been abducted from a town across the Zambian border in late 1981. Chirwa's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1984. He died in prison in October 1992. The leader of another dissident group, Attati Mpakati, was assassinated in Harare, Zimbabwe, in March 1983. Three government ministers and a member of parliamenttwo of them key leaders of the MCP, with one of them, party secretary-general Dick Matenje, regarded as a possible successor to Bandadied in the middle of May 1983 in a mysterious car accident. Another staunch critic of the Banda regime, the journalist Mkwapatira Mhango, was killed together with nine members of his family in a bomb attack in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1989.

A serious problem in the 1980s concerned the activities of the Mozambique National Resistance (MNR), which, in its efforts (backed by South Africa) to bring down the government in Maputo, seriously disrupted Malawi's railway links with Mozambique ports. As a result, an increasing share of Malawi's trade had to be routed by road through Zambia and South Africa at great expense. In 1987, Malawi allowed Mozambican troops to patrol areas along their common border and sent several hundred troops into northeast Mozambique to help guard the railway leading to the port of Nacala. Other critical problems for Malawi, particularly during the late 1980s and the early 1990s were the nation's growing debt burden, severe drought, and the nearly one million refugees from Mozambique, most of whom have now returned to Mozambique.

In 1992, Banda's grip began to weaken. In March, Malawi's eight Roman Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter protesting detention without trial and harsh treatment of political prisoners. University students demonstrated. Wildcat strikes and rioting in Blantyre and Lilongwe followed the arrest of opposition trade unionist Chakufwa Chihana in May. Nearly 40 were killed by police gunfire in the first significant antigovernment demonstrations since 1964. Chihana was released on bail in September and he formed a new group, the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), that campaigned for multiparty elections. In December, Chihana was sentenced to two years for sedition.

Pressure mounted (including threats by aid donors abroad to suspend assistance), and in October Banda agreed to hold a referendum early in 1993 on whether Malawi should remain a one-party state. In the referendum, on 14 June 1993, 63% of those voting favored adopting multiparty democracy. Two opposition groups, AFORD and the United Democratic Front (UDF), both led by former MCP officials, held a massive rally in January 1993. Meanwhile, three opposition groups in exile merged to form the United Front for Multiparty Democracy, which then merged with the UDF inside Malawi. Chihana was released two days before the referendum.

In July and November 1993, parliament passed bills eliminating from the constitution single-party clauses (such as Hastings Kamuzu Banda's life presidency), appending a bill of rights, establishing a multiparty electoral law, and repealing detention without trial provisions of the Public Security Act. Dialogue among various major parties resulted in the establishment of a National Consultative Council and a National Executive Committee, with representatives from all registered parties, to oversee changes in the constitution, laws, and election rules and procedures. In December 1993, security forces disarmed Banda's paramilitary MCP Young Pioneers.

On 16 May 1994 the National Assembly adopted a provisional constitution, and the country held its first multiparty elections the following day. Bakili Muluzi of the UDF, a former cabinet minister, defeated Banda (MCP), Chihana (AFORD), and Kamlepo Kalua (Malawi Democratic Party). Of the 177 parliamentary seats contested, the UDF took 84, the MCP took 55, and AFORD 36. Muluzi immediately ordered the release of political prisoners and closed the most notorious jails. The new constitution took effect on 18 May 1995.

Malawi's second multiparty elections were held on 15 June 1999. The balloting showed a distinct regional cast to party constituency. Leading the UDF, Muluzi emerged the winner with 51.4% of votes in the presidential elections, followed by the MCP candidate, Gwanda Chakuamba, with 44.3%. Muluzi's UDF won 94 of 193 parliamentary seats, four short of a simple majority. Chakuamba's MCP took 63 seats, and its electoral ally, the AFORD, won 31; four seats went to independents. The results confirmed the regional voting trend set in 1994, with the UDF winning the densely populated south, the MCP strong in the central region and all of AFORD's seats coming from the rugged north.

Although international observers declared the contest free and fair, opponents alleged that the UDF had rigged the elections, and refused to recognize the outcome. Attempts to seek legal redress were rebuffed, leading to riots and the razing of 10 mosques in the north. At least two people were killed. Muluzi was inaugurated in Blantyre on 21 June 1999.

In July 2002, the National Assembly rejected proposals to amend the constitution to allow Muluzi to run for a third term in 2004. The proposals, resubmitted in February 2003, were quickly withdrawn under protests from opposition groups, civil society, and the diplomatic community. In all, three people were killed in the 2002 protests. Muluzi laid to rest speculation over his political intentions when he announced in April 2003 that the UDF National Executive Committee had endorsed a 68-year-old economist, Bingu wa Mutharika, as its presidential candidate for 2004. Mutharika, who hailed from Thyolo District 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Blantyre, was deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi before being appointed minister in the newly created Department of Economics and Planning.

Severe food shortages in 2002 affected some 3.2 million people. The shortages exacerbated living conditions for more than 65% of the population considered "poor," and for some 15% of the adult population infected with HIV/AIDS. Widows of AIDS victims were increasingly subjected to property grabbing by relatives.

In June 2003, overriding a court order, the government deported five men accused of al-Qaeda connections. Muslim protests in the central district of Kasungu were disbursed by police using rubber bullets and tear gas. In the town of Mangochi in the south, Muslim demonstrators looted seven churches and the offices of Save the Children USA. About 50 Muslims stormed the police station where the detainees were being held, but were repelled by the police. Two of the five men headed local charities, while a third was a teacher at a Muslim school. Muluzi, himself a Muslim, declared that religious intolerance would not be allowed.

The third presidential and legislative elections were held on 20 May 2004. These elections had been scheduled to be held on 18 May, but were postponed for two days because the opposition complained of irregularities in the voters' roll. The opposition argued that the number of voters on the roll was several times larger than the eligible population of voting age in Malawi. The results were announced on 25 May by the Malawi Electoral Commission. Bingu wa Mutharika, the UDF candidate who had been handpicked by outgoing President Muluzi, was declared elected. Mutharika received 35% of the votes, John Tembo of the MCP received 27%, Gwanda Chakuambathe candidate of the Mgwirizano Coalitionreceived 26%, Brown Mpinganjira of the National Democratic Alliance received 8%, and Justin Malewezi of the Peoples' Progressive Movement received 3%. Of the 193 National Assembly seats available, the MCP won 60 seats, the UDF won 49, the Mgwirizano Coalition won 28, and independents won 38. This is in stark contrast to the 1999 elections in which the UDF almost won a majority of the seats.

Surveys conducted by Malawi media groups before the election had put Gwanda Chakuamba, the candidate of the Mgwirizano Coalitiona seven-party opposition coalitionin the lead. Immediately after the announcement of the results riots broke out in the major cities of Malawi, particularly Blantyre, the stronghold of Chakuamba, and a number of people lost their lives, shot by the police. Both Chakuamba and John Tembo of the MCP immediately challenged the results in court and demanded a recount. Following the elections in 2004 the political climate in Malawi remained unstable. As of early 2006, the National Assembly was in the process of impeaching Bingu wa Mutharika, who, in February 2005, left the UDF to form his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

After Banda was forced to liberalize his regime, Mutharika was one of the founders of the United Democratic Front, the party that won Malawi's first multiparty elections in 1994. Mutharika was at that time a supporter of the UDF leader, President Bakili Muluzi, but he soon became a critic of Muluzi's economic policies and left the UDF. He formed the United Party (UP) in 1997 and unsuccessfully opposed Muluzi in the 1999 presidential elections. Mutharika dissolved the UP and rejoined the UDF after being offered the deputy governorship at the Reserve Bank of Malawi. Immediately after being elected president in 2004, Mutharika fell out of favor with his predecessor and supporter, Muluzi, because of Mutharika's zero tolerance policy toward corruption. Once out of the presidency, Muluzi refused to retire as head of UDF and remained its chair. Muluzi's staunch supporters accused Mutharika of persecuting and harassing them through his campaign to end corruption. There was talk of firing Mutharika from the UDF. On 5 February 2005, Mutharika announced his resignation from the UDF and formed his own political party, the DPP. There was also an alleged assassination plot against him by UDF stalwarts in early January 2005. Those accused were later pardoned by Mutharika, but he maintained the existence of the plot.

Mutharika continued to fight for his political survival as opposition parties forged ahead with plans to impeach him. The fight pitted Mutharika against former president of the country and now chairman of the United Democratic Front (UDF), Muluzi, with the UDF proposing an impeachment motion after Mutharika left the party which had sponsored him in the 2004 national elections. Mutharika's formation of his own political organization, DPP, effectively relegated the UDF to an opposition rather than a ruling party. Thus, on paper, the opposition parties formed the largest bloc in parliament while Mutharika's party, the DPP, did not have any seats. Muluzi aggressively sought the cooperation of the other opposition parties (which included John Tembo's MCP and Gwanda Chakuamba's Republican Party) to oust Mutharika through impeachment proceedings. He promised that once Mutharika was removed, a national governing council composed of the leaders of the three major political parties would rule the country. Such a promise contradicts the constitution, which notes that in the event of a vacancy in the presidency, the vice president automatically takes over.

As of mid-2006, Malawi's political crisis had not been resolved, with the former president (Muluzi) facing a corruption probe from the government's Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), and his successor (Mutharika) facing impeachment in parliament. The ACB is carrying out what UDF sees as politically motivated investigations into allegations that Muluzi deposited Kwacha 1.4 billion (us$11.4 million) of donor funds into his personal account for his own personal use during his tenure as president. Although Mutharika was seen as having narrowly won the possibly rigged presidential elections in May 2004 under a UDF ticket, once in office he quickly won public support for his anticorruption drive, which also received the backing of donors who had unfrozen aid to the country. In October 2005, there were a number of demonstrations both for and against Mutharika's impeachment. UDF supporters marched in the commercial capital of Blantyre, demanding the immediate impeachment and removal of Mutharika from office. On 24 October 2005, as an impeachment motion was tabled in parliament by UDF, angry DPP supporters and sympathizers marched on parliament to protest against the proposed motion. The demonstrations turned violent with marchers vandalizing cars of opposition MPs.

Observers note that important national issues such as a worsening food crisis and the plight of HIV/AIDS victims were sidelined by the political wrangle. Instead of tackling these issues the government was distracted and the parliament lost focus to assist in tackling these issues. During the last days of the Muluzi presidency, Western donors froze balance of payments support to Malawi over corruption and governance concerns. However, with Mutharika's strong anticorruption stance, aid began to flow back into the country. However, continuing political crisis could again jeopardize foreign development assistance to Malawi.

GOVERNMENT

Malawi officially became a republic on 6 July 1966, and its first constitution was adopted that year. The current constitution took effect on 18 May 1995 reaffirming the president as the head of state and supreme executive authority. In July 2003, he led a 38-member cabinet. Legislative power is vested in a unicameral parliament comprising a National Assembly of 193 seats with members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The most recent elections were held in 2004.

POLITICAL PARTIES

Malawi was officially a one-party state from October 1973 until July 1993. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was the national party and Hastings Kamuzu Banda was its president for life. All candidates for the National Assembly had to be members of the MCP.

For years the opposition groups in exile achieved little success in their efforts to unseat the Banda government. The Socialist League of Malawi (LESOMA), with headquarters in Harare, was directed by Attati Mpakati until his assassination in March 1983. A second group, the Malawi Freedom Movement (MAFREMO), based in Tanzania, was led by Orton Chirwa, who was seized by Malawi authorities in late 1981 and imprisoned for life until his death in 1992. The Congress for the Second Republic, also based in Tanzania, was led by former External Affairs Minister Kanyama Chiume. The Save Malawi Committee (SAMACO) was formed in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1983.

In September 1992, trade unionist Chakufwa Chihana formed the Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) before being convicted of sedition. AFORD and others pushed successfully for a referendum on adopting a multiparty system, and the United Democratic Front (UDF) combined with a coalition in exile (the United Front for Multiparty Democracy) late in 1992.

From the introduction of multiparty competition in May 1994 to the elections in 2004, the UDF and its leader, Bakili Muluzi, dominated the political arena. In the 1994 presidential contest, Muluzi garnered 47.3% of the vote, and his party 84 of the 177 elective seats in the National Assembly. Muluzi obtained 51.4% of the vote in the 1999 presidential poll, and the UDF won 94 of 193 Assembly seats. However, a shake-up in UDF hierarchy in 2003 revealed vulnerabilities in the party's leadership and organization. This led to Muluzi handpicking his successor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who narrowly won 36% of the vote in the controversial May 2004 elections. Furthermore, UDF won only 49 out of the 193 seats in parliament, showing that the dominance the UDF had during Muluzi's tenure had considerably waned. Bingu wa Mutharika then abandoned the UDF and moved on to form his own political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a move which infuriated Bakili Muluzi who attempted to lure other opposition parties to join him in impeaching Mutharika.

Since the 2003 shake-up in the UDF hierarchy, dissenters from this shake-up have formed their own political parties. The splinter group parties from the UDF include the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) founded by Brown Mpinganjira, who fell out of favor with Bakili Muluzi. At the general elections of May 2004 this party won 8 out of 193 seats. Brown Mpinganjira later de-registered his party and rejoined the UDF. Other former UDF and non-UDF leaders of smaller parties formed a loose electoral alliance called the Mgwirizano Coalition. This coalition includes seven smaller parties: Malawi Democratic Party, Malawi Forum for Unity and Development, Movement for Genuine Democratic Change, National Unity Party, People's Progressive Movement, People's Transformation Party, and Republican Party. Gwanda Chakuamba, founder and leader of the Republican Party, was the presidential candidate for the Mgwirizano Coalition in the May 2004 elections. He won 26% of the vote and the Mgwirizano Coalition won 27 out of 193 seats.

A recent addition to the Malawi political landscape is the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) which was the ruling political party in Malawi as of mid-2006. It was formed in February 2005 by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika after a dispute with the United Democratic Front. There were allegations that members of the former governing UDF did not adequately tackle corruption. The many defections from UDF greatly weakened the position of UDF in both the government and the national assembly. A plethora of smaller parties could wield power if they formed effective coalitions, as illustrated by the Mgwirizano Coalition.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

In 1996, Malawi was divided into three administrative regionsNorthern, Central, and Southernwhich were subdivided into 24 districts. In 2005 the number of districts was increased to 28 as some large districts were sub-divided into two. District councils provide markets, postal agencies, roads, and rural water supplies and exercise control over business premises and the brewing and sale of beer. More important, however, are the councils' responsibilities for primary education. Some of the councils run public health clinics. Council expenditures are mainly financed from direct government education grants, calculated to meet the salaries of teachers in most of the district schools. Other sources of revenue include annual taxes on all males over the age of 17 years who are residents in the district and charges for services rendered.

Town councils have powers similar to those of the district councils, but with greater emphasis on the problems that arise in urban areas. Their main functions are sewerage, removal of refuse, the abatement of nuisances, construction and maintenance of roads, and, in some cases, the provision of fire-fighting services. Revenue for town councils comes mainly from direct taxes on property.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Since 1969, Malawi has operated under two parallel court systems. The first is based on the United Kingdom legal system with local courts and a local appeals court in each district. Formerly, these courts heard all cases of customary law and had wide statutory, criminal, and civil jurisdiction. The upper layers consist of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High Court, and magistrates' courts. A chief justice and four puisne judges appointed by the president staff the High Court. There is a chain of appeals from the local courts up to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

A second system was established in November 1969, when the National Assembly empowered the president to authorize traditional African courts to try all types of criminal cases and to impose the death penalty; the president was also permitted to deny the right of appeal to the High Court against sentences passed by the traditional courts, a right formerly guaranteed by the constitution. Traditional court justices are all appointed by the president. Appeals from traditional courts go to the district traditional appeals courts and then to the National Traditional Appeal Court. Appeals from regional traditional courts, which are criminal courts of the first instance, go directly to the National Traditional Appeal Court.

In 1993, the attorney general suspended the operation of regional and national level traditional courts in response to a report by the National Consultative Council on problems in the workings of the traditional court system. Since then the trend is toward moving serious criminal and political cases from traditional to modern courts. Education and training seminars have led to some improvements in the functioning of the local traditional courts.

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, which is respected in practice. Defendants have the right to public trial, to have an attorney, to challenge evidence and witnesses, and to appeal. The constitution superseded many old repressive laws. The High Court may overturn old laws that conflict with the constitution.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, Malawi had an army of 5,300 personnel, organized into 3 infantry battalions, 1 independent paratroop battalion, 1 Marine company and 1 support battalion. The Army's air wing numbered 200 and the maritime wing had 220 members. There was a paramilitary gendarmerie of 1,500 in the mobile police force. In 2005, the defense budget totaled $12.8 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Malawi became a member of the United Nations on 1 December 1964; the nation participates in ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, World Bank, ILO, IFC, UNESCO, UNIDO, and the WHO. Malawi also belongs to the WTO, the African Development Bank, the ACP Group, the Commonwealth of Nations, COMESA, G-77, the African Union, and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The country is a member of the Nonaligned Movement and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The government has offered support to UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Liberia (est. 2003), the DROC (est. 1999), and Burundi (est. 2004).

In environmental cooperation, Malawi is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Malawi is an agricultural economy which, in recent years, has been troubled by drought and financial instability. It is dependent for most of its income on the export sales of tobacco (60%), and tea and sugar (20%). Other agricultural products include peanuts, coffee, and wood products. As a result of the 1992 drought, GDP declined by 7.9% after averaging 4.5% annual growth in 198991, and an impressive 6.7% annual growth rate during the 1970s. Growth averaged an annual 3.7% from 1988 to 1998. In 2001 GDP grew at -4.9% owing to a devastating drought. It was 1.8% in 2002, 4.4% in 2003, 4.2% in 2004 and 1% in 2005. International aid donors, concerned about human rights abuses in Malawi, have tied future support to human rights reforms. Beginning in 2000, the country was the recipient of $1 billion in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

Manufacturing is small-scale, directed mainly to the processing of export crops. In 2000, the agricultural sector employed an estimated 86% of Malawi's population and accounted for about 40% of GDP. Over 90% of the population lives in rural areas. The sector experienced severe droughts in 197981, 1992, 1994, and 200102. Periods of flooding also plague Malawi, as happened in 2003. Production of maize, the main food staple, during the 2001/02 growing season was 1.6 million metric tons, approximately 600,000 short of estimated domestic demand. The World Bank approved a $50-million assistance package for drought recovery in Malawi in November 2002. Other environmental challenges include deforestation and erosion. Recent economic reforms have led to the market pricing in the agricultural sector. The fledgling mining sector in Malawi is slowly growing with the support of international financing.

The government continues to privatize the ownership of public enterprises although the wealth of the country resides in the hands of a small elite. By 2005, about 50% of the more than 90 state-owned enterprises had been sold to private hands, 22% were actively being offered for privatization and an additional 13% had been earmarked for future transfer to the private sector.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Malawi's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $7.6 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $600. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 1%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 15.4%. It was estimated that in 2005 agriculture accounted for 35.9% of GDP, industry 14.5%, and services 49.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $1 million and accounted for approximately 0.1% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $498 million or about $45 per capita and accounted for approximately 29.8% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Malawi totaled $1.46 billion or about $132 per capita based on a GDP of $1.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 4.4%. Approximately 50% of household consumption was spent on food, 7% on fuel, 2% on health care, and 6% on education. It was estimated that in 2004 about 55% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

As of 2001, the economically active population was estimated at 4.5 million. According to a 2003 estimate, 90% of the labor force engaged in agriculture. There is very little industry, and no available data on unemployment.

Although sanctioned by law, union membership is quite low due to the small number of workers in the formal sector of the economy. About 15% of the workforce was unionized in 2002. The only labor federation was the Trades Union Congress of Malawi, to which all unions belonged. In theory, unions have the right to organize, bargain collectively, and strike, but in practice labor relations are still in development.

The minimum working age is 14, but many children work due to cultural norms, agricultural predominance, and severe economic hardship. In 2002, the minimum wage was approximately $0.89 per day in urban areas and $0.66 in rural areas. This does not provide an adequate living wage. The legal maximum workweek is 48 hours but this regulation is not generally enforced.

AGRICULTURE

The agricultural sector is drought-prone and experienced severe droughts in 197981, 1992, and 1994. About 77% of the total land area of Malawi is under customary tenurethat is, subject to land allocation by village headmen based on traditional rights of succession by descent. Estate farming occupies about 23% of the cultivated land and provides about 90% of export earnings. In all, about 21% of Malawi's total land area is arable. Malawi is self-sufficient in food production (except during droughts), but the population increased more rapidly than the food supply in the 1980s.

Tobacco was first grown in 1889 near Blantyre in southern Malawi. Today, most production comes from the central region (around Lilongwe). Tobacco production was estimated at a record 160,014 tons in 1996 but fell to 69,500 tons in 2004. Malawi exports more than 95% of the tobacco it produces, which generates some 70% of all foreign earnings. Malawi's tobacco sector is in transition away from a rigid government-controlled system to a more market-oriented system that includes smallholder tobacco growers.

Tea, a major export crop, is produced mostly on estates; about 16,000 hectares (40,000 acres) are in tea plantations, mainly in the Mulanje and Thyolo districts. Production in 2004 was 45,000 tons. Sugarcane production was about 2,100,000 tons in 2004. Other cash crops produced in 2004 include peanuts, 61,000 tons, and seed cotton, 40,000 tons.

Although subsistence farmers participate in the production of export crops more extensively now than in the preindependence period, much customary agriculture is still devoted to cereal production. Pressure of population on the land is mounting and, in a few areas, expansion of acreage under export crops has been discouraged in favor of food production. Corn is the staple food crop; about 1,733,000 tons were produced in 2004. Late rains, floods, and an increasing Mozambican refugee population kept corn production from meeting domestic demand during the mid-1990s. Other food crops, with 2004 estimated production figures, include cassava, 2,559,000 tons; potatoes, 1,784,000 tons; beans, 79,000 tons; sorghum, 45,000 tons; plantains, 200,000 tons; bananas, 93,000 tons; and paddy rice, 50,000 tons.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Animal husbandry plays a minor role in the economy. Pressure on the land for cultivation is sufficiently intense in many areas to rule out stock-keeping on any scale. In 2005 there were an estimated 1,900,000 goats, 750,000 head of cattle, 456,000 hogs, and 115,000 sheep. The number of poultry was estimated at 15.2 million in 2005. Meat production totaled 59,000 tons in 2004, including 21,000 tons of pork and 16,000 tons of beef. Milk production was estimated at 35,000 tons.

FISHING

The growing commercial fishing industry is concentrated mainly in Lake Malawi, with small-scale activity in Lake Malombe, Lake Chilwa, and the Shire River. Fish farming is carried on in the south. The total catch in 2003 was estimated at 54,200 tons. Large employers of labor in the Southern Region are the major buyers, and much of the catch is sold directly to them. Fish from Lake Malawi contribute about 70% of animal protein consumption.

FORESTRY

Forests and woodlands cover an estimated 2.6 million hectares (6.3 million acres), or 27% of the land area. Natural forests are extensive, and in the high-altitude regions, the Forestry Department is engaged in a softwood afforestation program. However, Malawi's annual rate of deforestation was 2.4% during 19902000. Sizable plantations of pine, cypress, and cedar have been established. Roundwood removals in 2004 were estimated at 5,621,000 cu m (198,400,000 cu ft), of which 91% went for fuel.

MINING

Quarrying for limestone and other building materials was the major mining activity in Malawi, but gemstones, including agate, amethyst, aquamarine, garnet, rhodolite, rubies, and sapphires, have also been produced, on a small scale. In 2004, a total of 21,224 metric tons of limestone (for cement) was produced. A total of 1,820 kg of gemstones were extracted in 2004, down from 2,297 kg in 2003. Also produced in 2004 were dolomite, lime, and crushed stone for aggregate, as well as possibly clays, sand and gravel, and other stone. The country had known deposits of apatite, asbestos, bauxite, columbium (niobium), corundum, dimension stone (including blue and black granite), galena, gold, granite, graphite, ilmenite, kaolin, kyanite, mica, monazite, phosphate rock, pyrite, rutile, tourmaline, uranium, and vermiculite, which have occasionally been exploited. Prospecting for other minerals has been undertaken, but no resources of commercial significance have been discovered, except for coal, bauxite (28.8 million tons), kaolin (14.1 million tons), silica sand (25 million tons), and monazite and strontianite (11 million tons in Kangankunde Hill). Mining and quarrying accounted for 1% of GDP in 2004. The mining sector in 2003, grew by 23.5%. No minerals were among the leading export commodities. The outlook for Malawi's mineral industry was tied to the country's ability to spur exports, improve educational and health facilities, solve environmental problems of deforestation and erosion, and deal with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS.

ENERGY AND POWER

Malawi, as of 1 January 2005 had no known petroleum, or natural gas reserves. Nor does it have any oil refining capacity. However, the country does have small recoverable reserves of coal.

In 2004, demand for petroleum products averaged 6,000 barrels per day, all of which was imported. There was no recorded demand or imports of natural gas in that year. Low-grade bituminous coal reserves were known about for many years, but mining did not begin until the last decades of the 20th century. Malawi has recoverable coal reserves of about 2 million short tons, reported as of July 2005. In 2003, coal consumption came to 0.02 million short tons.

Both the consumption and the production of electric power are small, even by African standards. Installed capacity, as of 1 January 2003 totaled 308,000 kW, the bulk of which is hydroelectric. In 2002, hydropower accounted for a little more than 93% of capacity, with conventional thermal plants accounting for the rest. In 2003, electric power output totaled 1.30 billion kWh, with demand that year at 1.21 billion kWh.

INDUSTRY

After a decade of rapid expansion11% average growth per year in the 1970sthe pace of manufacturing growth slowed to 3.6% during 198090, and during 19902000, to 1.7%. In 2004, industry accounted for 19% of GDP.

Although Malawi's manufacturing sector is small, it is diverse. The processing of tea, tobacco, sugar, coffee, cement, and cotton accounts for most of its output. Factories manufacture soap, detergents, cigarettes, furniture, cookies, bread, blankets and rugs, clothing, and mineral waters. Other installations include a gin distillery, a cotton mill, and two textile plants. Brick making is well established. Roofing tiles are also produced, and radios are assembled. Other products made in Malawi include agricultural implements, bicycle frames, polishes, edible oils and fats, cattle foodstuffs, flour, matches, fishing nets, rope, twine and yarns, toiletries, and footwear. Two plants in Malawi retread tires, and its industries make a wide range of metal products.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Research stations for tea, tobacco, and other aspects of agriculture conduct their activities under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture. The Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources maintains forestry and fisheries research units. The University of Malawi includes Bunda College of Agriculture and Kamuzu College of Nursing, both at Lilongwe; Malawi Polytechnic and the College of Medicine at Blantyre; and Chancellor College at Zomba, which has a faculty of science. The Geological Survey of Malawi, founded in 1921, is headquartered in Zomba. The Medical Association of Malawi, founded in 1967, is headquartered in Blantyre.

In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 27% of college and university enrollments. In 2002, high technology exports were valued at $1 million, 3% of the country's manufactured exports.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Domestic trade is concentrated in the larger towns, since transportation of goods to most rural areas is difficult and most rural residents have extremely low incomes. Agriculture is the basis of the economy, with about 90% of the population employed in subsistence farming. Local markets and stands for produce and baked goods prevail.

A small manufacturing sector is located near Blantyre, which is the country's major commercial center. There are a few larger supermarkets and grocery stores in Lilongwe, but with limited inventories. Karonga and Nsanje are the main trading ports. Zomba is a regional commercial center for agriculture. Licenses are required for all persons engaged in trading; fees vary with the nature

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 457.0 723.5 -266.5
South Africa 58.6 291.1 -232.5
United States 58.2 24.1 34.1
Kenya 37.5 9.2 28.3
United Kingdom 36.7 39.0 -2.3
Germany 33.3 10.4 22.9
Netherlands 31.5 4.1 27.4
Japan 26.5 30.2 -3.7
Egypt 17.9 17.9
France-Monaco 15.1 4.2 10.9
Belgium 13.6 8.9 4.7
() data not available or not significant.

of the business. In 2005 inflation was about 15.4% a decline from a high of 22.7%. Per capita GDP was at about $600 in 2004.

Business hours are 7:30 or 8 am to noon and 1 or 1:30 pm to 4:30 or 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and 7:30 or 8 am to noon or 12:30 pm on Saturday. Banks are open weekdays from 8 to 12:30 pm (to 11:30 am on Wednesday and 10:30 am on Saturday).

FOREIGN TRADE

Malawi mostly exports tobacco (66%). Other commodity exports include tea (7.6%), sugar (6.0%), coffee (4.0%), and woven cotton fabrics (2.5%). Tea is sold primarily to the United Kingdom while sugar exports go to the EU and the United States.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Malawi runs an annual deficit on current accounts, which is generally mitigated but not annulled by capital inflows, mostly in the form of development loans.

The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that in 2005 the purchasing power parity of Malawi's exports was $364.1 million while imports totaled $645 million resulting in a trade deficit of $280.9 million.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Reserve Bank of Malawi was established in Blantyre in 1964. It took over, by stages, the functions in Malawi of the former Bank of Rhodesia and Nyasaland until that bank wound up its affairs in June 1965. The main duties of the Reserve Bank are to maintain currency stability and to act as banker to the government and to the commercial banks. The Reserve Bank administers exchange control and acts as registrar for local registered stock. The Reserve Bank also handles the issue of treasury bills on behalf of the government.

Malawi's financial services are unsophisticated and basic. Aside from the central bank, there are five licensed commercial banks, which are dominated by the two government-owned banks, the National Bank of Malawi and the Commercial Bank of Malawi. In 1999, the NBM was 48% owned by Press Corporation Limited (PCL), and 39% by ADMARC; CBM was 23% owned by PCL, 22% by the Malawi government in direct shareholding, and 17% by the Malawi Development Corporation. The Malawi government owns MDC, ADMARC, and is PCL's largest shareholder (49%). As of 31 March 1999, total assets of the five banks reached about $300 million. The other three commercial banks are the First Merchant Bank Limited, the Finance Bank of Malawi, and Indefinance.

The Investment and Development Bank of Malawi (Indebank), formed in 1972 with foreign and local participation, provides medium- and long-term credit. Although the country's financial market has been liberalized, the sole mortgage finance institution, the New Building Society (NBS), which came into operation at independence in March 1964, faces no competition. The New Building Society's assets stood at $244.5 million in 1995.

A subsidiary of Indebank, the Investment and Development Fund (Indefund), finances small and medium-sized enterprises. The Malawi Development Corporation (MDC), which services the needs of large-scale industry, is state-owned. The Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) was restructured in 1994 and licensed as a commercial bank, the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB). Other major financial institutions include Loita Investment Bank, the Leasing and Financing Co. of Malawi (LFC), the Malawi Rural Finance Company (MRFC), and the Finance Corporation of Malawi (FINCOM).

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $136.1 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $268.3 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 46.8%.

The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) was established in December 1994 along with Stockbrokers Malawi to deal with listed company shares and to act as a broker in government and other securities

Current Account -200.7
     Balance on goods -150.8
         Imports -573.2
         Exports 422.4
     Balance on services -172.5
     Balance on income -38.5
     >Current transfers 161.1
Capital Account
Financial Account 134.0
     Direct investment abroad
     Direct investment in Malawi 5.9
     Portfolio investment assets
     Portfolio investment liabilities
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets
     Other investment liabilities 128.1
Net Errors and Omissions 156.7
Reserves and Related Items -90.0
() data not available or not significant.

approved by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM). The stock exchange had no listings until November 1996, when shares in NICO were put up for sale. Since November 1994, the RBM has marketed Treasury bills of varying maturities (30, 61, 91, and 182 days) in an attempt to encourage greater participation by the private sector.

INSURANCE

Most insurance firms operating in Malawi are owned or sponsored by parent companies in the United Kingdom. However, the leading company, the National Insurance Co. (NICO), is owned by Malawi interests. There were seven insurance companies in operation in 1997. Motor vehicle insurance is compulsory.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Government revenues derive from import duties, income taxes on companies and individuals, income from government enterprises, excise duties, licenses, and value-added taxes. The fiscal year runs from 1 April to 31 March. Government consumption, which had an average annual growth rate of 7.0% during the 1980s, declined by 4.0% annually during the 1990s, and by 9.5% in 1998. Education, health, and agriculture were the three biggest items on the budget for 2000.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Malawi's central government took in revenues of approximately $844.6 million and had expenditures of $913.9 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$69.3 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 208.6% of GDP. Total external debt was $3.284 billion.

TAXATION

Individuals pay taxes on all income from Malawi, whether they are residents or nonresidents. Most operating businesses are required to prepay estimated tax on a quarterly basis. The corporate income tax in 2005 was 30%. Branches of foreign companies were taxed at 35%, but reduced rates applied to insurance businesses (21%), and to ecclesiastical, charitable or educational institutions or trusts (25%). Companies operating in export processing zones (EPZs) are exempt from corporate tax, and companies operating in priority areas can qualify for a ten-year exemption, followed by a reduced 15% tax rate, when the exemption expires. Other tax allowances are offeredfor mining companies, for manufacturers, for exports, for training, among othersas investment incentives. Royalties, rents, fees and commissions are subject to a 20% withholding tax. Interest from banks is also subject to a 20% withholding rate if the interest is over 10,000 kwacha.

The income of individuals and partnerships is taxed according to a graduated scale with rates from 030%. For 2004, the government introduced a new top rate of 40%, and raised the threshold for taxable income from 30,000 kwacha to 36,000 kwacha (about $340 to $410). Municipal taxes are based on property valuations.

Malawi's main indirect tax is a 17.5% value-added tax (VAT) which applies to goods and selected services, including luxury goods and electronics, as well as imports.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Trade licenses are required for the import and export of certain goods, including military uniforms, wild animals, some food, and military equipment. Malawi is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), granting trade preferences to member states. The country also has bilateral trade agreements with Zimbabwe and South Africa, granting the duty-free exchange of goods.

In 1998, the government eliminated export taxes on tobacco, sugar, tea, and coffee. Machinery, basic foodstuffs, and raw materials are admitted with a 105% tax. In July 1999, the maximum tariff rate was reduced from 30% of value to 25%. Tariffs on intermediate goods and raw materials were reduced from 10% to 5% and from 5% to 0%, respectively.

Luxury goods are assessed at higher rates than ordinary consumer items. Excise duties are levied for revenue purposes on spirits, beer, cigarettes and tobacco, petroleum products, and certain other items.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

The government actively encourages foreign investment, particularly in agriculture and in import-substitution and labor-intensive industries. Incentives such as exclusive licensing rights, tariff protection, and liberal depreciation allowances are offered. These incentives also include a tax allowance of 40% for new buildings and machinery, 20% for used buildings and machinery, and a 100% deduction for a manufacturing company's operating expenses for the first two years. Other incentives are: no import duty on heavy goods vehicles, raw materials for manufacturing, a maximum import tariff rate of 25%, no withholding tax on dividends, and tax holidays. Exporters do not have to pay the normal taxes or import duties. Repatriation of dividends and profits are freely permitted.

Encouraged by the formation of the Malawi Development Corp. and the implementation of a development plan, foreign investment increased in the mid-1960s. A sugar scheme on the lower Shire River was financed to a great extent by foreign investment, as were a distillery and a brewery. In 1987, Lever Brothers, Portland Cement, and David Whitehead and Sons had industrial plants in Malawi. The large plantation enterprises were originally established with capital largely from the United Kingdom. Exploration for oil under Lake Malawi began in 1999 but has not yielded any positive results so far.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malawi was $22 million in 1997, but rose to $70 million in 1998. Annual FDI inflow averaged between $45 million and $60 million for the period 1999 to 2001.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

During the first decades of independence, agricultural development was emphasized. The government sought to implement this policy by providing the family farmer with basic agricultural support facilities, such as extension services, training, irrigation, and research, and by increasing the output of fertile areas through farm credit, marketing, and processing facilities. During this period, four major agricultural developments were sponsored: the Shire Valley Agricultural Development Project in the south; the Lilongwe Land Development Program and the Central Region Lakeshore Development Project, both in the Central Region; and the Karonga Rural Development Project in the north.

More recently, improvements in the transportation infrastructure, especially in roads, have been emphasized. In the manufacturing sector, the government has stressed diversification. With major constraints on its foreign exchange, Malawi aims to reduce the trade gap, encourage exports, and reduce government expenditures.

The United Kingdom has traditionally been Malawi's principal aid donor. South Africa has been a significant source of aid as well, especially in financing construction in the capital at Lilongwe and the railway extension from Lilongwe to Mchinji. Other significant aid donors have included the European Union, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, the United States, Denmark, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank/IDA. In 1998, Malawi started a six-month International Monetary Fund (IMF) macroeconomic program aimed at reigning in the almost 60% inflation rate, with little success as of 1999.

In 2000, Malawi was approved for $1 billion in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, to support poverty reduction efforts through expenditures on health, education, and rural development, among other areas. Also in 2000, Malawi negotiated a three-year $58 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement with the IMF, which was to expire in December 2003. In September 2002, the IMF approved $23 million in emergency relief to support large imports of food due to shortages that year, and to fight malnutrition and starvation, particularly among those affected with HIV/AIDS. Recent government initiatives have targeted improvements in roads, and with participation from the private sector, improvements in railroads and telecommunications.

A new three-year PRGF was signed with the IMF, worth $56 million, which commenced in July 2005. The main aim of the new PRGF is to restore fiscal discipline, with the priority on reducing domestic debt. The signing of the new PRGF increased the probability that Malawi will reach completion point around mid-2006 under the IMF-World Bank heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative. Once this completion point is reached a reduction in debt stock will be awarded by the IMF-World Bank. However, as the Economist Intelligence Unit states, various criteria need to be achieved before this can occur. First, the government needs to have its first two PRGF reviews concluded successfully by the end of January 2006. Second, it needs to have achieved one year of successful implementation of the poverty reduction program, which could be met by the end of 2005. Third, it must complete 11 specific completion point triggers, which would take a minimum of one year. However, the most important thing is that donors have resumed financial assistance to Malawi following the recent IMF deal, with the UK Department of International Development the first to resume funding of £20 million ($37 million) for budgetary support.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Pensions systems exists for public employees only. Government hospitals and clinics provides some medical services free to residents. Employers are required to obtain private worker's injury insurance. Worker's compensation is provided for disability and survivor benefits.

The constitution specifies equal rights for women and minorities, but women face widespread discrimination in the home and in employment opportunities. Spousal abuse is common, and the authorities rarely intervene. Inheritance practices often leave widows without their share of the family's assets. Women are much more likely to be illiterate than their male counterparts. In 2004 the government addressed women's concerns, focusing on gender balance in political representation.

Some human rights abuses continued to occur under the democratic government. The use of excessive force and the mistreatment of prisoners is reported. Human rights organizations are free to operate openly and without restrictions.

HEALTH

Health services, which rank among the poorest in Africa, are under the jurisdiction and supervision of the Ministry of Health and are provided to Africans free of charge. Approximately 80% of the population had access to health care services. As of 2004, it was estimated that there were fewer than two physicians 100,000 people. In 2000, 57% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 77% had adequate sanitation. Access to safe water and sanitation at times has been severely impeded by war.

The major health threats are malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, dysentery, and bilharzia. Hookworm and schistosomiasis are widespread. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 14.20 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 900,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 84,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003. Malawi has taken an aggressive approach to AIDS prevention and allocates a substantial portion of its health budget on treatment.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 37.13 and 23.2 per 1,000 people. About 31% of married women were using contraceptives as of 2000. The infant mortality rate in 2005 was 96.14 per 1,000 live births. The major cause of infant death in Malawi is diarrheal disease. The maternal mortality rate was 580 per 100,000 live births. An estimated 48% of children under five years old were considered malnourished. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were: tuberculosis, 100%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 95%; polio, 94%; and measles, 87%. Life expectancy was 41.43 years in 2005.

HOUSING

About 90% of the population live in rural areas. The traditional dwelling, used by anywhere from 4565% of the total population, is a single-family home made of mud brick walls and a thatched roof. There are some more permanent structures, which are made with concrete, stone, or burnt brick walls and iron sheet, concrete, or asbestos roofs. Most dwellings have two or three rooms and the average household size is about 4.3 people. In 1998, at least 86% of dwellings were owner occupied. Only about 2.5% of residences had access to indoor piped water. Most drinking water was taken from boreholes, unprotected wells, and/or rivers and streams. About 74% of the population (both urban and rural) used pit latrines. About 22% had no toilets at all. Only 4.9% of the population had access to electricity. Wood is typically used for cooking fuel and paraffin is used for lighting.

Government-built houses are either rented or sold. The Malawi Housing Corp. has also developed housing plots in order to relocate urban squatters.

EDUCATION

Control of education, including mission schools, is in the hands of the Ministry of Education. Attendance is compulsory for eight years at the primary level. Secondary education lasts for four years. The academic year runs from September to July.

As of 1999, 69% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school. Most children in remote rural areas do not attend school. In 2003, secondary school enrollment was about 29% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 71% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 70:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 46:1.

The University of Malawi, inaugurated at Zomba on 6 October 1965, has four constituent colleges at Zomba, Lilongwe, and Blantyre. A new medical school was established in Blantyre. In 2003, less than 1% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 64.1%, with 74.9% for men and 54% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6% of GDP, or 24.6% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The Malawi National Library Service, founded in 1968, has more than 804,000 volumes and maintains a nationwide interloan system with headquarters in Lilongwe, regional branches in Blantyre, Mulanje, Luchenza, Mzuzu and Karonga, and a number of smaller rural libraries and library centers. The largest library is that of the University of Malawi (375,000 volumes). The US Information Agency maintains a small library in Lilongwe, and the British Council has libraries in Blantyre and in the capital. The National Archives are in Zomba and contain 40,000 volumes.

The Museum of Malawi (1959), in Blantyre, has a collection displaying the nation's archaeology, history, and ethnography. The Cultural & Museum Center Karonga serves as a museum of natural history, including dinosaur fossils and other prehistoric remains. Other museums include the Lake Malawi Museum in Mangochi and a regional museum in Mzuzu. There is also a postal museum in Namaka housed in a traditional postal carrier's rest hut.

MEDIA

In 2003, there were an estimated eight mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 17,400 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 13 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Radio broadcasting services were provided in English and Chichewa by the state-owned Malawi Broadcasting Corp. over two stations in 2004. The same year, there were 14 private FM stations with limited coverage, including 6 religious stations. State-owned Television Malawi was he only national television broadcaster. In 2003, there were an estimated 499 radios and 4 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 1.5 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 3 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

The Daily Times, published in English in Blantyre, appears Monday through Friday and had a circulation of 22,000 in 2002. The other major daily publications were Computer Monitor, Michiru Sun, The Enquirer, and U.D.F. News (United Democratic Front). The Malawi News, a weekly, had a circulation of 30,000. Other weeklies include The Independent, The Nation, and The New Express.

Though previously strictly controlled by the government, the media enjoy new constitutional provisions suspending censorship powers. The government is said to respect these new provisions.

ORGANIZATIONS

The Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has its headquarters at Blantyre. A branch of the British Medical Association has been organized in Zomba. In the larger towns, musical societies and theater clubs have been established.

The League of Malawi Women and the League of Malawi Youth are active. Other national youth organizations include the Catholic Students Community of Malawi, Malawi Young Pioneers, Student Alliance for Rural Development, and the Student Christian Organization of Malawi. A variety of sports associations are also active.

Service clubs include the Rotary, Lions Clubs, and the British Empire Service League. Some social welfare and economic development groups have organized under the umbrella of the Council for Nongovernmental Organizations in Malawi, established in 1985. International organizations with active chapters include the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, and the Red Cross.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Tourist facilities are improving with the development of Malawi. The major cities and resorts are not as limited as the smaller, rural areas. The main tourist attraction in Malawi is Lake Malawi; the visitor is well served there by hotels and recreational facilities. There are also eight-day excursions around the lake available. Game parks, Mt. Mulanje, and Mt. Zomba also attract the tourist trade.

In 2003, there were 420,911 tourists who arrived in Malawi, almost 21% of whom came from Mozambique. Tourist receipts totaled $43 million that year. Hotel rooms numbered 59,396 with 63,585 beds and an occupancy rate of 27% in 2002. The average length of stay was eight nights. A passport, proof of sufficient funds, and onward/return ticket are required for entry into Malawi. Upon entry, a 30-day visa is issued. Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers from infected areas.

In 2004, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Mangochi at $224; in Lilongwe, $180; and in Blantyre, $167.

FAMOUS MALAWIANS

The dominant historic political figure is Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (19061997). After a long period of medical practice in England, and a brief one in Ghana, he returned to Nyasaland in 1958 to lead the Malawi Congress Party. Following the declaration of a state of emergency, Banda was detained from March 1959 to April 1960. He became Malawi's first prime minister in 1963, and in 1966 he became Malawi's first president; he was named president for life in 1971 and ruled without interruption until ousted in a 1994 election mandated by constitutional reform. Bakili Muluzi (b.1943) was president from 19942004. Bingu wa Mutharika (b.1934) won a disputed election to become president in 2004.

DEPENDENCIES

Malawi has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Decalo, Samuel. The Stable Minority: Civilian Rule in Africa, 19601990. Gainesville, Fla.: FAP Books, 1998.

Democracy and Political Change in Sub-Saharan Africa. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Else, David. Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Oakland, Calif.: Lonely Planet, 1997.

Harmon, Daniel E. Southeast Africa: 1880 to the Present: Reclaiming a Region of Natural Wealth. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2002.

Kalinga, Owen J. M. and Cynthia A. Crosby. Historical Dictionary of Malawi. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2001.

McElrath, Karen (ed.). HIV and AIDS: A Global View. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Spring, Anita. Agricultural Development and Gender Issues in Malawi. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, Inc., 1995.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Malawi

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Malawi
Region: Africa
Population: 10,385,849
Language(s): English, Chichewa
Literacy Rate: 58%
Number of Primary Schools: 3,706
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 5.4%
Libraries: 7
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 2,887,107
  Secondary: 141,911
  Higher: 5,561
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 134%
  Secondary: 8%
  Higher: 1%
Teachers: Primary: 49,138
  Secondary: 3,172
  Higher: 531
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 59:1
  Secondary: 22:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 127%
  Secondary: 12%
  Higher: 0.4%

History & Background

Malawi is a landlocked nation that shares its borders with Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia. About the size of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania or 118,484 square miles in area, Malawi straddles Africa's third largest inland lake, Lake Malawi. Large plateaus, about 4,100 feet high, and mountains, roughly 8,200 feet in height, dominate much of the landscape.

In 2001, Malawi's population was 10,386,000 people. This population has doubled since 1977 when it was 5,547,460. Most of these individuals lived in the south and central regions, which foster more economic activity and jobs, since these regions are blessed with fertile land and adequate rain. The dominant Chewa tribe lives in central Malawi and the next largest tribe, the Nyanja, lives in the fertile south of Malawi, where commercial farming is big business. An estimated 3,500,000 Malawians make up the active workforce. The annual population growth rate has slowed to 1.61 percent due to a combination of AIDS, malaria, and premature death due to malnutrition. A high incidence of disease is attributable to diets low in nutrition, insufficient medical care, and low levels of sanitation, except in large cities. Many Malawi citizens rely on traditional herbs and healers for cures to ailments. Life expectancy at birth is only 37 years. The infant mortality rate is 122 per 1,000, and there is 1 doctor for every 47,634 Malawians.

Malawi's population is overwhelmingly rural, as 86 percent of Malawians live in rural areas. In rural areas, rights and duties are defined by tradition. Conformity and cohesion are emphasized, and honor grows with age. Money and a cash economy are however changing rural communities. Population pressure on land also forces change, and long periods of absence by men who work in distant cities are making rural cultures change as women, children, and the elderly cope with their absence. Despite these changes, family, kinship, territory, and tribe are the glue that bind rural society together. About 14 percent of Malawians live in cities. Lilongwe replaced Zomba as the nation's capital in 1974 and has a population of 395,000 people. Blantyre, Livingstonia, Mzuzu, and Chiromo are also important urban centers.

Approximately 90 percent of Malawians belong to the Chewa ethnic group. The remaining 10 percent belong to the Nyanja, Lomwe, Yao, Nguni, Tumbuka, Sena, Tonga, Ngonde, and other ethnic groups. Europeans, Asians, and other racial groups compose less than 1 percent of the population but exercise considerable economic influence. More than 50 percent of Malawians speak Chinyanja, which former president Banda renamed Chichewa when he made it the national language. Many Malawi Africans speak Chichewa at home, and more than 80 percent understand it. Both Chichewa and English are considered national languages. An estimated 55 percent of the population is Protestant, 20 percent Roman Catholic, 15 percent follow Islam, and the remaining 5 percent practice indigenous religions.

The per capita income is $940 dollars per year. Malawi's economy is growing at 4.2 percent per year, which is down from 6.0 percent in 2000. Inflation is at 4.05 percent, but this is down from 83.3 percent in 1998. Malawi's natural resources include limestone, uranium, coal, and bauxite. Its major agricultural products are tobacco, tea, sugarcane, cotton, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, pulses, livestock, and tea. The industrial sector processes tobacco into cigarettes, sugar refineries, sawmills, cement factories, and consumer goods. It has 17,600 miles of roads, which helps it take its produce to market for sale, 498 miles of railroads, 44 airports, and 55,000 cars and trucks. Individuals 18 and over are eligible to vote. The government is a multi-party democracy, and the major political parties are the United Democratic Front, the Malawi Congress Party, the Alliance for Democracy, and others. The adult literacy rate is 58 percent, and education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 14. Malawi has 1 Internet service provider and 37,400 telephones.


Historical & Political Background: The name "Malawi" is derived from the word "Maravi," who were a Bantu speaking people who migrated to Lake Malawi in the fourteenth century and developed a large confederation. Oral tradition states that these people were the ancestors of today's Chewa and Nyanja people who constitute Malawi's majority today. Portuguese explorers and adventurers were the first Europeans to visit this area but they never colonized it. The Portuguese confined their colonizing activities to coastal regions of Mozambique and traded with Africans from Malawi. The Scottish explorer and missionary zealot, Dr. David Livingstone arrived in Malawi in 1859 while searching for the source of the Nile River. He did not find the origin of the Nile in Malawi but he did find fertile ground for converts to Christianity. Many Christian missionaries followed him to "conquer Malawi for Christ," as they said. Ngoni tribes from South Africa had migrated to Malawi and were devastating Malawi during Livingstone's first visit. They engaged in chronic warfare as they attempted to dominate local Malawi Africans. In this environment the slave trade flourished. Fighting was constant, local African tribes were ravaged and subjugated, and Livingstone asked the British to intervene to put an end to slavery. Great Britain established a protectorate and called the area Nyasaland in 1891. They outlawed slavery and ended the chronic fighting by establishing a Pax Britannia. The region's tropical climate, the absence of mineral wealth, and limited economic opportunities for Europeans meant that very few whites settled in Malawi. Its record of development thus differed remarkably from those of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, which had mineral wealth, fertile land, and few diseases that debilitated Europeans. Those areas by contrast attracted large white settler populations, huge investments, and rapid modernization.

The first sign that colonial rule was in trouble in Malawi occurred in 1915. The reverend John Chilembwe and his followers rose up against European settlers, but they were quickly suppressed by European military technology. Civil unrest did not die rather it went underground. It emerged again in 1944 in the guise of the Nyasaland African Congress. This was Malawi's first nationalist movement. Agitation for independence culminated in independence in 1964, under the leadership of Ngwazi ("Great Lion and provider"), Dr. Hastings Banda. The former Federation of British Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolved. By July 6, 1966, the sovereign democratic Republic of Malawi emerged. Despite loud objections from other African leaders, Banda opened diplomatic and trade relations with the apartheid regime then ruling South Africa in 1967. Many Africans considered Banda a sellout. Some even went as far as to call him a traitor. Banda also Africanized the civil service and jobs in private industry but at such a slow pace that it infuriated many Africans and pleased the European and Asian communities who benefited from the slow pace of change. By 1971, Banda became the first African head of state to visit apartheid South Africa and recognize their legitimacy. However, Malawi later joined the Southern African Development Co-ordinating Conference (SADCC) which sought to reduce the dependence of countries throughout southern Africa on South Africa. By 1971, after declaring himself "president for life," and it had become clear that he was a ruthless dictator. He frequently purged his cabinet and ruled through the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), which he controlled with an iron fist. His secret police were universally feared, and his Malawi Young Pioneers eliminated potential rivals. In 1976, he recognized the communist-backed Angolan government in preference to the South African-backed conservative forces of Jonas Savimbi. Malawi never recognized South Africa's Bantustans or Homelands as independent states, despite Malawi's cordial relations with the apartheid regime.

The suppression of opposition created a sense of stability. Until 1979, Malawi's economy grew annually at 6 percent or better, but this wealth went to a small elite who blindly supported Banda. Most of the wealth came from large agricultural estates, which were controlled by white settlers in the past but were currently owned by elite Africans or the state. Industries that process agricultural products thrived in Malawi. However, 85 percent of Malawians farmed 5 acres of land or less. Rural over-crowding led to soil erosion and depletion. Land shortage, soil depletion, low prices paid to farmers for their produce, and a lack of agricultural inputs, such as loans, fertilizers, and insecticides, led to widespread unrest by 1992. Migration to South Africa, mostly by the Tumbuka tribes who were forced to leave their northern land to make money due to farming problems, helped Malawi overcome high unemployment and limited wage employment internally. The country became dependent, however, on remitted wage income that financed imports and contributed cash to rural households with few sources of income.

Forced into exile, most opponents of the government lived abroad until 1992 when Roman Catholic bishops openly criticized the government for human rights abuses and encouraged 60 exiles in Zambia's capital to stage a protest. Detention without trial, torture, and assassination suppressed internal dissent. Union unrest, rioting, and agitation by Chakufwa Chihana for multi-party elections led to reform. The United Nations monitored a referendum on the introduction of multi-party rule on June 14, 1993, which UN representatives monitored. The 63.5 percent of the people of Malawi voted to end one-party rule, despite massive efforts to intimidate them by the MCP.

Opposition to Banda's dictatorial rule led to the first official multi-party election on May 17, 1994. Bakili Muluzi was elected president, ending Banda's 30-year dictatorial rule of Malawi. In 1997, Banda and key associates were put on trial for political murders, but were acquitted. Banda died in 1997 and was given an official state funeral with full military honors. Bakili Muluzi's United Democratic Front (UDF) party has ruled Malawi from 1994 to the present. President Muluzi and his vice-president, Justin Malewezi, aimed to alleviate poverty and ensure food security, as well as to combat corruption and mismanagement of resources. Three prisons, notorious for human rights abuses, were closed. Political prisoners were granted amnesty and all death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. The unequal distribution of land and labor migration remain major challenges for Malawi, as does violence in Mozambique, which spills over into Malawi periodically. As Mozambique repairs its war-damaged communications, industries, roads, railroads, bridges, ports, and airports, Malawi's export economy improves. Many of the 600,000 Mozambican refugees who have lived in Malawi for decades are returning to Mozambique. This too helps Malawi's economy to perform better. Mozambique has reopened its ports of Beira and Nacala, which facilitates Malawi's export strategy. Malawi pays small farmers better prices for their crops as an incentive to increase production. Unfortunately this policy has failed to halt or reverse the decline in rural standards of living due to land shortages and declining production exacerbated by overcrowding.

Educational Background: Traditional African cultures emphasized careful observation, imitation, and memorization of lessons passed down from one generation to the next through a system of age-graded education and socialization. Western-styled schools were established in Malawi by Christian missionaries. While traditional culture competed for the attention of African youth, Islam has never penetrated Malawi and thus did not compete with Christianity. This made westernizing Malawi's African population much easier. At first missionary schools focused on basic reading, writing, and counting. The aim was to help Africans learn to read the Bible in order to reinforce Christian beliefs and values. The British government was happy to allow missionaries to dominate education because it was cost effective. In a poor colony that was not producing much income for Britain, costs were major concerns. Malawi's British colonial administrators merely supervised Christian missionary schools from 1920 onward. Not long after African Christians became westernized, a few opened their own schools from 1930 onward. In both cases money for the salaries of teachers and administrators were generated from school fees and voluntary donations given locally and from abroad. Government financing for schools began in 1963, when Malawi's outgoing colonial government financed 22 primary schools.

The Anglican church of England set up schools on the eastern shore of Lake Malawi (then known as Lake Nyasa) in 1880. Many primary schools were established, along with training institutes for nurses, hospital attendants, and midwives. Roman Catholics created missions from 1889 on, when the White Fathers first established missions. The Catholic Church discovered that schools attracted many new converts. Thus, Catholics built many schools in Malawi and won many converts in turn. By 1970, Catholics ran more than 1,000 schools, 6 teacher training colleges, several hospitals, and 2 leprosy clinics.

The American based Phelps-Stokes Fund conducted a survey of education in Malawi in 1924. The outcome was recommendations for educational reform. These included greater efforts to educate females, the expansion of primary education, and improved teacher training. The pattern of education was 4-3-3, meaning that primary school students attended school for four years. If they succeeded, they attended advanced primary school for three more years. Upon successful completion of both of these levels they advanced to junior high for three additional years. The age ranges were from 5 years to 20, since many entered school late due to farm duties. In addition, although most students finished the entire sequence in 10 years, some students took much longer given home responsibilities, scarcity of funds to pay school fees, and other constraints.

By 1927, Malawi had 2,788 schools, which were staffed by 4,481 teachers, many of whom were poorly trained or even unqualified. That same year Malawi established its first Board of Education, district school committees, and later in 1930 Advisory committees were established to control educational expenditure. In 1938, educational ordinances were revised to enable the governor to decide the composition of the Advisory Committee, and influence the creation of new schools. The government was concerned about local African groups opening schools with no idea of how to pay for ongoing maintenance, teachers' salaries, or other recurrent budget matters. Instruction was in the vernacular, as was Bible instruction, because this allowed western ideas to penetrate African society faster than was possible using English, which was foreign to many and difficult to understand. In this manner elementary arithmetic, reading, and writing spread among the African population.

After World War II, the Colonial government of Malawi determined that control over education and new rules for teaching service were important goals. By 1949, the British Colonial Office decided to reward Africans for loyal military service during World War II by offering two additional years of post primary education. This program was designed to prepare Africans for work in the Civil Service. After 1950, the system followed a 5-3-4-2 pattern. In other words Africans attended primary school, followed by senior primary school, then a four year secondary or high school that culminated in the Cambridge Higher School Certificate, and for a few advancement to a two year Advanced or "A" level specialized course that is comparable to Junior College. In 1963, this pattern changed to 7-5 pattern.

Following the break up of the Central African Federation in 1963, the Malawi Colonial government decided to assume responsibility for schools. Overnight most schools were transformed into public schools backed by the government. They inherited 2 secondary schools and 26 primary schools. The minister of education assumed responsibility for all schools in Malawi and inspected them through district committees of not more than 12 individuals who were controlled by the district commissioner. Church run schools continued, but played a far less important role in education. Two church-run secondary schools existed at Blantyre and Zomba. Europeans were permitted to maintain exclusively European schools, with the agreement that they would fully integrate in the future. Some saw the shifting of the burden of education onto the government just prior to independence as support for white minority regimes in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. The more money that free Africans were forced to spend on education and agriculture, the less that was available for arms or military training for freedom movements. Despite major investments in education, not more than 35 percent of Malawi's children attended primary school prior to independence.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

The 1966 Malawi Constitution does not specifically mention education. The Malawi Congress Party, however, was committed to "see that all children who go to Primary School finish their primary education without let or hindrance." In other words, in Malawi, education is a privilege granted to students, but it is not a constitutionally guaranteed right. Rulers feel free to withdraw or withhold it if students oppose them or cause trouble.


Educational SystemOverview

The Ministry of Education has oversight responsibility and sets academic standards for all schools in Malawi. This includes primary, secondary, technical schools, teacher training institutes, agricultural colleges, correspondence colleges, business schools, polytechnic institutes, and the university. The university and Polytechnic Institute are in fact autonomous, but tradition now dictates that they come under the authority of the Ministry of Education. Adult education programs operated by ministries like the Defense, Agriculture, and the Interior are autonomous.

When Banda ruled education was a privilege given to a select few. Large numbers of Malawians were denied basic education. Today, primary education is universal and compulsory. Students enter school at age six and remain for eight years. Secondary education begins when students reach 14 years of age. It lasts for four years and is divided into two sets of two-year courses. By 1995, the total enrollment in primary and secondary schools was roughly 100 percent of school aged youth (males 106 percent and females 94 percent). Secondary enrollments still lag with 21 percent of males and 12 percent of females attending for an overall enrollment of 17 percent. Efforts are underway to expand educational opportunities. Free primary education was introduced in 1994. This led to a dramatic increase in primary school attendance, but it also caused overcrowding in many schools and a decline in the quality of education. Malawi recognizes these problems and is making efforts to fix them. For instance, in 1996, the International Development Association granted Malawi $22 million to train 20,000 new teachers to handle all the new students who are crowding into the schools. The African Development Bank also earmarked money for new school construction for primary and secondary schools in Malawi in 1997.

In 1995, Malawi had 3,706 primary schools, which were staffed by 49,138 primary school teachers. There were 2,887,107 primary school pupils of whom 1,528,564 were males and 1,358,543 were females. Opportunities are limited to attend secondary schools because throughout the Banda era an elitist attitude prevailed, i.e., only the rich, the best, and the brightest were encouraged to attend secondary school. All other students were pushed into vocational training or forced to farm the land. Although there are few secondary schools, they are of very high quality. The exact number of secondary schools is not available but there were 2,948 secondary school teachers in 1995, teaching 139,386 students. Of these students, 90,003 were male and 49,383 were female. There were 145 teachers who staffed teacher-training institutes, and they taught 1,471 potential new teachers, of whom 996 were males and 475 were females. Vocational schools were staffed by 79 teachers, who taught 1,054 vocational students. No breakdown by sex was available for vocational students. Malawi had 6 universities in 1995, which were staffed by 329 professors. They taught 3,872 students of whom 2,917 were male and 955 were female (UNESCO: Statistical Yearbook 1995). Other institutions of higher learning were staffed by 202 teachers and had 1,689 students studying administration and other subjects. Of these 959 were male and 730 were female. As of 1997 Malawi spent 2,111 kwacha on education or 20.4 percent of the budget. In 2001 the adult illiteracy rate was 58 percent (males 28 percent and females 58 percent), despite compulsory education between the ages of 6 and 14.

Academic years begin in September and end in June. There are 3 primary school teacher-training colleges, each of which enrolls roughly 500 students. Missions also operate other teacher training institutes with about 600 students. Primary school teachers are trained at the lower secondary level in teacher-training colleges where courses last two years. Selection for entry is by interview. Primary education begins at age six and consists of two cycles, i.e., Standard 1-5 and Standard 6-8. Many students are above the average age, and 16 percent repeat a grade. The dropout rate is high but declining. Chichewa is the language of instruction in most primary schools up to Standard 4. From Standard 5 on, English is the language of instruction. The central government pays teachers salaries, provides grants, and collects any authorized school fees to cover operating expenses.

Secondary school teachers are trained at the postsecondary level at Chancellor College, which offers a three year course that leads to a diploma in education, as well as a five year course culminating in a bachelor's degree in education. Technical teachers are trained jointly at the Polytechnic and Chancellor's College. Four-year secondary school courses are divided into two components. The first leads to a Junior Certificate (JC), and the second leads to a Malawi Certificate of Education (MCE), which is required for admission to the university. Completion of both levels is equivalent to finishing the "O" or Ordinary Level in the British system of education of high school in the American system.

Entry into the nursing, primary teacher training, vocational training, or agricultural training programs demand as a minimum requirement that students have earned the Junior Certificate (JC). Each of these courses requires a minimum of two additional years of training. This excludes nursing, which demands three to four more years of schooling. All educational requirements are geared toward meeting the manpower needs of Malawi, which are determined by the Ministry of Education.

Both the colonial British legacy and the legacy of former president Banda left Malawi with a large adult population that was illiterate. While attacking the problem, officials in Malawi recognize that this continues to be a stumbling block along the road to development and modernization. In 1980, there were 1,802,000 illiterates in Malawi. Of these, 559,000 or 36.3 percent were males and 1,243,000, or 72.7 percent were females. The total rate of illiteracy in 1980 was 55.5 percent. By 1990, the number of illiterates reached 2,369,000. The total illiteracy rate had fallen however to 48.1 percent because the population had grown rapidly. Of these 735,000 were males or 31.2 percent, and 1,634,000 or 63.7 percent were females. In 2000, the total rate of illiteracy in Malawi had fallen to 39.7 percent, but there were 2,296,000 illiterates of whom 718,000 or 25.5 percent were males and 1,577,000 or 53.3 percent were females. While the absolute number of illiterates has risen over time, the relative percentage of illiterates in Malawi's population has fallen. An encouraging trend is the decline in the percentage of women who are illiterate over time. Because women socialize children, this change should boost literacy rates in the future generations of Malawians.


Preprimary & Primary Education

Malawi makes no provision for preprimary education. Primary schools can be found in many villages and hamlets throughout Malawi. In 1970, there were approximately 2,000 primary schools that accommodated about 35 percent of primary school aged youth. About 12 percent of all primary school students attended private, predominantly church run schools. This percentage declined as the government took over the ever-growing number of schools. There are two main types of primary schools, namely assisted and unassisted schools. Assisted primary schools receive financial assistance from the central government. Some assisted schools are owned by missionaries, while others are owned by local education authorities. Unassisted schools can apply for financial aid if they meet Ministry of Education requirements for assistance.

In 1968, an estimated 88 percent of primary schools were run by religious missions who charged a fee for attendance. Some 5 percent of these students had scholarships. Primary schools were coeducational, and girls and boys attended classes together. In 1970 girls were 37 percent of all primary school students. Chichewa was the language of instruction, and English was also taught, along with geography, history, hygiene, arithmetic, and Bible studies. Some schools also introduced science and agriculture courses for Standards 6, 7, and 8. The Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) aired radio programs that reinforced regular school programs. Each school had one or two radios, but the use of radio broadcasts was voluntary. Local languages, such as Chitumbuka, were used for prayers, singing, and non-course work in the north. Promotion was based upon passing a general examination. At the end of Standard 4, all students had to pass exams in Chichewa, English, and arithmetic with a minimum score of 50 percent to advance to Standard 5.

To qualify to enter secondary school students had to pass an externally graded (graded outside of Malawi) examination and earn a primary school leaving certificate. In 1972, a total of 30,495 students took this examination and 21,232 or 69.6 percent of students passed. There were, however, only 3,500 seats in Malawi's secondary schools that year, which severely limited the number of students who could pursue a secondary school diploma. Dropout rates were of necessity very high.

Former President Banda introduced new syllabi for primary and secondary schools in 1972, which aimed to free the classroom from dependence on rote memorization. Active learning encouraged students to engage their material and solve problems creatively. In science classes emphasis was placed upon understanding and being able to use concepts rather than memorization. New math was also introduced for the same reasons. Parents complained that the new methods did not adequately prepare their children. They pointed out that their sons and daughters did not know English well enough to fill out simple job applications in English or to write letters or resumes. Banda reviewed these complaints and expressed contempt for the "new" methods. He considered them failures. Malawi's schools went back to the old methods of teaching, and students were forced to memorize multiplication tables and charts of elements for chemistry. They worked on preset science experiments and used conventional English readers. Long answer essay examinations were used to test students, and multiple choice examinations were dropped.

As agriculture was the mainspring of Malawi's economy, farmer training was therefore given priority in all vocational training, adult education, and supplemental education programs. Education gradually went from an elitist orientation, which benefited the few who went on to secondary school, to one that slowly began to address the needs of the many who would live, work, and die on farms. Agriculture as a subject was introduced into primary school syllabi in the 1970s. Teacher training was simultaneously expanded to insure that pupils were instructed by qualified teachers. In 1970 this was a problem since less than 20 percent of all primary school teachers had achieved the Junior Certificate (JC) level of education themselves.

Total enrollment of primary school-aged youth has shown impressive gains. In 1970 only 35 percent of youth enrolled in primary schools. By 1980 this number had increased to 60 percent (males 72 percent and females 49 percent). It jumped higher in 1990 to 68 percent (males 74 percent and females 62 percent) and in 1995 to 89 percent. In 2001, all primary school aged children were enrolled in school, since President Muluzi made it free and compulsory after 1994. Pressures of modernization dictate that every Malawian have at least a basic education if the economy is to be competitive in a global setting.

Net primary enrollments have risen from 43 percent in 1980, to 50 percent in 1990, and to 100 percent in 2001. Primary school enrollment of males has also risen from 48 percent in 1980, to 52 percent in 1990, and to 134 percent in 2001. The same is true for females whose enrollment jumped from 38 percent in 1980, to 48 percent in 1990, and to 94 percent in 2001. In 1980, Malawi had 12,540 primary school teachers. This number rose to 22,942 in 1990 and to 49,138 in 1995. The percentage of female teachers rose from 31 percent in 1990 to 39 percent in 1995. Moreover, the pupil to teacher ratio fell from 65 pupils per teacher in 1980, to 61 pupils per teacher in 1990, and to 59 pupils per teacher in 1995 (UNESCO 2000). Malawi has yet to reach its target of 50 pupils per teacher. New teacher training colleges, such as the facility at Mzuzu, are designed to insure that teachers have proper qualifications and that the quality of education does not decline as opportunities expand for students. The government hopes in the future to train enough teachers that missionary teacher training institutes can be phased out. Since only 15 percent of primary school pupils go on to secondary school, the curriculums of most primary schools now emphasize crafts and vocational and technical skills to prepare students for life and employment after leaving primary school.

Ministry of Education officials have adopted a 5-3-4 system of education. Model primary schools are built in each district to demonstrate to villagers how to construct schools based upon a standard approved design that are durable and affordable. They are also shown how to equip each school to meet curriculum requirements for sciences, mathematics, literature, and social studies. It is hoped that this will prevent costly mistakes that are difficult to maintain.


Secondary Education


As the cornerstone of economic development and entry into the modern sector of the economy, secondary education is very important in Malawi. Secondary education developed late in Malawi, as little effort or expense was devoted to it throughout the colonial era. The year before independence there were only 3,000 secondary school openings in the entire nation, and only 4 of the 17 secondary schools offered a full program leading to a secondary school certificate. These schools were concentrated in a few key locations.

Secondary school normally last four years. Agriculture is a compulsory subject for all students. Wood working, metal work, and technical drawing are encouraged for boys, and home economics is encouraged for girls. An elite Latin grammar secondary school named after former president Banda is called Kamuzu Academy. It is located in the Kasungu District and takes only those students who were the very highest achievers in Standard 8 from all 24 of Malawi's districts. This school prepares students to attend Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and the world's other best universities. Teachers are all carefully selected and have Latin as part of their background. During their first three years, every student must take Latin, English, and mathematics. They can choose to take other subjects including classics, history, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, economics, and modern languages, especially French. Kamuzu Academy students take the CHSC examination upon completion of Form IV and the Cambridge Senior School Certificate examinations upon completion of "A" levels or Form VI. Students at regular secondary schools take a similar course of studies, but without the Latin and extreme academic rigor. Regular secondary schools emphasize agriculture, wood working, metal working, and home economics more because they do not assume that 100 percent of their graduates will go on to universities. The idea is to give those who do not continue to an university some practical skills. In 1980, there were 66 secondary schools in Malawi. One of the biggest criticisms of secondary schools in Malawi is that they are too university-oriented. Few students continue on to college. Most instead immediately enter the workforce and need a different orientation. Secondary schools do not produce as many graduates as the labor market demands. This is especially true for females.

Most old secondary schools were boarding schools. Initially there were only a few secondary boarding schools, so students came from afar and needed to live at the school. Student completion rates at this time were 90 percent. Completion rates are currently by contrast 30 percent. Females are especially vulnerable to high dropout rates if they attend day schools. Girls in boarding schools have a 90 percent completion rate, but those attending day schools have a 25 percent completion rate and only 10 percent pass the MCE examination.

Malawi has five types of secondary school. There are aided boarding schools, aided day schools, government boarding-secondary schools, government day secondary schools, and private secondary schools. Most secondary teachers are qualified and hold either degrees or diplomas. Unqualified teachers are restricted to teaching civics, physical education, or the Chichewa language. There are shortages of teachers for English, mathematics, and the sciences.

Following independence the Banda government tried to equalize secondary school opportunities by building a government secondary school in each of Malawi's 21 administrative districts. These were day schools and far less expensive to run than the colonial styled boarding schools. This program brought the number of openings for secondary students up to 8,000 in 1967. In 1972, the number of places had expanded to 12,800 offered by more than 58 secondary schools. By 1980 some 5 percent of the secondary school-aged population attended secondary school (7 percent of the eligible males and 3 percent of the eligible females). This number increased to 8 percent of the population by 1990, representing 11 percent of eligible males, and 5 percent of eligible females. As of 1995, approximately 17 percent of the secondary school-aged population attended secondary school. Some 21 percent of eligible males and 12 percent of eligible females were enrolled in secondary schools. When pupil progression is examined, it is observed that of the students who began primary school only 10 percent reached secondary school by 1992. Although gross enrollment figures for 1980 and 1990 were 5 and 17 percent respectively, the net enrollment ratios were 39 and 73 percent respectively for the same years.

In 1980, there were 953 secondary school teachers. This number increased to 3,172 by 1995. In 1996, the pupil to teacher ratio was 16:1. Females made up 13 percent of all secondary school students by 1996, and 83 percent of girls were out of secondary school by 1996. Roughly 15.1 percent of secondary school students were forced to repeat a grade. There were 327,000 secondary school aged students out of school in 1980 but this number dropped to 250,000 by 1997, indicating that progress is being achieved in enrolling more students in secondary schools.

Classes are designated Form I-Form IV for the Ordinary or "O" level certificate, and Form V-VI for the Advanced or "A" level series of courses. Students desiring to enter a university in Malawi must successfully complete both their "O" level and "A" level courses. Many "A" level students take prequalification courses so that they can pass the London General Certificate of Education, which enables them to attend foreign universities. In general, after completing Form II, students take the Junior Certificate Exam if they wish to continue to Forms II and higher. In 1972, some 3,786 students took this test, and 2,807 or 74.1 percent passed it. Students finishing Form IV must take and pass the Malawi Certificate of Education to be admitted to Forms V-VI and local universities. In 1973, some 2,485 students took this exam, and 1,360 passed it with high enough marks to be awarded the full certificate and go on to Form V. Passing this exam does not admit students to the university. Students who successfully complete Form VI are awarded a higher school certificate which enables them to enter the university.

Technical education begins in primary school and continues through secondary school and university. Primary school students learn the rudiments of crafts, technology, and agriculture. More than 50 percent of all secondary schools offer technical education courses. Technical secondary schools and the polytechnic offer the most intense technical training. Government technical schools offer apprenticeship type training through a cooperation between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor and in cooperation with local industry. Popular technical courses include plumbing, brickwork, carpentry and joinery, automobile mechanics, general fitting, diesel fitting, sheet-metal work, and electrical work. The minimum entry requirement for such courses is the Junior Certificate. Trainees spend one year in a government technical school taking courses in residence. At the end of the year, they take an examination. Those who pass earn a Grade 3 National Trade Certificate. Successful trainees are then apprenticed to an employer in an indentured relationship for three years. Throughout this three year period, trainees spend nine months understudying a master of the trade they seek to master and three months of each year taking courses at a technical school. Depending on the level of excellence a trainee reaches, they take either a Grade 2 Trade Test or a Grade 1 Trade Test. Throughout their apprenticeship trainees are paid a wage at a rate fixed by the government. Employers are refunded in full by the government for all expenses.

Assisted technical schools are owned by missionary organizations and managed by a board of governors who get annual government grants for their schools. Although similar to government schools, trainees are not eligible for apprenticeships. These schools offer two-year residential courses up to the Grade 2 Trade Test level. Students learn brickwork, carpentry and joinery, and automobile mechanics.

Technician courses require a high pass on the Malawi Certificate of Education. Such students follow normal apprenticeship patterns, then take courses full time for one year at a polytechnic, which is then followed by three years of "industrial attachment." Trainees spend six months of each year in industry and six months at the polytechnic, where they can take the "City and Guild" examination, which is then graded in London.

Engineering diplomas can be earned by taking a three year university course at a polytechnic. Academic courses are taken, as well as technical subjects. The engineering program began in 1977 and is a six-year program aimed at producing high level professional engineers.

Malawi also operates Youth Training Centers, under the authority of the Malawi Congress Party. Such centers provide training in building and metal works as a reward to youth who are party loyalists. After finishing such courses, youth go into business for themselves in rural communities. Graduates know how to build a complete house and manufacture things like furniture, doors, windows, and cupboards. Their metalwork training prepares them to maintain and repair farm implements, hand tools, bicycles, oxcarts, and other items common in rural areas. Training at these centers lasts from one to two years. Although these centers do not have apprenticeship programs, they do offer pre-apprenticeship programs that allow successful graduates to transfer to government sponsored schools which offer apprenticeship programs.

Higher Education

All higher education in Malawi is ultimately controlled by the University of Malawi, which was founded in 1964. The university is located in Zomba, Malawi's former capital, which is now a university town. The vice chancellor and registrar run the university. The president is the chancellor, which is purely a ceremonial office. There are four constituent colleges, each of which has its own registrar. Bunda College specializes in agriculture; Chancellor College offers arts, education, sciences, social sciences, law, and public administration; Kamuzu College offers nursing, community health, mental health, maternal and child health care, and medical surgical nursing courses; and the Polytechnic College offers technical courses. The university also operates a hotel training college and a marine-training school. The university is governed by a council, whose members are appointed by the government. The faculty senate insures that academic matters are governed by professors. The university awards both degrees and diplomas, as well as certificates for short courses. Government grants pay for 91 percent of university costs and miscellaneous income accounts for the remaining 9 percent of the university's income.

Access to higher education is based on passing the Malawi Certificate of Education (MCE). A student must earn at least five credits, including English. This exam may be taken after completing eight years of primary and four years of secondary education. Students wishing to be accepted by the university must achieve excellent scores on these exams.

The first or bachelor's degree is normally earned after four years of concentrated study in residence. It takes five years to complete courses in law, education, agriculture, and commerce and six years to finish the full engineering program. Honors degrees are awarded in some subjects. A professional qualification is awarded as a diploma after three years of study.

A second stage or master's degree requires two years of full time study to complete. A third stage or doctorate degree is awarded after finishing three to five years of study beyond the master's degree, a successful defense of a thesis or dissertation, and at least six months in residence at the university

In 1990, approximately 4,829 students enrolled in universities in Malawi. Of these 26 percent or 1,352 students were females. In 1994, some 5,358 students were enrolled, and 30 percent were females. By 1996, there were 5,561 students enrolled in universities in Malawi, and the percentage of females held constant at 30 percent. As of 2000, only 1 percent of Malawi's population was enrolled in universities. Approximately 72 percent of all college students were pursuing degrees in education, 10.9 percent were taking degrees in the social sciences, 12.2 percent were pursuing science degrees, 3.9 percent were taking degrees in medicine, and 0.4 percent were pursuing degrees in the humanities. Given Malawi's growing need for high-powered labor, Malawi will be dependent on expatriate skilled labor far into the foreseeable future, unless the university system expands.


Nonformal Education


Education that prepares adults for specialized roles in the economy or on the job training is involved in non-formal education, as do general education outreach programs, adult literacy campaigns, and education on health and hygiene. The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers courses leading to certificates in forestry, fisheries, veterinary assistants training, agricultural extension agents, crop and livestock agents, and other certificate programs. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications offers certificate training in air traffic control, meteorology, automotive repair, fire and rescue training, post and telecommunications training, airline sales and reservations, and other certificates. The Ministry of Labor offers certificate programs in leadership and a variety of apprenticeship programs in various technical areas. The Ministry of Health prepares health assistants, dental assistants, health inspectors, paramedical personnel, nurses, nurses aides, and rural health assistants. The Ministry of Works trains its own artisans and technicians. The Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare offers certificate training in leadership, community development, homecraft, health and nutrition, childcare, and literacy trainers. The Ministry of Youth and Culture administers certificate training in metalwork, carpentry, business, agriculture, and clerical work. Adult literacy courses are offered nationwide to combat illiteracy, and the rate of adult illiteracy has declined as a result.

Teaching Profession

The Ministry of Education develops the curriculums used in Malawi's schools. They also oversee teacher training. Teachers take both pedagogical and academic courses. Supervised practice teaching is expected before gaining control of ones own classroom. Most teachers begin as primary school teachers in a demonstration school adjacent to teacher training facilities. Later, block teaching is tried during which the teacher trainee tries teaching a class on their own for six weeks.

There are three types of lecturers that teach potential teachers. There are graduate teacher educators, who chair most departments, as well as diplomate and nondiplomate assistants. There are two types of primary school teachers. The type 2 teacher holds a Malawi Certificate of Education (four years of high school), plus they have completed a two-year Teachers Certificate. A type 3 teacher holds a Junior Certificate (two years of high school), plus a two-year Teachers Certificate. Type 4 teachers have a primary education plus a Teacher's Certificate. Type 4 teachers are either being upgraded to type 3 teachers or being phased out of teaching. Type 1 is a promotional grade reserved for headmasters of school principals. Due to a shortage of qualified teachers, unqualified ones are often hired and allowed to attempt to pass the Junior Certificate Exam. They are given short inservice training courses to upgrade their knowledge base and skills.

Secondary school teachers are trained at the School of Education. This school awards three types of professional qualifications, which are the Diplomas of Education, Bachelor's of Education, and the University Certificate of Education. Secondary school teachers are in general better educated and better paid than primary school teachers. Prospective teachers enter as either degree or diploma candidates and follow the course of study for a general degree in education. Those taking diplomas continue for a third year of study and take courses in educational pedagogy, methodology, and the subject that they will eventually teach. Those taking a Bachelor's degree continue for a fourth year of study, which concentrates on their subject area, for example European History, as well as education courses. A fifth year of study allows these students to study educational methodology and to practice teaching.

A University Certificate in Education course is shorter and aimed at graduates without teaching qualifications who wish to become teachers none the less. Students take a three week intensive course and then teach classes for a year. Following this experience, they spend one more year in study at the School of Education where they take courses on education and methodology, which is followed by supervised practice teaching.

Technical teachers often train abroad at polytechnic institutes or locally. Most secondary school technical teachers train in England, while primary school vocational teachers train locally. The Ministry of Education offers a continuous stream of courses to upgrade and develop working teachers, especially unqualified teachers. Secondary school teachers take upgrading courses at the University of Malawi where they spend two years with pay while advancing their education. Unqualified teachers can earn a University Certificate of Education, and diploma teachers can transform themselves into graduate teachers by working for the two year Bachelor of Education degree. Short in-service courses are also offered by the Ministry of Education at their headquarters and regional offices. These courses teach teachers how the educational system works and help them to improve their teaching skills as well.

Most professors are expatriates. Malawi citizens who serve as professors constitute 30 percent of the university's faculty. In 1977 the university needed 170 professors, but 51 positions were vacant because they were difficult or impossible to fill due to funding and working conditions. A total of 87 of the 199 working faculty or 87 percent were expatriates. While 27 percent of the professorate were from Malawi and a further 48 percent were pursuing advanced degrees abroad, there is no guarantee that they will return due to the "brain drain" and higher salaries and better working conditions abroad. There is a need both to upgrade or develop personnel currently serving as professors and to train many more Malawi natives to fill these posts.


Summary

Despite many problems, Malawi's population is growing fast, and the long years of colonial oppression and oppression by the Banda regime have ended. A population hungry for basic education is finally receiving it since primary education is for the first time free and compulsory. Much work still remains to be done in terms of improving the quality of the primary schools and the education that they deliver to students in Malawi, but progress can be seen each year. Education no longer stresses academic preparation leading to access to secondary school and universities, rather the stress is now on agriculture and practical training since few students go on to high school or university and most begin work immediately after primary school. Secondary and university education have seen dramatic growth but neither educational sector comes close to meeting Malawi's educational needs for a well-trained labor force. This leaves Malawi dependent on foreign well-trained labor to fuel its advancement. Efforts are being made to correct this, but it is a problem that may take several decades to overcome, as the solutions will be expensive and difficult to realize. Assuming an absence of political violence and turmoil, Malawi's future looks brighter and more hopeful than at any other point in its past.


Bibliography


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Castro-Leal, Florencia. "Who Benefits from Public Education Spending in Malawi?" Discussion Paper Number 350. Washington DC: World Bank, 1996.

Clark, P.J. "Education and Environmenal Problems in Rural Malawi." Rural Africana, 1973.

Heyneman, Stephen. "The Evaluation of Human Capital in Malawi." Washington DC: World Bank.

Nelson, Harold. Malawi: Area Handbook. Washington DC: American University Press, 1975.

Pachai, Bridglal. Malawi: The History of the Nation. London: Longmann, 1973.

Pike, J. Malawi: A Political and Economic History. New York: Praeger, 1968.

Ramsay, E. Jeffress. "Malawi." In Africa: Global Studies. 9th Ed. 104-105. Guilford: McGraw-Hill, 2001.


Sturges, R.P. "The Political Economy of Information: Malawi Under Kamuzu Banda, 1964-94." International Information and Library Review 30(3): 185-201.


Tan, Jee-Peng. "User Charges for Education: The Ability and Willingness to Pay in Malawi." Working Paper Number 661. Washington DC: World Bank, 1984.

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Wood, A. "Training Malawi's Youth: The Work of the Malawi Young Pioneers." Community Development Journal, July 1970.


Dallas L. Browne

views updated

Malawi

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Malawi

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont.

Cities: Capital—Lilongwe. Other cities—Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu.

Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate: Predominately subtropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Malawian(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 12.5 million.

Annual growth rate: (2006) 3.3%.

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

Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.

Languages: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Enrollment (2004)—primary, 82%. Literacy (2004 est., age 15 and older)—64%.

Health: Life expectancy (at birth, 2005 est.)—40 yrs.

Government

Type: Multi-party democracy.

Independence: July 6, 1964.

Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Government branches: Executive—president (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, cabinet. Legislative—unicameral National Assembly (193 members). Although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate, in practice the legislative branch's upper house does not exist. Judicial—High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts.

Political subdivisions: 28 districts.

Political parties: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, ruling party) United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), New Republican Party (NRP), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), People's Progressive Movement (PPM), People's Transformation Party (PETRA), and Congress for National Unity (CONU). MCP and UDF are the two main opposition parties in parliament.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years of age.

Central government budget: 2005/06 $991.6 million (MK 119 billion).

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $2.1 billion.

Annual real GDP growth rate: (2004) 4.6%; (2005 est.) 2.1%.

Per capita GNI: (2005 est.) Approx. $150.90.

Avg. inflation rate: (2005) 15.4%; (2006) 11%.

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture: (approx. 34.7% of GDP) Products—tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land—34%, of which 86% is cultivated.

Industry: (19.4% of GDP) Types—tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Trade: (2005 est.) Exports—$578 million: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners—U.S., U.K., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports—$1.066 billion: food, petroleum products, semimanufac-tures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany.

Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.

GEOGRAPHY

Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about 20% of Malawi's area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometers (250 mi.) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley, the land forms high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 ft.) above sea level. In the north, the Nyika Uplands rise as high as 2,600 meters (8,500 ft.); south of the lake lie the Shire Highlands, with an elevation of 600-1,600 meters (2,000-5,000 ft.), rising to Mts. Zomba and Mulanje, 2,130 and 3,048 meters (7,000 and 10,000 ft.). In the extreme south, the elevation is only 60-90 meters (200-300 ft.) above sea level.

Malawi is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most densely populated countries. The population of Lilongwe—Malawi's capital since 1971—exceeds 400,000. All government ministries and the parliament are located in Lilongwe. Blantyre remains Malawi's major commercial center and largest city, having grown from an estimated 109,000 inhabitants in 1966 to nearly 500,000 in 1998. Malawi's President resides in Lilongwe. The Supreme Court is seated in Blantyre.

Malawi's climate is generally subtropical. A rainy season runs from November through April. There is little to no rainfall throughout most of the country from May to October. It is hot and humid from October to April along the lake and in the Lower Shire Valley. Lilongwe is also hot and humid during these months, albeit far less than in the south. The rest of the country is warm during those months. From June through August, the lake areas and far south are comfortably warm, but the rest of Malawi can be chilly at night, with temperatures ranging from 5°-14°C (41°-57°F).

PEOPLE

Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago. On reaching the area north of Lake Malawi, the Maravi divided. One branch, the ancestors of the present-day Chewas, moved south to the west bank of the lake. The other, the ancestors of the Nyanjas, moved down the east bank to the southern part of the country.

By AD 1500, the two divisions of the tribe had established a kingdom stretching from north of the present-day city of Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River in the south, and from Lake Malawi in the east, to the Luangwa River in Zambia in the west.

Migrations and tribal conflicts precluded the formation of a cohesive Malawian society until the turn of the 20th century. In more recent years, ethnic and tribal distinctions have diminished. Regional distinctions and rivalries, however, persist. Despite some clear differences, no significant friction currently exists between tribal groups, and the concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to take hold. Predominately a rural people, Malawians are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent.

The Chewas constitute 90% of the population of the central region; the Nyanja tribe predominates in the south and the Tumbuka in the north. In addition, significant numbers of the Tongas live in the north; Ngo-nis—an offshoot of the Zulus who came from South Africa in the early 1800s—live in the lower northern and lower central regions; and the Yao, who are mostly Muslim, live along the southeastern border with Mozambique.

HISTORY

Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than 1 million years, and early humans inhabite the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Negro and Bushman people. Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow, formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. Other missionaries, traders, hunters, and planters soon follow

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 Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Yao word for “lake”). Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 1900s, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. A growing European and U.S.-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active—first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence in the United States (where he had obtained his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937), the United Kingdom (where he practiced medicine), and Ghana. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison for his political activities but was released in 1960 to participate in a constitutional conferenc in London. On April 15, 1961, the MCP won an overwhelming victory in elections for a new Legislative Council. It also gained an important role in the new Executive Council and ruled Nyasaland in all but name a year later. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.

Dr. 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 Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first President.

In 1970 Dr. Banda was declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi under authoritarian control until the 1990s. 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 either a multi-party democracy or the continuation of a one-party state. 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. The President was referred to as Dr. Muluzi, having

received an honorary degree at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1995. 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. On June 15, 1999, Malawi held its second democratic elections. Dr. Bak-ili Muluzi was re-elected to serve a second 5-year term as President, despite an MCP-AFORD alliance that ran a joint slate against the UDF. 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. The UDF, however, did not win a majority of seats in parliament, as it had done in 1994 and 1999 elections. 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. President Bingu wa Mutharika left the UDF party on February 5, 2005, citing differences with the UDF, particularly over his anti-corruption campaign. He formed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shortly thereafter, attracting a number of UDF and independent members of parliament (MPs) to his new party. The DPP, however, has also failed to acquire enough support for a majority in parliament, and continues to face stiff opposition from both the UDF and the MCP in parliament. Meanwhile, many politicians are already looking ahead to the next general elections in 2009, with Muluzi, Tembo, and Mutharika all expected to campaign for president.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different 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 house, 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, a Supreme Court of Appeal, and a constitutional court. Local government is carried out in 28 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 multiparty 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.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Pres.: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA

Vice Pres.: Cassim CHILUMPHA

Min. of Agriculture & Food Security: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA

Min. of Economic Planning & Development: Ted KALEBE

Min. of Education & Human Resources: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA

Min. of Factories & Technology Development: John KHUMBO CHIRWA

Min. of Finance: Goodall GONDWE

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Intl. Cooperation: Joyce BANDA

Min. of Gender, Child Welfare, & Community Services: Kate KAINJA-KALULUMA

Min. of Health: Marjorie NGAUNJE

Min. of Home Affairs & Internal Security:

Min. of Information & Civic Education: Patricia KALIYATI

Min. of Irrigation & Water Development: Mohammed SIDIK MIA

Min. of Justice & Constitutional Affairs: Henry PHOYA

Min. of Labor & Vocational Training: Anna KACHIKHO

Min. of Lands, Physical Planning, & Surveys: John KHUMBO CHIRWA

Min. of Local Govt. & Rural Development: George CHAPONDA

Min. of Mines, Natural Resources, & Environmental Affairs: Henry Chimunthu BANDA

Min. of National Defense: Bob KHAMISA

Min. for Presidential & Parliamentary Affairs: Davis KATSONGA

Min. of Social Development & Persons With Disabilities: Clement KHEMBO

Min. of Statutory Corporations & Civil Service: Elizabeth AIPIRA

Min. of Tourism, Wildlife, & Culture: Callista CHIMOMBO

Min. of Trade & Private-Sector Development: Ken LIPENGA

Min. of Transport & Public Works: Henry MUSSA

Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Khumbo KACHALI

Min. of State in the Office of the Pres.: Richard MSOWOYA

Attorney Gen.: Jane ANSAH

Governor, Reserve Bank: Victor MBEWE

Ambassador to the US: Bernard SANDE

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Steve MATENJE

Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270; fax 202-721-0288). Malawi's Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located at 866 UN Plaza, Suite 486, New York, NY 10017 (tel.: 212-317-8738/ 8718; fax: 212-317-8729; e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]). Malawi also maintains an Honorary Consulate in Los Angeles at 44970 Via Renaissance, Temecula, California 92590 (office number, 951-676-2476; fax number, 951-676-1568; and e-mail, [email protected]).

ECONOMY

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Malawi has few exploitable mineral resources. Its two most important export crops are tobacco and tea. Traditionally Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize, and during the 1980s exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbors. Agriculture represents 34.7% of the GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labor force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts).The agricultural sector contributes about 63.7% of total income for the rural population, 65% of manufacturing sector's raw materials, and approximately 87% of total employment. Financial wealth is generally concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Malawi's manufacturing industries are situated around the city of Blantyre.

Malawi's economic reliance on the export of agricultural commodities renders it particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as declining terms of trade and drought. High transport costs, which can comprise over 30% of its total import bill, constitute a serious impediment to economic development and trade. Malawi must import all its fuel products. Paucity of skilled labor; difficulty in obtaining expatriate employment permits; bureaucratic red tape; corruption; and inadequate and deteriorating road, electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure further hinder economic development in Malawi. However, recent government initiatives targeting improvements in the road infrastructure, together with private sector participation in railroad and telecommunications, have begun to render the investment environment more attractive.

Malawi has undertaken economic structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other donors since 1981. Broad reform objectives include stimulation of private sector activity and participation through the elimination of price controls and industrial licensing, liberalization of trade and foreign exchange, rationalization of taxes, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and civil service reform.

In May 2004, the IMF program begun in 2000 was canceled and a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) was implemented. In the wake of questions about fiscal creditability, the SMP's goal was to give Malawi's newly-elected government the chance to establish a track record of fiscal discipline. A new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) was approved on August 5, 2005 after a successful SMP. In August 2006 Malawi successfully reached the completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, resulting in debt relief from multilateral and Paris Club creditors. Over $2 billion in debt has since been cancelled, enabling the government to increase expenditures for development. A new PRGF has since been undertaken.

Real GDP increased by an estimated 2.1% in 2005, from 4.6% in 2004 and 3.9% in 2003. Inflation has been largely under control since 2003, averaging 10% in that year and 11% in 2006. Discount and commercial lending rates have also declined from 40%-45% in 2003 to 22.5% currently. The government has moved away from controlling the exchange rate, allowing the Kwacha to drift since down since March 2005. As of April 2007 the Kwacha had depreciated to 139 to the U.S. dollar. Nevertheless, imports still heavily outweigh exports, and the country continues to suffer from a severe shortage of foreign exchange.

Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with its two major trading partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which allow duty-free entry of Malawian products into their countries.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Malawi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi's close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.

Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi's economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of “first country of asylum.” Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so, would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.

Important bilateral donors, in addition to the U.S., include Canada, Libya, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.

Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, African Union, Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Non-aligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.

U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region's problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the first southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and has joined the successor program, African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States has a substantial foreign assistance program in Malawi. The U.S. Government provides about $60 million annually in development assistance under USAID's Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2001-2007. The primary goal of USAID assistance is poverty reduction and increased food security through broad-based, market-led economic growth, focusing on four areas: sustainable increases in rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, improved health behavior and services, and improved quality and efficiency of basic education. The USAID program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Malawi, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other U.S. Government agencies, U.S. private voluntary organizations, contractors, and other partners.

USAID's program to increase rural incomes includes training and technical assistance to increase smallholder (crop, dairy, forest, and fishery) productivity; foster additional trade linkages among small farmer producer associations, larger commodity-specific industry clusters, and export markets (e.g. cassava, chilies, ground nuts, cotton, coffee, etc.); improve access to demand-driven financial services for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs); increase rural households’ revenues from sustainable natural resource management; and improve food security for vulnerable families in Malawi's rural areas. USAID is also encouraging smallholders to diversify into dairy production, a very lucrative business in Malawi and well-suited to Malawi's limited land area. USAID grantee Land O’Lakes (LOL), partnering with World Wide Sires, continues to promote the growth of the dairy industry in Malawi through 55 dairy associations with over 6,376 members (46% of which are women). Milk sales grew by 71% this year, from U.S. $439,276 in FY 2004 to U.S. $752,000.

2005 was a year of transition for the Democracy/Governance portfolio. The primary focus was on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold Country Program development process in Malawi, which resulted in a $20.9 million award to Malawi to fight corruption and increase fiscal responsibility. U.S Economic Support Funds (ESF) complemented the MCC Threshold Country Plan formulation, providing technical and training support to the Anti-Corruption Bureau Investigation Department, delivered by the Department of Treasury. USAID also mobilized a project supported with Conflict Mitigation and Management funding, building on the strength of previous work through radio, to reduce the potential of inter-religious conflict in Malawi. During the year many projects associated with the Mission's previous strategy closed out and another project was terminated for the convenience of the government to accommodate changes in partner funding priorities.

In 2005 the USAID Health Team met or exceeded almost all of its targets. Under-five mortality rates declined from a high of 189 per thousand live births in 2000 to 133 per thousand live births in 2004—much lower than the 2005 target of 175 per thousand. Total fertility rate (TFR) declined to 6 children per woman, which was the target for 2005. The proportion of Malawian children sleeping under an insecticide treated bednet (ITN) (26% in 2004) was more than three times the proportion (8%) sleeping under an ITN in 2000. In the area of HIV prevention, the number of USAID-assisted counseling and testing centers increased from 3 in 2000 to 51 in FY 2005—overshooting the target of 39 sites. The number of clients assisted at these sites per year increased from about 22,000 in 2000 to more than 59,000 in 2005. The country completed a national Demographic and Health Survey with major support from USAID/Malawi. The report makes available the first-ever nationally representative population-based HIV sero-prevalence rate for Malawi, which is important for better-informed policy and program decisions as the nation combats the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Improving the quality and efficiency of basic education remain the major development challenges in the Malawi education system. USAID continues to fund activities that target quality and efficiency at the primary education sub-sector level, which is having a positive effect at both the local and national levels. At the local level, USAID-funded activities are helping communities and parents make more informed decisions to improve the quality and efficiency of primary schooling. In 2005 USAID continued to improve the quality and efficiency of basic education through: (1) development of teachers’ professional skills through long-term undergraduate and graduate training in Malawi and the U.S.; (2) reinforcement of innovative classroom practices through pre-service and in-service teacher training; (3) participation of communities and teacher training colleges in HIV/ AIDS outreach activities; (4) support of Government of Malawi adoption of key policy reforms in teacher education and HIV/AIDS; and (5) improving the quality and quantity of data available for policymaking.

The United States is the largest contributor to the World Food Program (WFP) in Malawi, providing over $100 million in food and other emergency assistance through WFP since early 2002. USAID will coordinate requests to the U.S. Government for humanitarian assistance, and WFP will handle the logistics of import and distribution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services: (DHHS) operates two programs within Malawi: Global AIDS Program (GAP) and Malawi Malaria Program (MMP).

The CDC GAP office started in November 2001 with an emphasis on establishing long-term working relationships with the Malawi Government, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The major areas of focus during the initial phase included strengthening Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), HIV surveillance, evaluation, infrastructure, and capacity-building activities. GAP Malawi supports multiple HIV surveillance activities including sentinel surveillance and the Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) survey. In partnership with NAC, CDC GAP continued to strengthen VCT, developing multiple national VCT building blocks such as VCT Guidelines and VCT Training materials. CDC GAP also improved the communications and data analysis capacity at NAC by helping to establish their computer system and establish the foundation for data analysis.

In 2003, responsibility for the HIV technical activity was transferred from NAC back to the MOH. CDC awarded two cooperative agreements to provide transitional support for a smooth transfer of activities, roles and responsibilities. In addition, GAP has cooperative agreements that support implementation of quality VCT, HIV treatment, and pre-service training to strengthen HIV testing capacity. Capacity-building is an integral part of all GAP Malawi activities. GAP Malawi recently went through a joint HIV/AIDS strategy development process, along with USAID, the Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and the Embassy.

The CDC MMP is jointly funded by USAID and CDC has evolved to provide more support to the national prevention and control program. CDC MMP has supported the work of the National Malaria Control Pro-gramme in developing the country strategic plan for Roll Back Malaria (RBM), developing the national “Malaria Policy,” developing guidelines for the management of ITNs Program, and participating in other national program activities.

The Blantyre Integrated Malaria Initiative (BIMI), a program of CDC MMP, is a district-wide malaria-control effort, supported jointly by the Government of Malawi, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BIMI was established in Blantyre District, Malawi in 1998 to promote sustainable and effective strategies to manage and prevent malaria-related morbidity and mortality. Initial BIMI efforts focused on measurement of baseline data at health facilities and in the community. The information gathered was used to identify gaps in malaria control activities, to guide strategies for implementation of interventions, and to provide baseline measurements so that the success of program interventions can be monitored.

Peace Corps

The first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Malawi in 1963. Under the conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the “nonconformist” role of some volunteers but was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the Government of Malawi. In total, over 2,200 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Malawi.

The change of government in 1994 allowed the placement of volunteers at the community level for the first time. With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working to refocus programming and identify more appropriate areas for Peace Corps intervention at the community level. Currently, there are about 100 volunteers working in health, education, and environment.

Health volunteers work in areas of AIDS education, orphan care, home-based care, youth and at-risk groups, child survival activities, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health, and women's health issues. For many years, Peace Corps/Malawi had the only stand-alone HIV/AIDS project in the Peace Corps, and HIV/ AIDS continues to be the cornerstone for health activities.

Education volunteers teach in the fields of physical science, mathematics, biology, and English at Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs), generally community-started and -supported entities.

Environment volunteers focus on community-based management of natural resources with border communities near national parks and forest reserves that want to utilize their resources in a more sustainable manner. This includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, income-generating activities, and agroforestry interventions.

The Crisis Corps program utilizes returned volunteers in short-term assignments for specific projects related to HIV/AIDS and food security. Crisis Corps volunteers are generally assigned with a local NGO to assist with activities that build capacity and develop materials within the organizations.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

LILONGWE (E) Area 40, Plot No.24, Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, 265-1-773-166, Fax 265-1-772-316, Workweek: 0730-1700 Mon-Thurs.; 0730-1330 Fri/no lunch, Website: http://lilongwe.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Ellen R. Bremenstul
AMB OMS:Susan M. Hamric
CDC:Austin H. Demby
ECO/COM:Daniel N. Daley
FM:David A. Wall
MGT:L. Eric Lindberg
POL ECO:Daniel N. Daley
AMB:Alan W. Eastham
CON:Janice M. Barnett
DCM:Kevin K. Sullivan
PAO:John E. Warner
GSO:Daniel E. Slaven
RSO:Maureen I. McGeough
AFSA:Alisa Cameron
AGR:Ryan P. McMullen
AID:Curt Reintsma
CLO:Samara L. Sanders
DAO:Ltc. Ltc Ryan McMullen
EEO:Karla R. Blunt
FMO:Karla R. Blunt
ICASS:Chair Curt Reintsma
IMO:Joseph J. Farina
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (Paris)
ISO:Alex B. Kim
POL:John C. Letvin
State ICASS:Curt Reintsma

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 20, 2007

Country Description: Malawi is a developing landlocked country in southern Africa. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas.

Entry Requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required. U.S. citizens traveling to Malawi for tourism, business, or transit can obtain a visa at the airports or border points of entry. A 30-day visa, which can be extended up to an additional 60 days, is issued at point of entry. There is an airport departure tax, which is payable only in U.S. dollars, for all non-Malawians. For the most current visa information, contact the Embassy of Malawi at 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005, telephone (202) 721-0270.

Safety and Security: Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affair's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Even though Malawi is known as “the warm heart of Africa,” there is a criminal element present. Most crimes against Americans involve property. Carjacking and residential break-ins are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well-armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country.

American citizens are urged to avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as armed muggings and assaults have increased. Specifically, expatriates have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several Americans have been injured. Even when walking in a large group, city streets should be considered unsafe after dark. Pedestrians should be cautious even during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request that hotel or restaurant management call a taxi or car service.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities are rudimentary and most local medical providers do not speak English fluently. Medications are not consistently available; many American medications are not available at all. For any major medical problems travelers should consider obtaining medical treatment in South Africa where advanced medical care is available. Purchasing medical evacuation insurance before travel is strongly recommended. Health care institutions and providers require payment (primarily cash) at the time of service, and may even require payment before service is given. Minimal specialized care is available in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Food borne illnesses such as travelers’ diarrhea, giardiasis and hepatitis A occur commonly. Travelers are urged to avoid tap water, ice cubes and unsterilized raw fruits and vegetables. Bottled water is recommended for drinking and food preparation.

Schistosomiasis (also known as Bil-harzia) and malaria are endemic in Malawi. Malaria prophylaxis is strongly advised, and initiating prophylaxis prior to traveling is recommended. Visitors should consult their physicians to learn about prophylaxis and the possible side effects of various available medications. In addition, other personal protective measures such as the use of insect repellents help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what anti-malarial medications they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and anti-malarial drugs, please visit the CDC travel health web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel.

Trypanosomiasis (African Sleeping Sickness) is transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly common to game parks in Malawi. Due to the potential complications of treating the disease, confirmed cases are medically evacuated for treatment.

HIV infection is endemic in the population. Travelers are advised to take appropriate precautions to limit the risk of transmission through blood or sexual contact. Tuberculosis is prevalent as well. Caution should be exercised if visiting crowded settings for prolonged periods of time, especially public hospitals and prisons. Other health risks include typhoid, tetanus, and rabies. Vaccination for these diseases is advised. Additionally, cholera outbreaks have been reported in crowded villages with poor sanitation but are rare in cities.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malawi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Malawi's principal highways are generally in good condition, although safety hazards include the lack of road shoulders, frequent potholes and bicyclists. Secondary roads are in poor repair and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the rainy season (November-April). Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Given Malawi's high road accident rate, travelers should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Police roadblocks are common and properly documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Foreigners intending to remain in Malawi for an extended period of time are expected to obtain a locally-issued driver's license.

Motor vehicle accidents are of great concern due to atypical road hazards. There are no medical facilities that provide comprehensive emergency care comparable to U.S. standards. Travelers should always wear seatbelts, minimize driving at night, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For specific information concerning Malawi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. on (202) 721-0270. For international driving permits contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Malawi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Wild animals may pose a danger. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, wild animals can pose a threat to life and safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities. There are a limited number of ATMs in Malawi that accept Visa, Master-card and international ATM cards.

Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Malawi's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malawi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Malawi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration web site so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security within Malawi.Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe; telephone numbers are (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi add “0” before the “1”); fax (265) 1-774-976 (if dialing within Malawi add “0” before the “1”). The Embassy's mailing address is PO Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

International Adoption

April 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Adoptive parents must foster a prospective adoptive child for 24 months in Malawi before an adoption may be finalized.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Malawi is the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services. Persons interested in adopting from Malawi should contact:

Mary Khonje
Social Welfare Officer
Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare
and Community Services
P/Bag 330
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Phone +265-(0)1-77-04-11 x.247

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. Both married and single persons may adopt. However, single men may not adopt female children unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, justifying an exception.

Residency Requirements: Adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi to adopt.

Time Frame: Malawian law requires a lengthy pre-adoption foster care period (at least two years).

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Malawi. For information regarding home studies, interested parties should contact the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3 or telephone 01-770-411. The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe maintains a list of English-speaking attorneys http://lilongwe.usembassy.gov/ainformation.html. The Embassy assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the individuals or of the firms whose names and addresses appear in the list.

Adoption Fees: On average, depending on the complexity of the case, the fees for a lawyer range between $350 and $500. Court filing fees and Registrar fees for the new birth certificate are under five dollars. The Malawian passport fee is approximately $30.

Adoption Procedures: Prospective adoptive parents often identify a child for adoption through local churches, orphanages, hospitals or missions. They then need to retain a lawyer to handle the application. The lawyer files a petition with the Magistrate Court of the district in Malawi where the adoptive parents reside. Once that is done, the Court chooses a social worker to be the child's “Guardian ad Litem” who investigates the circumstances of the prospective adoptee(s) and submits a Court Social Report (a home-study) to the High Court.

The Guardian ad Litem monitors the adoptive family during the 24 months by making home visits. After the 24 month foster care period is completed, the Court will rule whether the adoption can be finalized. The 24-month period starts from the time the child is placed in the home of the adoptive parents.

Required Documents: Malawi adoptions are governed by the country's Adoption of Children Act. Proof of the identity and nationality of the adoptive parents, a competed home-study and proof that the child is eligible for adoption are required. Adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian of the child who has custody of the child or who is likely to contribute to the support to the child.

Embassy of the Republic of Malawi
2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-797-1007

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 30016
16 Jomo Kenyatta Road
Lilongwe 3
Tel: 265-773-166 Fax: 265-774-976 http://lilongwe.usembassy.gov

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Malawi may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

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MALAWI

Republic of Malawi

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Malawi is located in southeast Africa, landlocked between Mozambique to the east and south, Zambia to the west, and Tanzania to the north. Malawi is separated from Mozambique and Tanzania to a large extent by Lake Malawi, which lies on the country's eastern edge. The immense extent of this lake (the third largest in Africa), which accounts for 20 percent of Malawi's 118,480 square kilometers (45,745 square miles) of total area, means that despite Malawi's inland location, the country has a sizeable coastal area.

Slightly smaller than Pennsylvania in area, Malawi's long, narrow shape was determined in part by the elongated plateau on which it sits and in part by British imperial whim. Mt. Sipitwa, the country's highest point, reaches 9,850 feet. The capital of Malawi is Lilongwe (pop. 442,000, 1999 est.); other urban centers include Blantyre (pop. 486,000, 1999 est.) and Mzuzu (pop. 88,000, 1999 est.).

POPULATION.

A mid-2000 estimate of Malawi's population placed it at 10,385,849. Malawi's demographics, however, are complicated by the AIDS pandemic, which tends radically to skew its statistics. Hence the life expectancy at birth of the average Malawian is a very low 37.58 years. The proportion of the population under age 20 is 57 percent, and infant mortality runs to 122.28 deaths per 1,000, one of the worst in the world (the birth rate is 38.49 per 1,000). Despite a fertility rate of 5.33 children born per Malawian woman, population growth is only 1.61 percent per annum. Not all of this is attributable solely to AIDS, as disease and chronic malnutrition are also major causes of mortality. The scale of AIDS' impact can be understood, however, if Malawi's population figures are set against those, for example, of Madagascar, where the average lifespan is nearly 50 percent longer, the death rate is a mere third as high, and overall population growth is doubled. The United Nations estimated in 1999 that around 16 percent of all Malawians between the ages of 15 and 49 were HIV/AIDS infected. In the same year, the disease claimed 70,000 lives, with urban areas worst affected. The economic fall-out has been disastrous.

With 90 percent of Malawi's population living in rural areas, cities and towns have traditionally played a small part in the nation's life. This, however, is showing signs of changing, and between 1987 and 1998 the urban population grew by 4.7 percent.

Ethnically, Malawi is a tribal federation principally of Chewa, Tumbuka, Yao, and Ngoni peoples, and to a lesser extent Nyanja, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, and Ngonde tribes, as well as various Asian and European groups. The national language (besides English) is Chichewa, with Chitumbuka predominating in the north. Religiously, 55 percent are Protestant, 20 percent Roman Catholic, 20 percent Muslim, with the remainder holding various indigenous beliefs.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

One of the least developed countries in the world, Malawi remains fundamentally dependent on international aid, of which it receives about US$400 million annually. Attempts to turn its economy towards greater productivity and self-sufficiency face heavy obstacles at almost every level. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are working with the Malawian government to improve economic growth through a program of privatization and other reforms. But progress will be difficult, due to a variety of problems that plague the country, including inadequate infrastructure and Malawi's dependence on fuel sources such as coal and firewood.

An overwhelmingly agrarian (farm-based) nation, at 44 people per square mile Malawi is also one Africa's most densely populated countries, and pressure to use available land is intense. This has not only led to serious deforestation as new land has been cleared for cultivation, but ever greater subdivision of existing farming plots. In 1986-87 the World Bank calculated 55 percent of rural households survived on less than 1 hectare of land; by 1993, estimates put this number at 78 percent. The consequences have included decreasing incomes and long-term environmental degradation. Since most of Malawi's agricultural income comes from its independent smallholders (individual farmers), this poses a serious problem.

Over-dependence on agriculture also leaves Malawi exposed to the region's erratic rainfall pattern, as well as to fluctuating world markets. Malawi's primary cash crop is tobacco, and without diversification, it will continue to be exposed to changes in the world tobacco market. Growth has therefore been irregular as Malawi's economic fortunes have bounced up and down. Although hitting annual GDP growth levels as high as 10 percent (1995), long-term growth has been considerably slower, averaging 3 percent between 1980 and 2000. Disciplined budget planning is difficult, and the resulting economic instability deters foreign and private-sector investment. Further, the country faces a substantial foreign debt , which continues to hold back efforts at prioritizing infrastructure improvements that are required for Malawi to achieve the 6 percent growth that, according to World Bank estimates, is necessary if poverty levels are to be reduced.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Malawi became a British colony as the protectorate of Nyasaland in 1891. In 1964, after a decade of concerted anti-colonial activity, Malawi was granted its independence. Its prime minister at that time, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, remained the country's leader for the next 30 years, becoming successively president (1966) and president-for-life (1970), as his rule shifted from benign despotism (an authoritarian leader who respects human rights and rules in the best interests of his or her people) to dictatorial repression. Mounting political pressure in the late 1980sleading to widespread strikes, demonstrations, and riots in 1992eventually forced the 89 year-old president to concede elections in 1994, in which he was defeated by Bakili Muluzi, leader of the free-market-promoting United Democratic Front.

The transition from Banda's one-party autocracy to a multi-party democracy has been relatively smooth. Under the U.S.-style 1994 constitution, the president still wields considerable power, appointing the 28-member cabinet and senior judges, but he is kept in check by an independent judiciary and legislature. The presidency and the 193 seats of the National Assembly are decided by direct popular election, and all Malawians over 18 years of age have the right to vote. The basic soundness of the new system was affirmed in 1999 when Malawi successfully conducted its second-ever elections (in which Bakili Muluzi was re-elected).

Nevertheless, Banda's long rule and his authoritarian and eccentric style of government have left a burdensome legacy. Challenges facing Malawi's new government have been to repair the country's strained diplomatic relations with its neighbors (Banda was ostracized in the region for his long-standing support of South African apartheida political and economic system based on the dominance of whites at the expense of African blacks), to restore the badly rundown economy, and to foster confidence in the political system, corrupted by years of Banda intrigue and cronyism. Progress has been slow. Corruption scandals are becoming more frequent, not only undermining the public's faith in democracy, but alienating Malawi's foreign donors.

The Muluzi government, however, is committed to the program of structural reform drawn up by the World Bank and the IMF, which is aimed at poverty reduction and economic growth. In addition to a renewed emphasis on education and health, the program includes tightening fiscal management, opening up domestic markets, privatizing public utilities, reducing the civil service (non-miltary government organizations), and improving conditions and opportunities for smallholder farmers by liberalizing the agricultural sector.

Tax reform has also been targeted, with more emphasis placed on direct taxation , in keeping with Malawi's traditional sources of revenue duties , excises, and levies . But in an economy in which so much of the population lives at subsistence level, and in which so much trade is conducted informally, tapping this source of revenue is very difficult, and the burden of the new tougher stance has tended to fall disproportionately on the private sector.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Malawi's infrastructure is in urgent need of attention. Its road and rail networks are inadequate both in their quality and extent, a problem made more serious by the country's reliance on land transport to compensate for its lack of sea access. While the road system has been expanded by 44 percent since independence in 1964, Malawi's population in the same period has doubled; of its 28,394 kilometers (17,647 miles) of road, only 5,833 kilometers (3,265 miles) are paved (18.5 percent). The poor condition of the roads has contributed to Malawi having one of the worst road accident rates in the world despite its very low car-to-person ratio of 2 per 1,000. Rail, too, is in considerable disrepair, having been very badly affected by Mozambique's long civil war in the 1980s and 1990s, which closed off Malawi's access to the Indian Ocean ports of Nacala and Beira, once the distribution hubs of 95 percent of all Malawian trade. Starved of this traffic, on which it relied heavily, Malawi's national railroad was forced into bankruptcy in 1993. However, the company's sale in 1999 to a U.S.-African consortium is aimed at bringing new investment and reviving services. Malawi has 788 kilometers (490 miles) of track, all of which is narrow gauge.

Malawi has 2 international airportsat Lilongwe and Blantyreand is served by a variety of international carriers. Malawi has 44 total airports, only 5 of which

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Malawi 3 249 2 N/A 1 0.1 N/A 0.00 10
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Zambia 12 121 137 N/A 1 0.1 N/A 0.48 15
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

have paved runways. Between 100,000 and 200,000 passengers typically pass through each airport annually. The government plans to privatize Air Malawi and the introduction of a second airline is also being discussed.

Malawi's principal source of energyproviding an estimated 90 percent of all its energy needsis wood fuel (firewood and charcoal), about 44 percent of which comes from non-sustainable sources. Demand is growing too, at a rate of some 6 percent per year, placing severe pressure on Malawi's already depleted forests. Electricity generation comes mostly from the 4 hydro-electric power stations on the Shire River begun in 1989. But irregular water flow on the river, especially in the dry season, and problems with silting (build up of sediment) often make power supplies unreliable, a problem particularly damaging to industry. Coal is imported to supplement local production, which because of under-investment is mined below capacity. All petroleum stocks are imported.

Telecommunications is also an underdeveloped sector, with a mere 45,000 landlines, or 1 for every 230 Malawians. There are hopes, however, to triple the number of lines by 2005 with the proceeds of the sale of the state-owned Malawi Telecom in 2001. A cellular system was launched in 1996, and the licensing of more networks is planned. Malawi had 1 Internet service provider as of 1999.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Despite government hopes to expand the country's economic base, Malawi remains overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture, especially its primary cash crop, tobacco. But international movements to discourage cigarette smoking can only hurt this industry further, and its viability as a long-term vehicle of growth is unclear. In 1999 agriculture supplied 38 percent of GDP. Tourism, mining, and manufacturing have also been prioritized, but infrastructure problems make development difficult. Nevertheless, industry accounts for 19.2 percent of GDP (14 percent of this in manufacturing), and services 42.8 percent.

AGRICULTURE

A lush climate and rich soil make Malawi well suited for agriculture, which is central to the country's economy and national life, occupying 86 percent of its workforce, and making up 38 percent of its GDP and 90 percent of its export earnings.

The main staple crop is maize, grown by smallholder farmers mostly at the subsistence level. Production varies, and depending on climate conditions, maize may be imported or exported. Sorghum, millet, pulses, root crops, and fruit are also grown. Another staple, as well as an important source of protein, is fish from Lake Malawi. The fishing industry accounts for about 200,000 jobs, but problems with pollution and over-fishing threaten to reduce yields.

Malawi's commercial farming sector is concentrated on large estates in the south and around Lilongwe. Its main product is tobacco, which typically accounts for between 50 percent and 70 percent of Malawi's export earnings. Formerly held back by government price controls and grower regulations, the liberalization of the industry in the 1990s has seen steady increases in profits for growers and a sharp rise in smallholder tobacco production, making Malawi one of the leading tobacco producers in the world. Nevertheless, the industry as a whole has been hard hit by the drop in world tobacco prices, which has cut tobacco export revenues from US$332 million in 1998 to US$218 million in 2000. As a consequence, Malawi's growers are being encouraged to concentrate on other traditional cash crops, such as tea and sugar, or diversify into new crops, such as paprika, macadamia, citrus fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers. Tea is Malawi's second most important cash crop, and Malawi is Africa's second largest producer of it. In 2000 tea accounted for about 10 percent of exports, or about US$44 million. Sugar is also significant, and made up about 6 percent of exports, or US$27 million.

INDUSTRY

Although a small and under-developed sector in Malawi, industry is nevertheless an important contributor to the country's GDP. But the burdens it struggles under are substantial. Hampered by the variability of the agricultural sector on which it is based, high transport costs, a small domestic market, and a poorly skilled work-force increasingly undermined by HIV/AIDS, Malawi's industries must also contend with a dependence on imported resources. This dependence largely robs the industrial sector of any benefit from successive depreciations of the kwacha and means Malawi's goods, despite low wage rates, often do not fare well against regional competitors.

The majority of Malawi's industrial activity (85 percent) comes from manufacturing, a sector that in 2000 generated around 14 percent of GDP. Malawian manufacturing is carried out by about 100 companies involved in agricultural processing, textiles, clothing, and footwear production. The concentration of this activity is another legacy of Hastings Banda's accumulation of wealth and power during the 30 years of his rule. The Press Corporation Limited (PCL), founded by Banda, is an example of how this legacy continues to distort Malawi's economic structure. A hugely diverse syndicate of brewing, clothing, oil, pharmaceutical, banking, and agricultural concerns with a total revenue equivalent to about 10 percent of GDP, PCL's monopolies in many industries further undermine competitiveness. Nationalized in 1997, the company is scheduled for dismantling and sale, although few of its assets are likely to attract the necessary interest.

Mining remains small-scale, and Malawi has no precious metals or oil, but ruby mining began in the mid-1990s, with Malawi the only source of rubies in Africa. Malawi also has deposits of bauxite, asbestos, graphite, and uranium. After the establishment in 1985 of a government mines department and a national mining agency to explore the feasibility of exploiting various minerals, bauxite and titanium reserves in the south were singled out for development. Although the supporting infrastructure is weak, some foreign investment has been attracted.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

Malawi's ongoing battles against disease, poor sanitation, and infrastructure deficiency make it an unlikely tourist destination. And yet its tropical climate and scenic landscape have seen rapid gains in the industry, with visitor numbers climbing to 215,000 in 1999, a 20 percent increase from 1995. Although visitors do come from Europe and North America, most are South African and Zimbabwean, and most come for Lake Malawi. Efforts are being made to expand facilities and boost numbers, but without the injection of significant investment, there will be little impact. Negative publicity over the presence of the potentially fatal bilharzias bacteria in Lake Malawi and fears that the region may not be safe for travellers have also proved handicaps.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

In addition to its central bank, the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Malawi has 5 commercial banks. Although newer operators have begun to extend services, the sector remains basic and highly limited, with the 2 largest banks having no foreign shareholders or strategic foreign links. Lack of competition has kept charges high and most lending tends to be to government agencies, to the exclusion of private borrowers. A stock exchange was founded in 1994, and by 2000, there were 8 companies listed on it. But its small size and the absence of a speculative trading culture have kept activity to a minimum, and the exchange has not proved a source of business financing.

RETAIL.

Because of Malawi's rural and subsistence-dominated economy, the purchasing power of most Malawians is minimal, hence retailing is sparse. Urban areas are better served, with a variety of small traders selling fabrics, shoes, paper and pens, and imported electrical equipment, and with a large contingent of informal street vendors. Most of the stores are operated by Malawi's minority Asian population, estimated to control of 30 percent of commercial activity.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Malawi's balance of trade has always been precarious. With 90 percent of its receipts coming from agricultural commodities, export accounts are highly sensitive to fluctuations in production levels and shifts in world market prices. Malawi is also vulnerable on its import side. The expense of freighting all of its imports overland is a continual drain (adding as much as 30

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Malawi
Exports Imports
1975 .140 .253
1980 .295 .439
1985 .249 .285
1990 .417 .581
1995 .405 .475
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

percent to the import bill), while droughts, which periodically force the government to mass-import basic foods, are a regular source of balance-of-trade shortfalls. Additional problems stem from Malawi's complete dependence on imported oil, which has caused particular difficulty as oil prices have risen. The net effect, despite government prioritization of a balanced budget, is a pattern of significant trade deficits. In 1999, however, the shortfall was only $2 million on exports of $510 million and imports of $512 million.

Of Malawi's exports in 1999, 15 percent went to South Africa, 9 percent each to the United States and Germany, and 7 percent to the Netherlands. Of Malawi's imports, 38 percent came from South Africa, 18 percent from Zimbabwe, 8 percent from Zambia, and 4 percent from Japan.

In 2000, Malawi joined 8 other African nations in the free-trade area of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Having removed its 30 percent import duty on goods from those 8 countries, it plans to remove all trade barriers by 2004. Free movement of labor and residency is scheduled for 2014, with full monetary union and a common central bank by 2025.

MONEY

Malawi's heavy trade imbalance is the source of its consistently high deficits and mounting debt. By the end of 1999 Malawi's total external debt stood at US$2.6 billion, a rise of 86 percent from the previous decade. Servicing this debt cost Malawi US$105 million in 1999, cutting drastically into the government's available funds for social services and development, and further widening the budget and balance-of-payments gaps. The instability that such over-runs cause in the Malawian economy has seen the value of the kwacha tumble and inflation soar. Riding at 45 percent in 1999, inflation is expected to remain above 30 percent until mid-2001, dropping to a hoped-for 15 percent by 2002. The kwacha is also expected to stabilize after a long period of freefall

Exchange rates: Malawi
Malawian kwachas (MK) per US$1
Dec 2000 80.0946
2000 59.5438
1999 44.0881
1998 31.0727
1997 16.4442
1996 15.3085
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

since its floating in 1994. From around MK15 per U.S. dollar in 1995, the rate dropped to MK43 in 1998 and MK80 in 2000; forecasts are for around for MK106 in 2002. Reducing the deficit and attacking the debt are top priorities for the government.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, its poverty severe and deeply-rooted. According to the 1998 census, 78 percent of the economically-active population were subsistence farmers . Even by African standards, the plight of these farmers is grave, with literacy low, access to water and sanitation poor, and disease and malnutrition endemic. Malawi's National Economic Council estimated in 2000 that 65.3 percent of Malawians were below the poverty line, "unable to meet their basic needs."

Yet Malawi also has pockets of considerable wealth. The Banda regime's policy in the 1970s and 1980s of large-scale agricultural and industrial development focused government resources on commercial enterprises. This consolidated the country's tiny political-entrepreneurial elite and further widened the gulf between it and Malawi's subsistence sector. Post-Banda politics are more open, but the political class remains smallPresident Muluzi, for example, was a former cabinet minister of Banda'sand recent corruption scandals suggest that patronage and favoritism are still inherent in the system.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Malawi 157 169 161 152 166
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Zambia 641 551 483 450 388
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Malawi 50 13 7 2 6 9 13
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Dem. Rep. of Congo N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zambia 52 10 8 2 11 3 14
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Attempts to equalize the economic imbalance include the establishment the Land Reform Commission in 1996. The commission's report, issued in 1999, has recommended the replacement of freehold land ownership with 99-year leases, and the return of customary land from government control to tribal chiefs. A US$25 million land redistribution scheme was begun in 2001, which aims to resettle between 17,000 and 21,000 people on 14,000 hectares of land.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Malawi's workforce numbers around 3.5 million, but most of these are subsistence farmers. Given the informality of most employment, it is impossible even to estimate unemployment and underemployment rates in the country. The proportion of wage and salary earners is a low 14 percent, and threatens to fall further as civil service down-sizing and privatization lay-offs take effect.

Growth and job creation are severely hindered by poor standards of education and low literacy levels. Only 58 percent of the adult population is able to read and write, and only 4.5 percent of primary school children advance to secondary level, a figure low even by the standards of Malawi's neighbors. The Muluzi government is committed to improving education, but the massive increases in enrollments it has spurred (in particular by removing school fees in 1994) have swamped the schools and eroded educational quality. The result is a workforce poorly adapted to most industrial and manufacturing jobs, and unsuited even for certain types of commercial farming.

Disease is another significant problem, intensified by the over-loading of the health system by the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 1999-2000 government spending on health care accounted for 2.8 percent of GDPor US$5 spent per Malawiana level which was radically insufficient. Poor sanitation (only 45 percent of the population has access to clean water) and malnutrition are also fundamental problems, and until they can be properly addressedwhich will only be done with foreign helpthe productivity of the Malawian workforce will remain badly crippled.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1891. The British establish Malawi, then called Nyasaland, as a protectorate.

1953. Formation of the Central African Federation of Nyasaland and Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively).

1962. Hastings Kamuzu Banda becomes prime minister.

1963. Malawi leaves the Central African Federation.

1964. Malawi gains independence from Britain.

1966. Malawi becomes a republic.

1970. Hastings Banda declared president-for-life.

1994. A new democratic, pluralistic Malawian constitution enacted (based on the U.S. Constitution); multi-party elections held for the first time; Bakili Muzuli ousts Hastings Banda.

1999. Bakili Muzuli re-elected as president in second free elections.

FUTURE TRENDS

Although Malawi has made important strides towards political openness and economic reform, its future remains troubled. Progress has been painfully slow, marred by corruption scandals in the government, and punctuated by economic crises that have upset the reform process. Finding itself in a delicate situation, the government is obliged to impose tough austerity measures to satisfy donors, but knows that doing so will carry a heavy political cost at home. Regionally, too, the uncertainty that Malawi faces with Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola in various stages of turmoilwill require careful negotiation. However, despite some voter disenchantment, the transition to democracy (still ongoing) has been smooth, and Malawi's political situation is secure. The government has established an Anti-Corruption Bureau to ensure tighter standards of accountability, and launched its "ten point" plan in 2000, promising more consistent adherence to reform measures. If agricultural yields continue to be good, if international aid donors continue to offer their support, and if the Malawian government continues to prioritize poverty reduction, Malawi's economic future holds some promise of hope.

DEPENDENCIES

Malawi has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Malawi. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2000.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Malawi. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, January 2001.

Harrigan, J. From Dictatorship to Democracy. Aldershot, UnitedKingdom: Ashgate Publishing, 2000.

Lwanda, John Lloyd. Promises, Power Politics, and Poverty: Democratic Transition in Malawi (1961 to 1999). Glasgow, Scotland: Dudu Nsomba Publications, 1996.

Mkandawire, P. Thandika. Agriculture, Employment, and Poverty in Malawi. Geneva: International Labour Organization, 1999.

National Statistics Office of Malawi. The Web Site of Malawi Official Statistics. <http://www.nso.malawi.net>. Accessed March 2001.

Towards Vision 2020: United Nations Development Assistance for Poverty Eradication in Malawi. Lilongwe: The Framework, 1998.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed July 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Country Commercial Guide, FY 2001: Malawi. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/africa/malawi_ccg2001.pdf>. Accessed March 2001.

World Bank Group. Countries: Malawi. <http://www.worldbank.org/afr/mw2.htm>. Accessed March 2001.

Alexander Schubert

CAPITAL:

Lilongwe.

MONETARY UNIT:

Malawian kwacha (MK). One kwacha equals 100 tambala. Paper currency includes MK5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Coins come in denominations of MK1, as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 tambala.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food, petroleum products, semi-manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$9.4 billion (1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$510 million (1998 est.). Imports: US$512 million (1998 est.).

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Malawi

Compiled from the October 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Malawi

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont.

Cities: Capital—Lilongwe. Other cities—Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu.

Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate: Predominately subtropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Malawian(s).

Population: (2005 est.) 12.1 million.

Annual growth rate: (2005 est.) 2.06%.

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

Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.

Languages: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (1998 est.)—primary, 79%. Literacy (2003 est., age 15 and older)—63%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2005 est.)—103.32 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (at birth, 2005 est.)—41.43 yrs.

Government

Type: Multi-party democracy.

Independence: July 6, 1964.

Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Government branches: Executive—president (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, cabinet. Legislative—unicameral National Assembly (193 members). Although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate, in practice the legislative branch’s upper house does not exist. Judicial—High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts.

Political subdivisions: 28 districts.

Political parties: Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, ruling party) United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), New Republican Party (NRP), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), People’s Progressive Movement (PPM), People’s Transformation Party (PETRA), and Congress for National Unity (CONU). MCP and UDF are the two main opposition parties in parliament.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years of age.

Central government budget—2005/06 $991.6 million (MK 119 billion).

Economy

GDP: (2005 est.) $1.87 billion.

Annual real GDP growth rate: (2004) 4.6%; (2005 est.) 2.1%.

Per capita GNI: (2005 est.) Approx. $150.90.

Inflation rate: (2004) 11.5%; (2005 est.) 14.5%.

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tour-maline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture: (approx. 38.6% of GDP) Products—tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land—34%, of which 86% is cultivated.

Industry: (16% of GDP) Types—tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Trade: (2001 est.) Exports—$499.67 million: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners—U.S., U.K., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports—$673.45 million: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany.

Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.

GEOGRAPHY

Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about 20% of Malawi’s area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometers (250 mi.) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley, the land forms high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 ft.) above sea level. In the north, the Nyika Uplands rise as high as 2,600 meters (8,500 ft.); south of the lake lie the Shire Highlands, with an elevation of 600-1,600 meters (2,000-5,000 ft.), rising to Mts. Zomba and Mulanje, 2,130 and 3,048 meters (7,000 and 10,000 ft.). In the extreme south, the elevation is only 60-90 meters (200-300 ft.) above sea level.

Malawi is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s most densely populated countries. The population of Lilongwe—Malawi’s capital since 1971—exceeds 400,000. All government ministries and the parliament are located in Lilongwe. Blantyre remains Malawi’s major commercial center and largest city, having grown from an estimated 109,000 inhabitants in 1966 to nearly 500,000 in 1998. Malawi’s President resides in Lilongwe. The Supreme Court is seated in Blantyre.

Malawi’s climate is generally sub-tropical. A rainy season runs from November through April. There is little to no rainfall throughout most of the country from May to October. It is hot and humid from October to April along the lake and in the Lower Shire Valley. Lilongwe is also hot and humid during these months, albeit far less than in the south. The rest of the country is warm during those months. From June through August, the lake areas and far south are comfortably warm, but the rest of Malawi can be chilly at night, with temperatures ranging from 5o-14°C (41o-57°F).

PEOPLE

Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago. On reaching the area north of Lake Malawi, the Maravi divided. One branch, the ancestors of the present-day Chewas, moved south to the west bank of the lake. The other, the ancestors of the Nyanjas, moved down the east bank to the southern part of the country.

By AD 1500, the two divisions of the tribe had established a kingdom stretching from north of the present-day city of Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River in the south, and from Lake Malawi in the east, to the Luangwa River in Zambia in the west.

Migrations and tribal conflicts precluded the formation of a cohesive Malawian society until the turn of the 20th century. In more recent years, ethnic and tribal distinctions have diminished. Regional distinctions and rivalries, however, persist. Despite some clear differences, no significant friction currently exists between tribal groups, and the concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to take hold. Predominately a rural people, Malawians are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent. The Chewas constitute 90% of the population of the central region; the Nyanja tribe predominates in the south and the Tumbuka in the north. In addition, significant numbers of the Tongas live in the north; Ngonis—an offshoot of the Zulus who came from South Africa in the early 1800s—live in the lower northern and lower central regions; and the Yao, who are mostly Muslim, live along the southeastern border with Mozambique.

HISTORY

Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than 1 million years, and early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Negro and Bushman people.

Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow, formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. Other missionaries, traders, hunters, and planters soon followed.

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 Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Yao word for “lake”). Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 1900s, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. A growing European and U.S.-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active—first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence in the United States (where he had obtained his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937), the United Kingdom (where he practiced medicine), and Ghana. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison 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. It also gained an important role in the new Executive Council and ruled Nyasa-land in all but name a year later. In a

second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.

Dr. 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 Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first President.

In 1970 Dr. Banda was declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi under authoritarian control until the 1990s. 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 either a multi-party democracy or the continuation of a one-party state. 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. The President was referred to as Dr. Muluzi, having received an honorary degree at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1995. 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.

On June 15, 1999, Malawi held its second democratic elections. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was re-elected to serve a second 5-year term as President, despite an MCP-AFORD alliance that ran a joint slate against the UDF.

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. The UDF, however, did not win a majority of seats in parliament, as it had done in 1994 and 1999 elections. 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. President Bingu wa Mutharika left the UDF party on February 5, 2005, citing differences with the UDF, particularly over his anti-corruption campaign. He formed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shortly thereafter, attracting a number of UDF and independent members of parliament (MPs) to his new party. The DPP, however, has also failed to acquire enough support for a majority in parliament, and the UDF has pushed forward with an attempt to impeach President Mutharika.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different 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 house, 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 28 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 multiparty 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.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/25/2006

President: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA

Vice President: Cassim CHILUMPHA

Min. of Agriculture & Food Security: Uladi MUSSA

Min. Responsible for Defense & the Civil Service: Davis KATSONGA

Min. of Economic Planning & Development: David FAITI

Min. of Education & Human Resources: Anna KACHIKHO

Min. of Factories & Technology Development: Khumbo CHIRWA

Min. of Finance: Goodall GONDWE

Min. of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation: Joyce BANDA

Min. of Gender, Child Welfare, & Community Services: Kate KAINJAKALULUMA

Min. of Health: Marjorie NGAUNJE

Min. of Home Affairs & Internal Security: Bob KHAMISA

Min. of Information, Communications, & Tourism: Patricia KALIYATI

Min. of Irrigation & Water Development: Sadik MIA

Min. of Justice & Constitutional Affairs: Bazuka MHANGO

Min. of Labor & Vocational Training: Khumbo KACHALE

Min. of Lands, Physical Planning, & Surveys: Henry PHOYA

Min. of Local Government & Rural Development: George CHAPONDA

Min. of Mines, Natural Resources, & Environmental Affairs: Henry Chimunthu BANDA

Min. of Social Development & Persons With Disabilities: Clement KHEMBO

Min. of State in the Office of the President: Richard MSOWOYA

Min. of Statutory Corporations & Civil Service: Elizabeth AIPIRA

Min. of Trade & Private Sector Development: Ken LIPENGA

Min. of Transport & Public Works: Henry MUSSA

Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Jaffali MUSSA

Attorney General:

Governor, Reserve Bank: Victor MBEWE

Ambassador to the US: Bernard SANDE

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Brown B. CHIMPHAMBA

Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270; fax 202-721-0288). Malawi’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located at 866 UN Plaza, Suite 486, New York, NY 10017 (tel.: 212-317-8738/8718; fax: 212-317-8729; email: [email protected] or [email protected]). Malawi also maintains an Honorary Consulate in Los Angeles at 44970 Via Renaissance, Temecula, California 92590 (office number, 951-676-2476; fax number, 951-676-1568; and email, [email protected]).

ECONOMY

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Malawi has few exploitable mineral resources. Its two most important export crops are tobacco and tea. Traditionally Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize, and during the 1980s exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbors. Agriculture represents 38.6% of the GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labor force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts). The agricultural sector contributes about 63.7% of total income for the rural population, 65% of manufacturing sector’s raw materials, and approximately 87% of total employment. Financial wealth is generally concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Malawi’s manufacturing industries are situated around the city of Blantyre.

Malawi’s economic reliance on the export of agricultural commodities renders it particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as declining terms of trade and drought. High transport costs, which can comprise over 30% of its total import bill, constitute a serious impediment to economic development and trade. Malawi must import all its fuel products. Paucity of skilled labor; difficulty in obtaining expatriate employment permits; bureaucratic red tape; corruption; and inadequate and deteriorating road, electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure further hinder economic development in Malawi. However, recent government initiatives targeting improvements in the road infrastructure, together with private sector participation in railroad and telecommunications, have begun to render the investment environment more attractive.

Malawi has undertaken economic structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other donors since 1981. Broad reform objectives include stimulation of private sector activity and participation through the elimination of price controls and industrial licensing, liberalization of trade and foreign exchange, rationalization of taxes, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and civil service reform. Malawi qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt relief.

In May 2004, the IMF program begun in 2000 was canceled and a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) was implemented. In the wake of questions about fiscal creditability, the SMP’s goal was to give Malawi’s newly-elected government the chance to establish a track record of fiscal discipline. A new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) was approved on August 5, 2005 after a successful SMP.

Real GDP increased by an estimated 4.6% in 2004, from 3.9% in 2003 and 2.1% in 2002. Inflation has been largely under control since 2003, averaging 10% in that year and 11.1% (est.) in 2004. Discount and commercial lending rates also declined from 40%-45% in 2003 to 25% in early 2004. The Kwacha slid from 90 to 101 against the U.S. dollar in mid-2003 and was at 108 to the U.S. dollar at the end of 2004. As of November 2005, the Kwacha had depreciated further, to 120 to the U.S. dollar.

Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with its two major trading partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which allow duty-free entry of Malawian products into their countries.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Malawi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi’s close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.

Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi’s economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of “first country of asylum.” Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so, would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.

Important bilateral donors, in addition to the U.S., include Canada, Libya, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.

Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, African Union, Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Non-aligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.

U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region’s problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the first southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and has joined the successor program, African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States has a substantial foreign assistance program in Malawi. The U.S. Government (USG) provides about $35 million annually in development assistance under USAID’s Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2001-2007. The primary goal of USAID assistance is poverty reduction and increased food security through broad-based, market-led economic growth, focusing on four areas: sustainable increases in rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, improved health behavior and services, and improved quality and efficiency of basic education. The USAID program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Malawi, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other USG agencies, U.S. private voluntary organizations, contractors, and other partners.

USAID’s program to increase rural incomes includes training and technical assistance to increase smallholder (crop, dairy, forest, and fishery) productivity; foster additional trade linkages among small farmer producer associations, larger commodity-specific industry clusters, and export markets (e.g. cassava, chilies, ground nuts, cotton, coffee, etc.); improve access to demand-driven financial services for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs); increase rural households’ revenues from sustainable natural resource management; and improve food security for vulnerable families in Malawi’s rural areas. USAID is also encouraging smallholders to diversify into dairy production, a very lucrative business in Malawi and well-suited to Malawi’s limited land area. USAID grantee Land O’ Lakes (LOL), partnering with World Wide Sires, continues to promote the growth of the dairy industry in Malawi through 55 dairy associations with over 6,376 members (46% of which are women). Milk sales grew by 71% this year, from U.S. $439,276 in FY 2004 to U.S. $752,000.

2005 was a year of transition for the Democracy/Governance portfolio. The primary focus was on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold Country Program development process in Malawi, which resulted in a $20.9 million award to Malawi to fight corruption and increase fiscal responsibility. U.S Economic Support Funds (ESF) complemented the MCC Threshold Country Plan formulation, providing technical and training support to the Anti-Corruption Bureau Investigation Department, delivered by the Department of Treasury. USAID also mobilized a project supported with Conflict Mitigation and Management funding, building on the strength of previous work through radio, to reduce the potential of inter-religious conflict in Malawi. During the year many projects associated with the Mission’s previous strategy closed out and another project was terminated for the convenience of the government to accommodate changes in partner funding priorities.

In 2005 the USAID Health Team met or exceeded almost all of its targets. Under-five mortality rates declined from a high of 189 per thousand live births in 2000 to 133 per thousand live births in 2004—much lower than the 2005 target of 175 per thousand. Total fertility rate (TFR) declined to 6 children per woman, which was the target for 2005. The proportion of Malawian children sleeping under an insecticide treated bednet (ITN) (26% in 2004) was more than three times the proportion (8%) sleeping under an ITN in 2000. In the area of HIV prevention, the number of USAID-assisted counseling and testing centers increased from 3 in 2000 to 51 in FY 2005—overshooting the target of 39 sites. The number of clients assisted at these sites per year increased from about 22,000 in 2000 to more than 59,000 in 2005. The country completed a national Demographic and Health Survey with major support from USAID/Malawi. The preliminary results of that survey were released during the year and the final report is being prepared. When completed, the first-ever nationally representative population-based HIV sero-prevalence rate for Malawi will be available, which will make for better-informed policy and program decisions as the nation combats the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Improving the quality and efficiency of basic education remain the major development challenges in the Malawi education system. USAID continues to fund activities that target quality and efficiency at the primary education sub-sector level, which is having a positive effect at both the local and national levels. At the local level, USAID-funded activities are helping communities and parents make more informed decisions to improve the quality and efficiency of primary schooling. In 2005 USAID continued to improve the quality and efficiency of basic education through: (1) development of teachers’ professional skills through long-term undergraduate and graduate training in Malawi and the U.S.; (2) reinforcement of innovative classroom practices through pre-service and in-service teacher training; (3) participation of communities and teacher training colleges in HIV/AIDS outreach activities; and (4) support of Government of Malawi adoption of key policy reforms in teacher education and HIV/AIDS.

The United States is the largest contributor to the World Food Program (WFP) in Malawi, providing over $100 million in food and other emergency assistance through WFP since early 2002. USAID will also be partnering with WFP to meet emergency humanitarian needs in response to the failed 2005 harvest. USAID will coordinate requests to the USG for humanitarian assistance, and WFP will handle the logistics of import and distribution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) operates two programs within Malawi: Global AIDS Program (GAP) and Malawi Malaria Program (MMP).

The CDC GAP office started in November 2001 with an emphasis on establishing long-term working relationships with the Malawi Government, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The major areas of focus during the initial phase included strengthening Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), HIV surveillance, evaluation, infrastructure, and capacity-building activities.

GAP Malawi supports multiple HIV surveillance activities including sentinel surveillance and the Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) survey. In partnership with NAC, CDC GAP continued to strengthen VCT, developing multiple national VCT building blocks such as VCT Guidelines and VCT Training materials. CDC GAP also improved the communications and data analysis capacity at NAC by helping to establish their computer system and establish the foundation for data analysis.

In 2003, responsibility for the HIV technical activity was transferred from NAC back to the MOH. CDC awarded two cooperative agreements to provide transitional support for a smooth transfer of activities, roles and responsibilities. In addition, GAP has cooperative agreements that support implementation of quality VCT, HIV treatment, and pre-service training to strengthen HIV testing capacity. Capacity-building is an integral part of all GAP Malawi activities. GAP Malawi recently went through a joint HIV/AIDS strategy development process, along with USAID, the Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and the Embassy.

The CDC MMP is jointly funded by USAID and CDC has evolved to provide more support to the national prevention and control program. CDC MMP has supported the work of the National Malaria Control Programme in developing the country strategic plan for Roll Back Malaria (RBM), developing the national “Malaria Policy,” developing guidelines for the management of ITNs Program, and participating in other national program activities.

The Blantyre Integrated Malaria Initiative (BIMI), a program of CDC MMP, is a district-wide malaria-control effort, supported jointly by the Government of Malawi, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BIMI was established in Blantyre District, Malawi in 1998 to promote sustainable and effective strategies to manage and prevent malaria-related morbidity and mortality.

Initial BIMI efforts focused on measurement of baseline data at health facilities and in the community. The information gathered was used to identify gaps in malaria control activities, to guide strategies for implementation of interventions, and to provide baseline measurements so that the success of program interventions can be monitored.

Peace Corps

The first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Malawi in 1963. Under the conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the “nonconformist” role of some volunteers but was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the Government of Malawi. In total, over 2,200 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Malawi.

The change of government in 1994 allowed the placement of volunteers at the community level for the first time. With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working to refocus programming and identify more appropriate areas for Peace Corps intervention at the community level. Currently, there are about 100 volunteers working in health, education, and environment.

Health volunteers work in areas of AIDS education, orphan care, home-based care, youth and at-risk groups, child survival activities, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health, and women’s health issues. For many years, Peace Corps/Malawi had the only stand-alone HIV/AIDS project in the Peace Corps, and HIV/AIDS continues to be the cornerstone for health activities.

Education volunteers teach in the fields of physical science, mathematics, biology, and English at Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs), generally community-started and -supported entities.

Environment volunteers focus on community-based management of natural resources with border communities near national parks and forest reserves that want to utilize their resources in a more sustainable manner. This includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, income-generating activities, and agroforestry interventions.

The Crisis Corps program utilizes returned volunteers in short-term assignments for specific projects related to HIV/AIDS and food security. Crisis Corps volunteers are generally assigned with a local NGO to assist with activities that build capacity and develop materials within the organizations.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

LILONGWE (E) Address: Area 40, Plot No.24, Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3, Malawi; Phone: 265-1-773-166; Fax: 265-1-772-316; Workweek: 0730-1700 Mon-Thurs.; 0730-1330 Fri/no lunch; Website: http://usembassy.state.gov/malawi/.

AMB:Alan W. Eastham AMB
OMS:Susan M. Hamric
DCM:David R. Gilmour
DCM OMS:Vacant
POL:Tyler K. Sparks
POL/ECO:Pamnella S. DeVolder
CON:Janice M. Barnett
MGT:Craig L. Cloud
AFSA:Alisa Cameron
AGR:Kevin N. Smith
AID:Curt Reintsma
CLO:Elizabeth Powell
DAO:Maj. Kimbel D. Neal (Harare)
EEO:Jessica N. Munson
FMO:Karla R. Blunt
GSO:Daniel E. Slaven
ICASS Chair:Mitchell R. Moss
IMO:Joseph J. Farina
IRS:Kathy J. Beck (Paris)
ISO:Alex B. Kim
PAO:Mitchell R. Moss
RSO:Maureen I. McGeough
State ICASS:Mitchell R. Moss

Last Updated: 1/26/2007

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : November 3, 2006

Country Description: Malawi is a developing African nation. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required. A 30-day visa, which can be extended up to an additional 60 days, is issued at point of entry. There is an airport departure tax, which is payable only in U.S. dollars, for all non-Malawians. For the most current visa information, contact the Embassy of Malawi at 1156 15th Street, N.W., Suite 320, Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 721-0270.

Safety and Security: Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. or Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Even though Malawi is known as “the warm heart of Africa,” both residents and visitors need to bear in mind that there is a criminal element present. Most crimes against Americans involve property. Carjacking and incidents of residential break-in are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and travelers should be aware that break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country.

American citizens are urged to avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as incidences of armed muggings and assaults have increased. Specifically, expatriates have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several Americans have been injured. Even when walking in a large group, city streets should be considered unsafe after dark. Pedestrians should be cautious even during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request hotel or restaurant management to contact a taxi or car service.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Information on vacci-nations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malawi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Malawi’s principal highways are generally in good condition, though the lack of road shoulders, frequent potholes and prevalence of bicyclists constitute safety hazards. Secondary roads are in poor repair and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the rainy season (November-April). Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Given Malawi’s high road accident rate, travelers should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Police roadblocks are common and properly documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Foreigners intending to remain in Malawi for an extended period of time are expected to obtain a locally-issued driver’s license.

For specific information concerning Malawi driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. on (202) 721-0270. For international driving permits contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Malawi’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: Wild animals may pose a danger. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, wild animals can pose a threat to life and safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides. Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities, and ATMs in Malawi do not accept international ATM cards.

Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Malawi laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malawi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Malawi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Malawi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe; telephone numbers are (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi add “0” before the “1”); fax (265) 1-774-976 (if dialing within Malawi add “0” before the “1”). The Embassy’s mailing address is P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

International Adoption : April 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Adoptive parents must foster a prospective adoptive child for 24 months in Malawi before an adoption may be finalized.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Malawi is the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services. Persons interested in adopting from Malawi should contact:

Mary Khonje
Social Welfare Officer
Ministry of Gender, Child Welfare and Community Services
P/Bag 330
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Phone +265-(0)1-77-04-11 x.247

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. Both married and single persons may adopt. However, single men may not adopt female children unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, justifying an exception.

Residency Requirements: Adoptive parents must be resident in Malawi to adopt.

Time Frame: Malawian law requires a lengthy pre-adoption foster care period (at least two years).

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Malawi. For information regarding home studies, interested parties should contact the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3 or telephone 01-770-411.

The U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe maintains a list of English-speaking attorneys http://lilongwe.usembassy.gov/ainformation.html. The Embassy assumes no responsibility for the professional ability or integrity of the individuals or of the firms whose names and addresses appear in the list.

Adoption Fees: On average, depending on the complexity of the case, the fees for a lawyer range between $350 and $500. Court filing fees and Registrar fees for the new birth certificate are under five dollars. The Malawian passport fee is approximately $30.

Adoption Procedures: Prospective adoptive parents often identify a child for adoption through local churches, orphanages, hospitals or missions. They then need to retain a lawyer to handle the application. The lawyer files a petition with the Magistrate Court of the district in Malawi where the adoptive parents reside. Once that is done, the Court chooses a social worker to be the child’s “Guardian ad Litem” who investigates the circumstances of the prospective adoptee(s) and submits a Court Social Report (a home-study) to the High Court. The Guardian ad Litem monitors the adoptive family during the 24 months by making home visits. After the 24 month foster care period is completed, the Court will rule whether the adoption can be finalized. The 24-month period starts from the time the child is placed in the home of the adoptive parents.

Documentary Requirements: Malawi adoptions are governed by the country’s Adoption of Children Act. Proof of the identity and nationality of the adoptive parents, a competed home-study and proof that the child is eligible for adoption are required. Adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian of the child who has custody of the child or who is likely to contribute to the support to the child.

Embassy of the Republic of Malawi:
2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-797-1007

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult U.S. CIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopting Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy of the United States of America:
P.O. Box 30016
16 Jomo Kenyatta Road
Lilongwe 3
Tel: 265-773-166
Fax: 265-774-976
http://lilongwe.usembassy.gov/

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Malawi may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Lilongwe. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

MALAWI

Compiled from the January 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Malawi


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont.

Cities:

Capital—Lilongwe. Other cities—Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu.

Terrain:

Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate:

Predominately subtropical.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Malawian(s).

Population (2005 est.):

12.1 million.

Annual growth rate (2005 est.):

2.06%.

Ethnic groups:

Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European.

Religion:

Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.

Language:

English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.

Education:

Years compulsory—none. Attendance (1998 est.)—primary, 79%. Literacy (2003 est., age 15 and older)—63%.

Health:

Infant mortality rate (2005 est.)—103.32 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (at birth, 2005 est.)—41.43 yrs.

Government

Type:

Multi-party democracy.

Independence:

July 6, 1964.

Constitution:

May 18, 1995.

Branches:

Executive—president (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, cabinet. Legislative—unicameral National Assembly (193 members). Although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate, in practice the legislative branch's upper house does not exist. Judicial—High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts.

Administrative subdivisions:

28 districts.

Political parties:

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, ruling party) United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), New Republican Party (NRP), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), People's Progressive Movement (PPM), People's Transformation Party (PETRA), and Congress for National Unity (CONU). MCP and UDF are the two main opposition parties in parliament.

Suffrage:

Universal at 18 years of age.

Central government budget—2005/06 $991.6 million (MK 119 billion).

Economy

GDP (2005 est.):

$1.87 billion.

Annual real GDP growth rate (2004):

4.6%; (2005 est.) 2.1%.

Per capita GNI (2005 est.):

Approx. $150.90.

Avg. inflation rate (2004):

11.5%; (2005 est.) 14.5%.

Natural resources:

Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture (approx. 38.6% of GDP):

Products—tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land—34%, of which 86% is cultivated.

Industry (16% of GDP):

Types—tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Trade (2001 est.):

Exports—$499.67 million: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners—U.S., U.K., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports—$673.45 million: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany.

Fiscal year:

July 1-June 30.


GEOGRAPHY

Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about 20% of Malawi's area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometers (250 mi.) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley, the land forms high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 ft.) above sea level. In the north, the Nyika Uplands rise as high as 2,600 meters (8,500 ft.); south of the lake lie the Shire Highlands, with an elevation of 600-1,600 meters (2,000-5,000 ft.), rising to Mts. Zomba and Mulanje, 2,130 and 3,048 meters (7,000 and 10,000 ft.). In the extreme south, the elevation is only 60-90 meters (200-300 ft.) above sea level.

Malawi is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most densely populated countries. The population of Lilongwe—Malawi's capital since 1971—exceeds 400,000. All government ministries and the parliament are located in Lilongwe. Blantyre remains Malawi's major commercial center and largest city, having grown from an estimated 109,000 inhabitants in 1966 to nearly 500,000 in 1998. Malawi's President resides in Lilongwe. The Supreme Court is seated in Blantyre.

Malawi's climate is generally subtropical. A rainy season runs from November through April. There is little to no rainfall throughout most of the country from May to October. It is hot and humid from October to April along the lake and in the Lower Shire Valley. Lilongwe is also hot and humid during these months, albeit far less than in the south. The rest of the country is warm during those months. From June through August, the lake areas and far south are comfortably warm, but the rest of Malawi can be chilly at night, with temperatures ranging from 5º-14ºC (41º-57ºF).


PEOPLE

Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago. On reaching the area north of Lake Malawi, the Maravi divided. One branch, the ancestors of the present-day Chewas, moved south to the west bank of the lake. The other, the ancestors of the Nyanjas, moved down the east bank to the southern part of the country.

By AD 1500, the two divisions of the tribe had established a kingdom stretching from north of the present-day city of Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River in the south, and from Lake Malawi in the east, to the Luangwa River in Zambia in the west.

Migrations and tribal conflicts precluded the formation of a cohesive Malawian society until the turn of the 20th century. In more recent years, ethnic and tribal distinctions have diminished. Regional distinctions and rivalries, however, persist. Despite some clear differences, no significant friction currently exists between tribal groups, and the concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to take hold. Predominately a rural people, Malawians are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent.

The Chewas constitute 90% of the population of the central region; the Nyanja tribe predominates in the south and the Tumbuka in the north. In addition, significant numbers of the Tongas live in the north; Ngonis—an offshoot of the Zulus who came from South Africa in the early 1800s—live in the lower northern and lower central regions; and the Yao, who are mostly Muslim, live along the southeastern border with Mozambique.


HISTORY

Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than 1 million years, and early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Negro and Bushman people.

Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow, formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. Other missionaries, traders, hunters, and planters soon followed.

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 Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Yao word for "lake"). Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 1900s, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. A growing European and U.S.-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active—first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence in the United States (where he had obtained his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937), the United Kingdom (where he practiced medicine), and Ghana. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison 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. It also gained an important role in the new Executive Council and ruled Nyasaland in all but name a year later. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.

Dr. 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 Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first President.

In 1970 Dr. Banda was declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi under authoritarian control until the 1990s. 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 either a multi-party democracy or the continuation of a one-party state. On June 14, 1993, the people of Malawi voted over-whelmingly 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. The President was referred to as Dr. Muluzi, having received an honorary degree at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1995. 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.

On June 15, 1999, Malawi held its second democratic elections. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was re-elected to serve a second 5-year term as President, despite an MCP-AFORD alliance that ran a joint slate against the UDF.

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. The UDF, however, did not win a majority of seats in parliament, as it had done in 1994 and 1999 elections. 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. President Bingu wa Mutharika left the UDF party on February 5, 2005, citing differences with the UDF, particularly over his anti-corruption campaign. He formed the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) shortly thereafter, attracting a number of UDF and independent members of parliament (MPs) to his new party. The DPP, however, has also failed to acquire enough support for a majority in parliament, and the UDF has pushed forward with an attempt to impeach President Mutharika.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different 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 house, 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 28 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 multiparty 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.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/24/2005

President: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Vice President: Cassim CHILUMPHA
Min. of Agriculture & Food Security: Uladi MUSSA
Min. Responsible for Defense & the Civil Service: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Min. of Economic Planning & Development: David FAITI
Min. of Education & Human Resources: Kate KAINJA-KALULUMA
Min. of Factories & Technology Development: Khumbo CHIRWA
Min. of Finance: Goodall GONDWE
Min. of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation: Davis KATSONGA
Min. of Gender, Child Welfare, & Community Services: Joyce BANDA
Min. of Health: Hetherwick NTABA, Dr.
Min. of Home Affairs & Internal Security: Anna KACHIKHO
Min. of Information, Communications, & Tourism: Patricia KALIYATI
Min. of Irrigation & Water Development: Gwanda CHAKUAMBA
Min. of Justice & Constitutional Affairs: Henry PHOYA
Min. of Labor & Vocational Training: Ken LIPENGA
Min. of Lands, Physical Planning, & Surveys: Bazuka MHANGO
Min. of Local Government & Rural Development: George CHAPONDA
Min. of Mines, Natural Resources, & Environmental Affairs: Henry Chimunthu BANDA
Min. of Social Development & Persons With Disabilities: Clement CHIWAYA
Min. of Statutory Corporations & Civil Service: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Min. of Trade & Private Sector Development: Martin KANSICHI
Min. of Transport & Public Works: Henry MUSSA
Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Jaffali MUSSA
Attorney General: Ralph KASAMBARA
Governor, Reserve Bank: Victor MBEWE
Ambassador to the US: Bernard SANDE
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Brown CHIMPHAMBA

Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270; fax 202-721-0288). Malawi's Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located at: 600 Third Avenue, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10016 (tel. 212-949-0180; Fax: 212-599-5021. Malawi also maintains an Honorary Consulate in the Los Angeles area. Dr. J.F. Clements, Malawi Honorary Consul, Malawi Consulate may be reached at 44970 Via Renaissance, Temecula, California 92590 (office number, 951-676-2476; fax number, 951-676-1568; and e-mail, [email protected]).


ECONOMY

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Malawi has few exploitable mineral resources. Its two most important export crops are tobacco and tea. Traditionally Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize, and during the 1980s exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbors. Agriculture represents 38.6% of the GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labor force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts). The agricultural sector contributes about 63.7% of total income for the rural population, 65% of manufacturing sector's raw materials, and approximately 87% of total employment. Financial wealth is generally concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Malawi's manufacturing industries are situated around the city of Blantyre.

Malawi's economic reliance on the export of agricultural commodities renders it particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as declining terms of trade and drought. High transport costs, which can comprise over 30% of its total import bill, constitute a serious impediment to economic development and trade. Malawi must import all its fuel products. Paucity of skilled labor; difficulty in obtaining expatriate employment permits; bureaucratic red tape; corruption; and inadequate and deteriorating road, electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure further hinder economic development in Malawi. However, recent government initiatives targeting improvements in the road infrastructure, together with private sector participation in railroad and telecommunications, have begun to render the investment environment more attractive.

Malawi has undertaken economic structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other donors since 1981. Broad reform objectives include stimulation of private sector activity and participation through the elimination of price controls and industrial licensing, liberalization of trade and foreign exchange, rationalization of taxes, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and civil service reform. Malawi qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt relief.

In May 2004, the IMF program begun in 2000 was canceled and a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) was implemented. In the wake of questions about fiscal creditability, the SMP's goal was to give Malawi's newly-elected government the chance to establish a track record of fiscal discipline. A new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) was approved on August 5, 2005 after a successful SMP.

Real GDP increased by an estimated 4.6% in 2004, from 3.9% in 2003 and 2.1% in 2002. Inflation has been largely under control since 2003, averaging 10% in that year and 11.1% (est.) in 2004. Discount and commercial lending rates also declined from 40%-45% in 2003 to 25% in early 2004. The Kwacha slid from 90 to 101 against the U.S. dollar in mid-2003 and was at 108 to the U.S. dollar at the end of 2004. As of November 2005, the Kwacha had depreciated further, to 120 to the U.S. dollar.

Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with its two major trading partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which allow duty-free entry of Malawian products into their countries.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Malawi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi's close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.

Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi's economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of "first country of asylum." Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so, would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.

Important bilateral donors, in addition to the U.S., include Canada, Libya, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.

Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, African Union, Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Nonaligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).


U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.

U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region's problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the first southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and has joined the successor program, African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States has a substantial foreign assistance program in Malawi. The U.S. Government (USG) provides about $35 million annually in development assistance under USAID's Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2001-2007. The primary goal of USAID assistance is poverty reduction and increased food security through broad-based, market-led economic growth, focusing on four areas: sustainable increases in rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, improved health behavior and services, and improved quality and efficiency of basic education. The USAID program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Malawi, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other USG agencies, U.S. private voluntary organizations, contractors, and other partners.

USAID's program to increase rural incomes includes training and technical assistance to increase smallholder (crop, dairy, forest, and fishery) productivity; foster additional trade linkages among small farmer producer associations, larger commodity-specific industry clusters, and export markets (e.g. cassava, chilies, ground nuts, cotton, coffee, etc.); improve access to demand-driven financial services for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs); increase rural households' revenues from sustainable natural resource management; and improve food security for vulnerable families in Malawi's rural areas. USAID is also encouraging smallholders to diversify into dairy production, a very lucrative business in Malawi and well-suited to Malawi's limited land area. USAID grantee Land O' Lakes (LOL), partnering with World Wide Sires, continues to promote the growth of the dairy industry in Malawi through 55 dairy associations with over 6,376 members (46% of which are women). Milk sales grew by 71% this year, from U.S. $439,276 in FY 2004 to U.S. $752,000.

2005 was a year of transition for the Democracy/Governance portfolio. The primary focus was on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold Country Program development process in Malawi, which resulted in a $20.9 million award to Malawi to fight corruption and increase fiscal responsibility. U.S Economic Support Funds (ESF) complemented the MCC Threshold Country Plan formulation, providing technical and training support to the Anti-Corruption Bureau Investigation Department, delivered by the Department of Treasury. USAID also mobilized a project supported with Conflict Mitigation and Management funding, building on the strength of previous work through radio, to reduce the potential of inter-religious conflict in Malawi. During the year many projects associated with the Mission's previous strategy closed out and another project was terminated for the convenience of the government to accommodate changes in partner funding priorities.

In 2005 the USAID Health Team met or exceeded almost all of its targets. Under-five mortality rates declined from a high of 189 per thousand live births in 2000 to 133 per thousand live births in 2004—much lower than the 2005 target of 175 per thousand. Total fertility rate (TFR) declined to 6 children per woman, which was the target for 2005. The proportion of Malawian children sleeping under an insecticide treated bednet (ITN) (26% in 2004) was more than three times the proportion (8%) sleeping under an ITN in 2000. In the area of HIV prevention, the number of USAID-assisted counseling and testing centers increased from 3 in 2000 to 51 in FY 2005—overshooting the target of 39 sites. The number of clients assisted at these sites per year increased from about 22,000 in 2000 to more than 59,000 in 2005. The country completed a national Demographic and Health Survey with major support from USAID/Malawi. The preliminary results of that survey were released during the year and the final report is being prepared. When completed, the first-ever nationally representative population-based HIV sero-prevalence rate for Malawi will be available, which will make for better-informed policy and program decisions as the nation combats the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Improving the quality and efficiency of basic education remain the major development challenges in the Malawi education system. USAID continues to fund activities that target quality and efficiency at the primary education sub-sector level, which is having a positive effect at both the local and national levels. At the local level, USAID-funded activities are helping communities and parents make more informed decisions to improve the quality and efficiency of primary schooling. In 2005 USAID continued to improve the quality and efficiency of basic education through: (1) development of teachers' professional skills through long-term undergraduate and graduate training in Malawi and the U.S.; (2) reinforcement of innovative classroom practices through pre-service and in-service teacher training; (3) participation of communities and teacher training colleges in HIV/AIDS outreach activities; and (4) support of Government of Malawi adoption of key policy reforms in teacher education and HIV/AIDS.

The United States is the largest contributor to the World Food Program (WFP) in Malawi, providing over $100 million in food and other emergency assistance through WFP since early 2002. USAID will also be partnering with WFP to meet emergency humanitarian needs in response to the failed 2005 harvest. USAID will coordinate requests to the USG for humanitarian assistance, and WFP will handle the logistics of import and distribution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) operates two programs within Malawi: Global AIDS Program (GAP) and Malawi Malaria Program (MMP).

The CDC GAP office started in November 2001 with an emphasis on establishing long-term working relationships with the Malawi Government, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The major areas of focus during the initial phase included strengthening Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), HIV surveillance, evaluation, infrastructure, and capacity-building activities. GAP Malawi supports multiple HIV surveillance activities including sentinel surveillance and the Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) survey. In partnership with NAC, CDC GAP continued to strengthen VCT, developing multiple national VCT building blocks such as VCT Guidelines and VCT Training materials. CDC GAP also improved the communications and data analysis capacity at NAC by helping to establish their computer system and establish the foundation for data analysis.

In 2003, responsibility for the HIV technical activity was transferred from NAC back to the MOH. CDC awarded two cooperative agreements to provide transitional support for a smooth transfer of activities, roles and responsibilities. In addition, GAP has cooperative agreements that support implementation of quality VCT, HIV treatment, and pre-service training to strengthen HIV testing capacity. Capacity-building is an integral part of all GAP Malawi activities. GAP Malawi recently went through a joint HIV/AIDS strategy development process, along with USAID, the Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and the Embassy.

The CDC MMP is jointly funded by USAID and CDC has evolved to provide more support to the national prevention and control program. CDC MMP has supported the work of the National Malaria Control Programme in developing the country strategic plan for Roll Back Malaria (RBM), developing the national "Malaria Policy," developing guidelines for the management of ITNs Program, and participating in other national program activities.

The Blantyre Integrated Malaria Initiative (BIMI), a program of CDC MMP, is a district-wide malaria-control effort, supported jointly by the Government of Malawi, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BIMI was established in Blantyre District, Malawi in 1998 to promote sustainable and effective strategies to manage and prevent malaria-related morbidity and mortality.

Initial BIMI efforts focused on measurement of baseline data at health facilities and in the community. The information gathered was used to identify gaps in malaria control activities, to guide strategies for implementation of interventions, and to provide baseline measurements so that the success of program interventions can be monitored.

Peace Corps

The first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Malawi in 1963. Under the conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the "nonconformist" role of some volunteers but was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the Government of Malawi. In total, over 2,200 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Malawi.

The change of government in 1994 allowed the placement of volunteers at the community level for the first time. With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working to refocus programming and identify more appropriate areas for Peace Corps intervention at the community level. Currently, there are about 100 volunteers working in health, education, and environment.

Health volunteers work in areas of AIDS education, orphan care, home-based care, youth and at-risk groups, child survival activities, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health, and women's health issues. For many years, Peace Corps/Malawi had the only stand-alone HIV/AIDS project in the Peace Corps, and HIV/AIDS continues to be the cornerstone for health activities.

Education volunteers teach in the fields of physical science, mathematics, biology, and English at Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs), generally community-started and supported entities.

Environment volunteers focus on community-based management of natural resources with border communities near national parks and forest reserves that want to utilize their resources in a more sustainable manner. This includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, income-generating activities, and agroforestry interventions.

The Crisis Corps program utilizes returned volunteers in short-term assignments for specific projects related to HIV/AIDS and food security. Crisis Corps volunteers are generally assigned with a local NGO to assist with activities that build capacity and develop materials within the organizations.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

LILONGWE (E) Address: Area 40, Plot No.24, Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3, Malawi; Phone: 265-1-773-166; Fax: 265-1-772-316; Workweek: 0730-1700 Mon-Thurs.; 0730-1330 Fri/no lunch; Website: http://usembassy.state.gov/malawi/.

AMB:Alan W. Eastham
AMB OMS:Mariam H. Abdulle
CM:Alan W. Eastham
CM OMS:Marian H. Abdulle
DCM/CHG:David R. Gilmour
DCM OMS:Carol L Grisham
POL:Tyler K. Sparks
CON:Pamnella DeVolder
MGT:Craig L. Cloud
AFSA:William R. Taliaferro
AGR:Kevin N. Smith
AID:Mary Lewellen
CLO:Angela Cloud
DAO:Maj. Kimbel D. Neal (Harare)
ECO/COM:William R. Taliaferro
EEO:Jessica N. Munson
FMO:Darcy M. Mercadante
GSO:Jessica N. Munson
ICASS Chair:Mitchell R. Moss
IMO:William J. Manuel
ISO:Alex B. Kim
ISSO:Maureen I. McGeough
PAO:Mitchell R. Moss
RSO:Maureen I. McGeough
State ICASS:Mitchell R. Moss
Last Updated: 1/4/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 14, 2005

Country Description:

Malawi is a developing African nation. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required. A 30-day visa, which can be extended up to an additional 60 days, is issued at point of entry. There is an airport departure tax, which is payable only in U.S. dollars, for all non-Malawians. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Malawi, 1156 15th Street, N.W., Suite 320, Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 721-0270. Contact the Embassy of Malawi for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security:

Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Even though Malawi is known as "the warm heart of Africa," both residents and visitors need to bear in mind that there is a criminal element present. Most crimes against Americans involve property. Carjackings and residential break-ins are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and travelers should be aware that break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country.

American citizens are urged to avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as incidences of armed muggings and assaults have increased. Specifically, expatriates have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several Americans have been injured. Even when walking in a large group, city streets should be considered unsafe after dark. Pedestrians should be cautious even during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request hotel or restaurant management to contact a taxi or car service.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malawi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Malawi's principal highways are generally in good condition, though the lack of road shoulders, frequent potholes and prevalence of bicyclists constitute safety hazards. Secondary roads are in poor repair and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the rainy season (November-April). Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Given Malawi's high road accident rate, travelers should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Police roadblocks are common and properly-documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Foreigners intending to remain in Malawi for an extended period of time are expected to obtain a locally-issued driver's license.

For specific information concerning Malawi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. on (202) 721-0270. For international driving permits contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Malawi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances:

Wild animals may pose a danger. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, wild animals can pose a threat to life and safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities, and ATMs in Malawi do not accept international ATM cards.

Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Malawi's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malawi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Malawi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Malawi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe; telephone numbers are (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"); fax (265) 1-774-976 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"). The Embassy's mailing address is P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

International Adoption

January 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Availability of Children for Adoption:

There are very few international adoptions in Malawi. Since 1998, U.S. citizens have adopted only three children from Malawi.

Malawi Adoption Authority:

The government office responsible for adoptions in Lilongwe is the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services.

Malawi Adoption Procedures:

First you will need to retain a lawyer to handle the application if you have already identified a child for adoption. The lawyer files a petition with the Court. Once that is done, the Court chooses a "Guardian ad Litem", who is a social worker. The "guardian ad litem" investigates the circumstances of the prospective adoptee(s) and submits a Court Social Report. The adoption is ruled upon by the court.

Age and Civil Status Requirements:

Applicant (adoptive parent) must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. An adoption order shall not be made in any case where the sole applicant is a male and the child is a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, which justify the exception. An adoption order shall not be made in favor of any applicant who is not a resident in Malawi or in respect of any infant who is not a resident. It is the practice that before one is considered to adopt a child, he/she must first foster care the child for a period of not less that 18 months.

Malawi Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

There are no adoption agencies in Malawi. Contact the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3.

Doctors:

The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in Malawi.

Malawian Documentary Requirements:

There is no list of document requirements listed under the Adoption Act 26:02 of the law of Malawi. This act governs all adoptions in Malawi. It does state that the adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian of the child who has custody of the child or who is likely to contribute the support to the child.

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

A Malawi child adopted by an American citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

Malawi Embassy in the United States:

Malawi Embassy
2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel: 202-797-1007

U.S. Embassy (Consulate) in Malawi:

The Consular Section is located at:

American Embassy-Lilongwe
P.O. Box 30016
Lilongwe 3
Tel: 265-773-166
Fax: 265-774-976

Additional Information:

Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult BCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions.

Questions:

Specific questions regarding adoption in Malawi may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Malawi. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, 2201 C Street, NW, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-2818 with specific questions, Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

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MALAWI

Republic of Malawi

Major Cities:
Lilongwe, Blantyre

Other Cities:
Dedza, Karonga, Mzuzu, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Zomba

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated July 1994. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

The Republic of MALAWI , once part of the Federation of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland, achieved its independence in July 1964, and was organized into its present political entity two years later. In the middle of the last century, the area that is now Malawi came into the sphere of British influence through the antislavery zeal of David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer in Africa. It was established as the Protectorate of Nyasaland. Its present name, assumed at the time of independence, is derived from the Maravi, a Bantu tribe who crossed Zambia from the southern Congo and entered the territory approximately five centuries ago.

MAJOR CITIES

Lilongwe

The Embassy, USIS, and USAID are located in Lilongwe, which became the capital on January 1, 1975. The original town of Lilongwe was a modest trading center with a population of 4,000 in 1970. Planning for the new capital began in the late 1960s in response to a long-standing wish of the president to move the capital to a more central area, shifting northward the development pattern, which had previously heavily favored the southern Blantyre-Zomba region. The relocation also placed the capital in the home area of the predominant Chewa tribe.

The new capital site is located about 5 miles from Lilongwe "Old Town" and was literally carved out of the bush. Even with a population of 437,000, the atmosphere in Lilongwe is one of a small, isolated settlement in the middle of a rolling savanna.

Lilongwe has an expatriate colony, mostly of U.K. origin, of approximately 2,000. Many work for the Government of Malawi; others are connected with diplomatic missions, the construction business, or missionaries. The American community in Lilongwe includes Embassy personnel, Peace Corps volunteers, a few professors, UN personnel, consultants, and missionaries.

Food

Locally grown vegetables and fruits are plentiful and inexpensive, but availability varies seasonally. Most people augment their supply with vegetable gardens. A good selection of vegetable and flower seeds is available locally, although many people prefer to bring seeds or order them from the U.S. Canning and freezing supplies are not available.

Food prices in general have increased steadily in the last few years. The cost of fresh meat, including beef, chicken, pork and lamb, or mutton, is generally lower than in the U.S. for comparable cuts, but periodic shortages occur. Canned or imported meat is much more expensive. Good quality fish from Lake Malawi, including a delicious type of tilapia called chambo, is available most of the year at reasonable costs.

Staples such as flour, sugar, salt, and oil are available locally, but are inferior in quality. Canned goods, like other processed foods, are much more expensive than in the U.S. Most are imported from the U.K. or South Africa. Laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, and paper products such as tissues, paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper are of poor quality and are priced very high. Baby products and convenience foods (cake mixes, prepared foods, etc.) are limited in availability and selection.

The local bakeries sell a variety of white and wheat breads. Pasteurized reconstituted milk is available and safe to drink. Eggs, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, mild cheddar cheese, and other dairy products are available, but periodic shortages occur. People stock up on standard items to tide them through the frequent shortage periods.

Two supermarkets and numerous branch "superettes" carry a limited selection of canned and bottled goods, dairy products, meats, some fresh fruits, and vegetables. The Lilongwe open market sells all seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as rice, flour, salt, peanuts, fish, meats, and other miscellaneous goods. Local Asian stores also sell a variety of canned and bottled goods, as well as spices, dried fish, and some specialty items.

Clothing

General: Clothing is expensive, often of poor quality, and very limited in selection. Bring sufficient clothing for all family members or order it from the U.S. Simple, practical clothing is best suited to Lilongwe life. Washable fabrics are suitable for all but the most formal occasions. Summer clothing is worn from September to April. Most winter days (from May to August) are cool with evening temperatures dipping to 40°F. Because houses and offices become chilly during this period, bring plenty of sweaters, sweatshirts, and light jackets. A light-weight raincoat or umbrella is essential during the rainy season.

Although dry-cleaning facilities are available, work varies from poor to adequate. The dry-cleaners refuse to clean some items, such as silk dresses, and do not give guarantees on larger items such as bedspreads. Some people do their own dry-cleaning with locally purchased benzine. Others take their dry-cleaning with them on trips to more developed countries.

The choice of shoes is also very limited, but ladies sandals and children's shoes are usually available.

Lilongwe has a few dressmakers and tailors, but the quality of their work varies.

Men: Due to unreliable local dry-cleaning facilities, wash-and-wear suits are more practical, but other light-weight suits are also worn. Dress is conservative in Malawi; coats and ties are the rule in government offices, most business meetings, and some restaurants for dinner. Some businessmen wear safari-type suits, but they are not generally regarded as adequate alternatives to coats and ties, as is the case in some other African countries.

Women: Women will find cotton dresses and skirts suitable for most occasions, including work. Synthetics can be worn comfortably on all but a few of the hottest days. Sweaters and woolen dresses or suits are useful for the cooler months. Women may find light-weight coats or warm shawls necessary for some evenings. Very few occasions call for long dresses and elaborate hostess gowns are not needed. Cotton lingerie is more comfortable in the hot season than nylon.

Children: Children need both warm and cool weather clothing for the varying temperatures throughout the year. Bring a good supply of shorts, pants, short-and long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, light jackets, sturdy shoes, socks, summer and winter pajamas, slippers, raincoats, and umbrellas. Although girls can wear shorts or pants in their own homes and in the homes of other Americans, be sure to bring an adequate supply of skirts or dresses that cover the knee for trips to the stores or other public areas. The school requires a very specific uniform that can be purchased locally at a reasonable cost. However, you should bring with you the required black or brown leather-type shoes that all students must wear, plus sports shoes for physical education.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: European and South African cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are usually available; however, selection is limited, and prices are high. Bring personal items, including favorite brands, with you. Many common nonprescription drugs and medicines are available (aspirin, vitamins), but again, high prices, shortages, and limited selection are constraining factors. Plan to have special prescriptions filled from the U.S.

Locally made cigarettes are inexpensive. Pipe tobacco and cigars are expensive, and selection is limited. Locally produced beer and gin are good and reasonably priced; most other liquors are expensive.

Basic Services: Most basic services are available, although quality of work varies. Several beauty shops offer haircuts for both men and women. Shoe repair is not good, but reasonable tailors can be found for alterations and dressmaking. Dry-cleaners are available, but unreliable.

Religious Activities

The Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Roman Catholic churches conduct English-language services in Lilongwe. Other denominations, including the Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Seventh-day Adventist, and Southern Baptist are represented. Islamic and Hindu places of worship are also located in Lilongwe.

Education

Expatriate children can attend only "designated schools" which are run by the Government of Malawi. In Lilongwe, most children of American families attend the Bishop Mackenzie School (BMS), which offers coeducational instruction for Reception (age 4) through Form 5 (equivalent to 10th grade). The curriculum is designed according to the British system, and the teaching staff is predominantly British. The school year consists of three terms extending from September to mid-December, mid-January to early April, and mid-April to early July. There are 40 classrooms plus a library on 25 acres of land that also includes three sports fields, two tennis courts, a playground, a swimming pool, and a large, newly constructed school hall.

Uniforms are required and can be purchased locally at reasonable cost.

Private kindergartens are also available for 2-5 year olds in Lilongwe. There are waiting lists, however, and it is best to write in advance to secure a place for your preschooler.

Special Educational Opportunities

The University of Malawi at Zomba offers extension courses in languages, anthropology, literature, and history. The French Cultural Center in Lilongwe offers French-language courses.

Sports

Malawi's good weather and facilities combine to make a wide variety of sports available in Lilongwe. The Lilongwe Golf Club offers an 18-hole golf course, squash, swimming, tennis, and other sports facilities. The Capital Hotel also has swimming and squash facilities.

Volleyball, basketball, and softball games are organized weekly on an informal basis at various locations in Lilongwe. The Hash House Harriers running group can be seen each week running/walking throughout the neighborhoods of Lilongwe and are always seeking new members. Horseback riding is also possible for those interested.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

You can swim, dive, sail, boat, and fish on Lake Malawi. The Livingstonia Hotel, near Salima, offers a swimming pool plus private beach for hotel residents with free use of its facilities and maritime equipment, including sailboats, paddleboats, kayaks, wind surfboards, scuba, and snorkeling equipment. Further south on the lake are Cape Maclear and Monkey Bay with excellent beach-front hotels nearby. The Lake Malawi National Park, a maritime park, is located at Cape Maclear. Here the most beautiful, crystal-clear water with over 400 different species of freshwater tropical fish creates a snorkeling paradise. In addition to a wide variety of maritime recreation, there are also nature trails for hiking in an area where birdlife is prolific.

Malawi Railways operates several lake steamers, and one, the Ilala, features limited cabin accommodations. Trips on the Ilala can be made for up to 7 days. In addition, the boat can load one car on board, although reservations must be made far in advance.

Malawi has several game parks and reserves, and although the facilities are not greatly developed, most parks do offer beautiful landscape and good game viewing. Kasungu National Park is about a 3-hour drive from Lilongwe on good roads, although roads inside the park are unpaved. You will see a wide variety of game, and accommodations, inclusive of meals, are comfortable. Lengwe Park in the southern region (Lower Shire) offers game viewing and modest accommodations; a cook is available, but you must provide your own food. Nyika Park is located in the northern region on a high plateau and offers spectacular scenery and many different types of game. It is, however, the most remote of the parks and is difficult to reach; accommodations are pleasant. The country has other game reserves, but these do not offer facilities for overnight accommodations. Reservations for all parks and reserves are handled through the central Forestry Office in Lilongwe.

Tiger fishing is possible on the Lower Shire River, and hunting is popular in the Central Region, where good opportunities for guinea fowl, francolin, and duck shooting are found.

The town of Zomba is about 4 hours south of Lilongwe, and Zomba Plateau is a popular area for outings. It offers a mountain atmosphere with evergreen forests and is considered an excellent spot for hiking. In addition, within the area are several spots for trout fly fishing. The KuChawe Inn, a small hotel, is located nearby.

A trip to Blantyre, which is 191 miles from Lilongwe and a 4-hour drive, offers a welcome change. Blantyre is the country's main commercial and industrial center with an urban population of some 400,000. Set in the hilly country of the Shire highlands, Blantyre hosts a broader selection of good restaurants and shops than can be found in Lilongwe.

It is possible to travel by road to Zambia and on to Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa, although current visa and transit policy should be checked in advance. Lusaka is a 1-day drive from Lilongwe, and Harare or Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe can be reached in another day. These roads are paved but are generally in fair-to-poor condition, with potholes and/or deteriorated surfaces in some sections. Malawi is also linked by air to neighboring countries and South Africa, and excursion fares and package holidays are sometimes available at a reduced price.

Entertainment

The Lilongwe Golf Club, and to some extent the Capital Hotel, serve as social centers. Lilongwe service clubs, such as Lions, Rotary, Round Table, and several women's associations frequently sponsor special events, including casino nights, dinners, and discos. Local amateur groups present productions throughout the year. Many other clubs, such as a music society, garden club, and wildlife society, are also active.

There are no cinemas currently operating in Lilongwe. However, the Defense Attache's Office shows a weekly videotaped movie at the USIS Center open to Americans and their guests free of charge.

Social Activities

Among Americans: Most entertaining and social relationships among Americans consist of small informal lunches or dinners and cocktail parties. Given the relative lack of variety of social centers in town, a great deal of home entertaining takes place, ranging from relatively formal receptions to very casual barbecue-type lunches.

International Contacts: Good opportunities exist to develop contacts with both the resident expatriate community and Malawians, primarily through home entertaining. In addition, service clubs and other associations provide settings for international contacts. The resident diplomatic community is small, but a good deal of contact and entertaining exist within it. Business and government groups are more differentiated, but it is also possible to develop good contacts on a social level, as well as a professional level with these groups.

Blantyre

Blantyre remains both the largest city and the major commercial center of Malawi, with an urban population estimated at 402,000. Situated in the Shire Highlands at an elevation of 3,500 feet above sea level, it is the oldest township in the country. The city grew from the establishment in 1876 of the Church of Scotland's mission on that site, and is named for the Scottish birthplace of Dr. David Livingstone. It became a municipality in 1885. Later, the town of Limbe developed about five miles away, around the headquarters of the Malawi Railways and the Imperial Tobacco Company, and was declared a township in 1909. As the two townships grew, most of the in-between area was built up and a single municipality was formed in March 1956. A charter was granted to the combined unit as the City of Blantyre in 1966. Sister-city relations have been established with Independence, Missouri, U.S.A.; Hanover, Germany; and Ndola, Zambia.

Blantyre, covering an area of about 77.5 square miles (129 square kilometers), retains the greatest share of industrial activity in the country. Establishments in the city's Chichiri and Chirimba areas, designated for industrial development, include firms manufacturing textiles, fertilizers, shoes, matches, and drinks. Modern service roads, water pipes, and sewage systems have been installed.

The aesthetics of the community are maintained in the many landscaped parks and gardens, and a horticultural school (open to the public) is operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Education

As in Lilongwe, expatriate children attend only "designated," privatelyrun schools. St. Andrews in Blantyre is one of these, and offers a British-based curriculum in a primary school through the seventh grade, and a secondary-school program for Forms I-V, roughly corresponding to grades eight-12. This latter program is designed to lead to the "O" level examination of the General Certificate of Education. St. Andrews has a boarding facility, and most children who live outside the Blantyre area attend the school here.

A three-term schedule is followed, from September to mid-December, mid-January to early April, and the end of April to the end of June. Uniforms are required, and can be obtained locally at reasonable cost. Many parents choose to supply supplementary aids, texts, and reference material from home.

Situated on 35 acres of picturesque African countryside overlooking Mulanje Mountain, St. Andrews offers weekend trips to nearby forests, rivers, and game parks. The school also has an extensive sports program featuring swimming, basketball, golf, squash, and many other sports. Music and art are also offered as extracurricular activities.

Admission to St. Andrews is tightly controlled, and will not be made unless a vacancy exists; a waiting list is frequently encountered, making early application advisable. Contact with the school can be made by writing to St. Andrews Primary School, Box 593, or to St. Andrews Secondary School, Box 221, both in Blantyre, Malawi.

Blantyre has several private nursery schools, usually crowded, but generally considered adequate.

The University of Malawi at Zomba offers extension courses in languages, anthropology, literature, and history.

Recreation

Blantyre and Limbe have clubs with 18-and 12-hole golf courses, respectively. Other sports offered in the area include rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, swimming, squash, badminton, flying, fishing, and boating. Schools provide opportunities for children to participate in numerous games and sporting activities.

Swimming, sailing, boating, and fishing are possible on Lake Malawi. In the Mangochi area, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Blantyre, recreational facilities can be found at Nkopola Lodge and at Club Makokola. Tiger fishing is possible on the lower Shire River, and trout fishing (fly rods only) on the Zomba Plateau, about an hour away from Blantyre.

General information about game parks, reserves, and touring activities is included in the section on Lilongwe.

Entertainment

Active organizations and clubs in or near Blantyre include the Blantyre Sports Club, Limbe Country Club, Council of Social Services, Mulanje Mountain Club, Sailing Club, Rotary and Lions clubs, Camera Club, Round Table, Jaycees, and Malawi Society. The latter group organizes lectures on Malawi's history and other related subjects; among its achievements is the creation of the Malawi Museum. The Board of Hotels and Tourism sponsors a Malawi arts and crafts center.

Blantyre and Limbe have several cinemas which frequently show recent popular films, generally in English. A number of private clubs in the area provide dining facilities and bars and lounges.

Amateur dramatic and music societies give occasional public performances and exhibitions. Dances are sometimes held in the hotels or clubs, and some social activities are sponsored by service clubs, such as Rotary and Lions.

The American community in Blantyre is small, thus making its own activities somewhat limited. There is, however, a sizable expatriate community, and frequent occasions arise (usually dinners or parties) to meet other foreign residents, as well as Malawian business and government leaders. Most social events tend to be informal, normally calling for business apparel for men, and the required below-the-knee dress for women. Black-tie/formal gown events are rare.

Volunteer activities also provide an opportunity for international contact through a variety of organizations, including the Red Cross and the service clubs.

OTHER CITIES

At the foot of Dedza Mountain, the city of DEDZA is located in the central region of Malawi, on the country's western border with Mozambique. Less than 50 miles from Lilongwe, its cool climate and mountain water make Dedza ideal for growing rice and potatoes. Forestry is an important industry because of the plentiful softwood on Dedza Mountain. There are sawmills and a forestry training school nearby. Dedza was sparsely inhabited until the 1920s and 1930s. Tourism is minimal in this city of about 5,500 residents.

KARONGA , a trading port with a population of 13,000, is situated at the northern end of Lake Nyasa in the Great Rift Valley. The economy, based on the cotton and rice production along the lake and on coffee and livestock in the west, is augmented by subsistence fishing. It was used as military headquarters during World War I.

MZUZU was founded in 1949, and is the chief urban center of the Northern Region. It is approximately 200 miles north of Lilongwe. The city was once an administrative center and is now attracting industries such as grain factories and bakeries. A tung oil extraction plant is also located here. Mzuzu has a population of just over 40,000.

NKHOTAKOTA (formerly called Kota Kota) is an administrative center in the central region of Malawi, about 75 miles north of the capital on the shores of Lake Nyasa. Once a place where Arab slave traders worked, Nkhotakota is Malawi's largest traditional African city. Nkhotakota trades corn, cotton, fish, and rice. Tourist spots include a rest house and hot springs.

NSANJE (formerly called Port Herald) is located in the southernmost part of Malawi, near the Mozambique border. It is a trade and transportation center. Major products produced in Nsanje include tobacco, rice, corn, and cotton. The population is estimated to be 6,400.

ZOMBA is located in southern Malawi's Shire Highlands, 70 miles south of Lake Nyasa and about 40 miles north of Blantyre. For many years it has been a popular summer resort. The city, founded by European cotton planters in 1880, was the capital of what is now Malawi during the early days of the former British administration. When Lilongwe became the capital on January 1, 1975, Zomba developed into a university town. Zomba is also a commercial center where farmers from the surrounding area sell their tobacco and dairy products. The town also trades rice, corn, fish, and softwoods. The main campus of the University of Malawi is located here. Zomba's population is 43,000.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Completely landlocked in southeast Africa, Malawi borders Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Malawi's southern tip lies 130 miles inland from the sea. Altitude varies from less than 200 feet above sea level at Nsanje in the south to almost 10,000 feet at the peak of Mount Mulanje. Malawi's topography consists of high, well-watered plateaus broken by large hills.

Malawi covers 46,066 square miles and is about the size of Pennsylvania. A deep depression, its chief physical feature, runs through the center and forms part of the Great Rift Valley. In this depression are Lake Malawi and the Shire Valley. Lake Malawi, about 1,500 feet above sea level and 380 miles long, is Africa's third largest lake and Malawi's major tourist attraction. In Malawi's north and central areas are the Nyika, Vipya, and Dedza uplands, rising from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. In the south, the Shire Highlands plateau averages 3,000-4,000 feet, with occasional peaks such as Zomba (7,000 feet) and Mulanje (10,000 feet). Malawi has wet and dry seasons. The wet season is from November to April; the heaviest rainfall occurs between December and March. The dry season begins in May and lasts until November. It is hottest just before rainfalls begin.

The capital, Lilongwe (altitude 3,400 feet) is in a high, central plateau area. The average daily temperature in Lilongwe during October is 84.6°F. June, July, and August are the coolest months, and nights can be quite chilly when temperatures drop to between 41°F and 57°F. Frost occasionally occurs in Lilongwe. During the dry season, particularly September and October, high winds and some dust occur. The annual mean temperature in Lilongwe is 67.4°F, and the annual rainfall is 31.9 inches. Nights are generally cool and pleasant in Lilongwe, even during the hottest weather. Dry season days are generally sunny and warm; rains during the wet season are brief. The Blantyre area is more mountainous, and its weather more humid.

Population

Malawi, with an estimated population of 10.1 million (2000), is one of Africa's most densely populated countries. The population includes over 9.5 million Africans, 5,000 Europeans, and 7,000 Asians. Most Europeans are of British stock from the U.K., South Africa, or Zimbabwe, and many are involved in missionary work, business, or farming. In addition, since 1987, Malawi has hosted large numbers of Mozambicans fleeing that country's civil war. Mozambican refugees in Malawi totaled more than 1 million in late 1992, and in some areas of the country, Mozambican refugees outnumber native Malawians. Americans living in Malawi include missionaries, U.S. Government officials, engineers, construction workers, and Peace Corps volunteers.

The African population includes six principal tribes. Although language and customs are still distinct, tribalism is not as evident here as in other African countries. English is one of the official languages; all educated Africans speak it. More than 50 percent of the people speak Chichewa, the other official language, and almost everyone understands it. The second most important African language, Tumbuka, is spoken in the north.

In the past, many Malawians worked abroad, but fewer South African mine labor contracts have decreased this number greatly. Sizable numbers of Malawians still reside and work in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Malawian customs and mores have grown out of a tradition of individual worth combined with a spirit of community. The gentle arts of courtesy and cooperation are valued, and Americans will find little trouble relating to the basic warmth and politeness of Malawians. The traditional Malawian extends both hands to receive or give a gift, kneels to address a superior, and waits for permission before leaving. These expressions of politeness are still common in certain situations. Extended hand-holding is a common sign of friendship.

Public Institutions

Malawi came under British influence through the antislavery missionary zeal of David Livingstone. Missionaries and traders followed, and later a British consul was appointed. Under British consul Harry Johnston, military attempts to end the slave trade took place during the late 19th century. However, slave traffic did not end until 1895 with the capture and execution of the Arab slavers at Karonga, Nkhotakota, and Jumbe.

The former Protectorate of Nyasaland became a part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in September 1953, and seceded in December 1962. It gained full independence on July 6, 1964, under the name of Malawi and became a Republic on July 6, 1966.

After nearly 30 years of single-party rule, Malawi held multi-party elections in 1994 resulting in the election of businessman Bakili Muluzi as president to a five year term. He was reelected in 1999. The National Assembly has 193 Members. A new constitution was approved in May 1994.

The judicial system comprises a high court and magistrate courts patterned after the British system and African traditional courts. In 1993, the role of the traditional courts was greatly diminished.

Arts, Science, and Education

Artistic attractions are principally tribal dancing, arts and crafts, and a small museum in Blantyre. A French-Canadian Catholic priest, resident in Malawi for 25 years, has an extensive collection of decorative masks worn by Malawians during their various tribal dances. He is building a museum near his mission in southern Malawi to house these artifacts. Diplomatic missions occasionally sponsor concerts by visiting musicians or shows by visiting artists. "Disco" has become quite popular among Malawians, and hotels usually have a live band for dancers. Chancellor College, the liberal arts branch of the University of Malawi, is located in Zomba. Bunda College of Agriculture and the Kamuzu College of Nursing are in Lilongwe, and Blantyre hosts the Polytechnic College; each is a branch of the University of Malawi.

Commerce and Industry

Malawi's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 37 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 85 percent of export earnings. Important exports that earn the bulk of Malawi's foreign exchange are tobacco, tea, coffee, peanuts, cotton, legumes, and sugar.

Malawi's few manufacturing industries are concentrated around Blantyre. These include manufacturers of soap, agricultural tools, edible oils and fats, breads, candy, beer, bricks, shoes, hair oils, cigarettes, gin, clothing, furniture, fishing nets, nails, automobile batteries, blankets, rugs, light metal work, textiles, farm trailers, bus and truck bodies, tankers, coaches, low-loaders, leather, ceramics, and wood carvings.

Inflation is very high, at 29.5 percent as of 2001. Malawi is heavily dependent on economic assistance from donor organizations and countries. The country currently faces the challenges of developing a true market economy, improving its educational facilities, and dealing with the ever growing problem of HIV and AIDS.

Transportation

Local

Local bus service in the Lilongwe area will not meet daily needs for getting to work, shopping, or recreation. Taxi service is limited in the new Capital City section of Lilongwe. Rental cars are available in both Blantyre and Lilongwe, although choice of model is limited. Rental rates are comparable to those in many parts of the U.S.

Regional

The international airport in Malawi is Kamuzu International Airport located approximately 16 miles from the Capital City section of Lilongwe. Blantyre is served by domestic flights only; flying time from Lilongwe is about 50 minutes. Limited international flights link Lilongwe with neighboring countries, South Africa and Kenya. Direct European service is currently limited to a Saturday flight to London (British Airways), a Tuesday flight to Paris (Air France), and Thursday and Sunday flights to Amsterdam (KLM). Connections to other international locations can be made in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lusaka, and Harare.

A two-lane paved highway connects the major population centers of Lilongwe, Zomba, and Blantyre. Driving time from Lilongwe to Blantyre or Zomba is approximately 4 hours. The road is good but narrow, and drivers must be cautious as cattle and other farm animals wander onto the road. Good quality, two-lane roads also connect Lilongwe with the Zambia border and Mzuzu and Karonga in the north of the country. Travel from Lilongwe to Lake Malawi at Salima is being improved; a new two-lane asphalt highway should be completed this year. Most of the other roads in the country vary in quality from rough tarmac roads to dirt and gravel. Some of the lesser traveled roads may be impassable in the rainy season. Although Malawi is connected by road to South Africa via Mozambique, as well as through Zambia and Zimbabwe, surface travel through Mozambique should not be attempted. Lusaka can be reached in 1 day of driving over tarmac roads, although care must be taken to avoid potholes and rough sections of the road. From Lusaka, it is possible to continue on tarmac road to Victoria Falls, or to South Africa via Harare.

Malawi Railways has about 560 miles of track, primarily intended for freight haulage. Some passenger services are offered, but trains are slow and accommodations are frequently restricted to third class.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone service in Malawi is generally satisfactory. Calls can usually be completed between urban centers within the country with a minimum of delay, although occasional outages do occur, particularly in residential areas. Many international call destinations may be reached by direct dial, including the U.S., and service is good. It is more expensive, however, to call the U.S. from Malawi than vice versa. Telegraph service to all areas is adequate.

Radio and TV

Malawi has its own government radio station, and one TV station. Most programs are in the Chichewa language and include few cultural presentations. A good shortwave radio is useful, especially for receiving international news on BBC or VOA.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The Daily Times newspaper is published in English on weekdays with a special edition, the Malawi News, on Saturday; it concentrates on local news. The international editions of Time and Newsweek are available locally. All publications sold in Malawi are subject to local censorship.

Although both Lilongwe and Blantyre have some bookshops, selection is limited, and prices are very high by U.S. standards. A branch of the Malawi National Library is located in Lilongwe; USIS and the British Council also operate small libraries; again, selection is limited.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Medical facilities in Lilongwe are inadequate. There are a few qualified physicians and specialists practicing in Malawi who may be consulted if necessary, but hospitals are not up to U.S. standards.

Local pharmacies carry primarily European or South African drugs, and their supplies are unreliable. Therefore, bring an adequate supply of specifically needed drugs with you. Try to make arrangements through a U.S. physician or pharmacist for replenishing prescriptions.

There is a Seventh-day Adventist clinic in Lilongwe currently staffed by an American dentist and an American optometrist. Their supplies are limited, so bring an extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses and lens care products.

Community Health

Sanitation in Lilongwe, Zomba, and Blantyre is generally good. Food handling in the international hotels and large restaurants appears to be satisfactory. However, foods obtained from the local open markets and supermarkets require special attention to ensure that all edible items are safe for consumption. Water from the Lilongwe water system is treated, but it is recommended that all water used for consumption be filtered and then boiled for 5 minutes.

Preventive Measures

Malaria is endemic to Malawi, and prophylaxis is advised. The Department of State recommends Mefloquine as the first choice for malaria prophylaxis for those persons able to take it. The second choice of prophylaxis is daily Paludrine (proquanil) with weekly Chloroquine. Because no anti-malarial drug prophylaxis can offer total protection, other measures to protect against mosquito bites and the acquisition of malaria are advised. Some of those measures include: remaining in well-screened areas, especially in the evening and at night, use of mosquito nets enclosing the bed while sleeping, and use of insect repellents containing at least 35 percent DEET.

Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) contaminates most freshwater lakes and rivers in Malawi and is contracted by swimming or wading.

Diarrhea is a common symptom, but most cases are noninfectious, self-limiting, and arise from changes in food or water combined with fatigue and the emotional stresses of travel. Cholera rarely occurs in Malawi, except in areas of severe overcrowding and poor sanitation. Typhoid is endemic to Malawi, but epidemics rarely occur. Hepatitis A is also endemic to Malawi and occurs all too frequently in the expatriate community. Although boiling and filtering of water and cleansing of fruit and vegetables decrease the risk of hepatitis A, the most effective method of prevention continues to be gamma globulin injections every 4-6 months.

Insect pests include flies, mosquitoes, ticks (including a "tickbite fever" carrier), termites, moths, cockroaches, ants, and silverfish. Throughout Malawi putze flies lay their eggs in textiles, which can transfer to the skin of the wearer. To avoid skin sores, use a dryer or iron all line-dried linen and clothing.

The following immunizations are recommended for Malawi: Yellow Feverevery 10 years
Typhoidevery 3 years
Tetanus-Diphtheriaevery 10 years
Polioone booster as an adult
Gamma Globulinevery 4-6 months
T.B. testingevery 1 year
Rabiesoptional, advised for small children, series of 3
Hepatitis Binitial series of 3 Meningitis A+Cevery 3 years

TRAVEL NOTES

All international flights to and from Malawi operate from Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe. Weekly flights are available from Paris, London, and Amsterdam, as well as regional air links with Botswana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, and Kenya. The most frequent flights are from Johannesburg and Harare. There are no direct flights from the U.S. to Malawi. However, American Airlines has joined South Africa Airlines in offering three flights a week from the JFK Airport in New York to Johannesburg. This flight complies with the Fly America regulations, as do flights on American carriers from the U.S. with transfers in Europe and South America to foreign-flag carriers that serve Malawi and southern Africa.

Persons entering Malawi must have a valid passport or travel document. Malawi visas are not required for U.S. citizens prior to arrival in Malawi. Those wishing to stay over 90 days must apply for a temporary resident permit. Travelers should, of course, have any required visas for countries they will transit.

An import permit, required for dogs and cats, must be obtained in advance by advising the Embassy of the breed, sex, age, description (color, etc.) and country of export of the pet. A certificate of good health from a veterinarian and a certificate of rabies vaccination should accompany the animal. The dog or cat must be imported directly from the country of origin and not be exposed to infection en route.

Malawi introduced its own decimal currency in February 1971. The units are kwacha and tambala, with one kwacha equaling 100 tambala. The Malawi kwacha (MK) is linked to a "basket" of international currencies to determine base value. As of December 2000, the rate of exchange was about MK 80.09 to US$1. No limitation exists on bringing foreign currency or travelers checks into the country. Malawi has strict currency laws limiting the amount of Malawi currency that may be taken out of the country, although travelers may re-export all currency declared on arrival.

Coins currently in circulation include denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 tambala, and a one kwacha coin. Older coins in circulation may carry the marking "one shilling" or "one florin," equal to 10 tambala, and 20 tambala. Notes currently in circulation are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 kwacha.

Credit cards, such as American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are accepted at a few restaurants and hotels, but they are not widely recognized.

Malawi uses the metric system of weights and measures, although many individuals may still quote measures in the older British system (i.e., miles, pounds, etc.).

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan.1 New Year's Day

Jan. 15 John Chilembwe Day

Mar. (2nd Mon) Commonwealth Day*

Mar. 3 Martyr's Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

May 1 Labor Day

May 1 Kamuzu Day

July 6-8 Republic Day

Oct. (2nd Mon) Mother's Day*

Dec. Tree Planting Holiday*

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Alexander, Caroline. Personal History: An Ideal State. The New Yorker: December 16, 1991.

Area Handbook for Malawi. Director, Foreign Areas Studies, The American University.

Carver, R. Where Silence Rules. New York: Africa Watch Com., 1990.

Crowther, Geoff. Africa on a Shoestring. Hawthorne, Victoria, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications.

Gulhati, Ravi. Malawi: Promising Reforms, Bad Luck. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1989.

Kalinga, Owen J. A History of the Ngonde Kingdom of Malawi. Hawthorne, NY: Mouton, 1985.

Lane, Martha S.B. Malawi. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1990.

Mtewa, Mekki. Malawi Democratic Theory and Public Policy. Rochester, NY: Schenkman Books, 1986.

O'Toole, Thomas. Malawi in Pictures. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1988.

Oliver, Roland. Sir Harry Johnston and the Scramble for Africa. Chatto and Windus: 1964.

Pike, John G. Malawi, A Political and Economic History. Pall Mall Press: 1968.

Pryor, Frederic L. Income Distribution and Economic Development in Malawi: Some Historical Statistics. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1988.

. The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity, and Growth: Malawi & Madagascar. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Ransfield, Oliver. Livingtone's Lake. Camelot Press: 1966.

Rotberg, Robert I. The Rise of Nationalism in Central Africa: The Making of Malawi and Zambia, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 1965.

Sanders, Renfield. Malawi. Places& Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

Short, Phillip. Banda. Routledge &Kegan: 1974.

Smith, Pachai, and Tangri. Malawi, Past and Present.

Williams, T. David. Malawi: The Politics of Despair. Cornell University Press:New York, 1978.

Young, A.A. A Geography of Malawi. 3d ed. London: Evans Brothers, 1990.

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MALAWI

Compiled from the February 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Malawi


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont.

Cities: Capital—Lilongwe. Other cities—Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu.

Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate: Predominately subtropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Malawian(s).

Population: (2002 est.) 11 million.

Annual growth rate: (2003 est.) 3.4%.

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

Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.

Languages: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (1998 est.)—primary, 79%. Literacy (2003 est., age 15 and older)—63%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2003 est.)—105.15 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (at birth, 2003 est.)—37 yrs.

Government

Type: Multi-party democracy.

Independence: July 6, 1964.

Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Branches: Executive—president (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, cabinet. Legislative—unicameral National Assembly (193 members). Although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate, in practice the legislative branch's upper house does not exist. Judicial—High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 28 districts.

Political parties: United Democratic Front (UDF, ruling party), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), Republican Party (RP), National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Movement for Genuine Democratic Change (MGODE), People's Progressive Movement (PPM), People's Transformation Party (PETRA), and Congress for National Unity (CONU). MCP, PPM, and PETRA are the three opposition parties in Parliament.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years of age.

Central government budget: (2004/2005 proj.) Revenues and grants—$712.8 million (MK 76.9 billion); expenditures—$792.6 million (MK 85.6 billion).

Defense: (2003-2004 est.) 2% of national budget.

Economy

GDP: (2003 est.) About $1.7 billion.

Annual real GDP growth rate: (2004 est.) 3.9%.

Per capita GNI: (2003 est.) Approx. $160.

Avg. inflation rate: (2004) 11.1%.

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture: (approx. 38.6% of GDP) Products—tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land—34%, of which 86% is cultivated.

Industry: (16% of GDP) Types—tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Trade: (2001 est.) Exports—$456 million: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners—U.S., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports—$535 million: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany.

Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.


GEOGRAPHY

Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about 20% of Malawi's area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometers (250 mi.) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley, the land forms high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 ft.) above sea level. In the north, the Nyika Uplands rise as high as 2,600 meters (8,500 ft.); south of the lake lie the Shire Highlands, with an elevation of 600-1,600 meters (2,000-5,000 ft.), rising to Mts. Zomba and Mulanje, 2,130 and 3,048 meters (7,000 and 10,000 ft.). In the extreme south, the elevation is only 60-90 meters (200-300 ft.) above sea level.

Malawi is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most densely populated countries. The population of Lilongwe—Malawi's capital since 1971—exceeds 400,000. All government ministries and the Parliament are located in Lilongwe. Blantyre remains Malawi's major commercial center and largest city, having grown from an estimated 109,000 inhabitants in 1966 to nearly 500,000 in 1998. Malawi's President resides in Lilongwe. The Supreme Court is seated in Blantyre.

Malawi's climate is generally subtropical. A rainy season runs from November through April. There is little to no rainfall throughout most of the country from May to October. It is hot and humid from October to April along the lake and in the Lower Shire Valley. Lilongwe is also hot and humid during these months, albeit far less than in the south. The rest of the country is warm during those months. From June through August, the lake areas and far south are comfortably warm, but the rest of Malawi can be chilly at night, with temperatures ranging from 5º-14ºC (41º-57ºF).


PEOPLE

Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago. On reaching the area north of Lake Malawi, the Maravi divided. One branch, the ancestors of the present-day Chewas, moved south to the west bank of the lake. The other, the ancestors of the Nyanjas, moved down the east bank to the southern part of the country.

By AD 1500, the two divisions of the tribe had established a kingdom stretching from north of the present-day city of Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River in the south, and from Lake Malawi in the east, to the Luangwa River in Zambia in the west.

Migrations and tribal conflicts precluded the formation of a cohesive Malawian society until the turn of the 20th century. In more recent years, ethnic and tribal distinctions have diminished. Regional distinctions and rivalries, however, persist. Despite some clear differences, no significant friction currently exists between tribal groups, and the concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to take hold. Predominately a rural people, Malawians are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent.

The Chewas constitute 90% of the population of the central region; the Nyanja tribe predominates in the south and the Tumbuka in the north. In addition, significant numbers of the Tongas live in the north; Ngonisan offshoot of the Zulus who came from South Africa in the early 1800s—live in the lower northern and lower central regions; and the Yao, who are mostly Muslim, live along the southeastern border with Mozambique.


HISTORY

Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than 1 million years, and early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Negro and Bushman people.

Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow, formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. Other missionaries, traders, hunters, and planters soon followed.

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 Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Yao word for "lake"). Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 1900s, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. A growing European and U.S.-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active—first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).

During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence in the United States (where he had obtained his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937), the United Kingdom (where he practiced medicine), and Ghana. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison 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. It also gained an important role in the new Executive Council and ruled Nyasaland in all but name a year later. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.

Dr. 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 Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first President.

In 1970 Dr. Banda was declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi under authoritarian control until the 1990s. 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 either a multi-party democracy or the continuation of a one-party state. 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. The President is referred to as Dr. Muluzi, having received an honorary degree at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1995. 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.

On June 15, 1999, Malawi held its second democratic elections. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was re-elected to serve a second 5-year term as President, despite an MCP-AFORD alliance that ran a joint slate against the UDF.

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. The UDF, however, did not win a majority of seats in Parliament, as it had done in 1994 and 1999 elections. 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. President Bingu wa Mutharika left the UDF party on February 5, 2005 citing differences with the UDF, particularly over his anti-corruption campaign.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different 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 house, 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 28 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 multiparty 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.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/9/05

President: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Vice President: Cassim CHILUMPHA
Min. of Agriculture & Food Security: Gwanda CHAKUAMBA
Min. Responsible for Defense & the Civil Service: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Min. of Economic Planning & Development: Davies KATSONGA
Min. of Education & Human Resources: Yusuf MWAWA
Min. of Finance: Goodall GONDWE
Min. of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: David FAITI
Min. of Health: Dr. Hetherwick NTABA
Min. of Home Affairs & Internal Security: Uladi MUSSA
Min. of Industry, Science, & Technology: Khumbo CHIRWA
Min. of Information, Communications, & Tourism: Ken LIPENGA
Min. of Justice & Constitutional Affairs: Henry PHOYA
Min. of Labor & Vocational Training: Jafali MUSSA
Min. of Lands, Housing, & Service: Bazuka MHANGO
Min. of Local Government & Rural Development: George CHAPONDA
Min. of Mines, Natural Resources, & Environmental Affairs: Eunice KAZEMBE
Min. of Social Development & Persons With Disabilities: Clement CHIWAYA
Min. of Statutory Corporations and Civil Service: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA
Min. of Trade & Private Sector Development: Martin KANSICHI
Min. of Transport & Public Works: Henry MUSSA
Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Henry Chimunthu BANDA
Min. of Women, Child Welfare, & Community Services: Joyce BANDA
Attorney General: Henry PHOYA
Governor, Reserve Bank: Elias NGALANDE
Ambassador to the US: Bernard SANDE
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Brown CHIMPHAMBA
Minister of Water Development: Cassim CHILUMPHA

Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 1156 15th Street, NW, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270; fax 202-721-0288). Malawi's Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located at: 600 Third Avenue, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10016 (tel. 212-949-0180; Fax: 212-599-5021. Malawi also maintains an Honorary Consulate in the Los Angeles area. Dr. J.F. Clements, Malawi Honorary Consul, Malawi Consulate may be reached at 44970 Via Renaissance, Temecula, California 92590 (office number, 951-676-2476; fax number, 951-676-1568; and e-mail, [email protected]).


ECONOMY

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Malawi has few exploitable mineral resources. Its two most important export crops are tobacco and tea. Traditionally Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize, and during the 1980s exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbors. Agriculture represents 38.6% of the GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labor force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts). The agricultural sector contributes about 63.7% of total income for the rural population, 65% of manufacturing sector's raw materials, and approximately 87% of total employment. Financial wealth is generally concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Malawi's manufacturing industries are situated around the city of Blantyre.

Malawi's economic reliance on the export of agricultural commodities renders it particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as declining terms of trade and drought. High transport costs, which can comprise over 30% of its total import bill, constitute a serious impediment to economic development and trade. Malawi must import all its fuel products. Paucity of skilled labor; difficulty in obtaining expatriate employment permits; bureaucratic red tape; corruption; and inadequate and deteriorating road, electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure further hinder economic development in Malawi. However, recent government initiatives targeting improvements in the road infrastructure, together with private sector participation in railroad and telecommunications, have begun to render the investment environment more attractive.

Malawi has undertaken economic structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other donors since 1981. Broad reform objectives include stimulation of private sector activity and participation through the elimination of price controls and industrial licensing, liberalization of trade and foreign exchange, rationalization of taxes, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and civil service reform. Malawi qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt relief.

As of late May 2004, the IMF program begun in 2000 was canceled and a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) was implemented. In the wake of questions about fiscal creditability, the SMP's goal is to give Malawi's newly-elected government the chance to establish a track record of fiscal discipline.

Real GDP increased by an estimated 3.9% in 2004, from 4.3% in 2003 and 2.4% in 2002. Inflation has been largely under control since 2003, averaging 10% in that year and 11.1% (est.) in 2004. Discount and commercial lending rates also declined from 40%-45% in 2003 to 25% in early 2004. The Kwacha slid from 90 to 101 against the U.S. dollar in mid-2003 and was at 108 to the U.S. dollar at the end of 2004.

Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with its two major trading partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which allow duty-free entry of Malawian products into their countries.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Malawi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi's close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.

Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi's economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of "first country of asylum." Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so, would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.

Important bilateral donors, in addition to the U.S., include Canada, Libya, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.

Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, African Union, Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Nonaligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).


U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.

U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region's problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the first southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and has joined the successor program, African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States has a substantial foreign assistance program in Malawi. The U.S. Government provides about $31 million annually in development assistance under USAID's Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2001-2007. The primary goal of USAID assistance is poverty reduction and increased food security through broad-based, market-led economic growth, focusing on four areas: sustainable increases in rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, increased use of improved health behaviors and services, and improved quality and efficiency of basic education. The USAID program is implemented in partnership with the Government of Malawi, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), U.S. private voluntary organizations, contractors, and other partners.

The United States is the largest contributor to the World Food Program in Malawi, providing over $100 million in food and other emergency assistance through WFP since early 2002. A $4.8 million Global Development Alliance partnership, signed in September 2004, between Washington State University, Total Landcare, Cooperation for the Development of Emerging Countries, Business Consult Africa, Agricane Malawi, the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi, Nkhotakota District Assembly and USAID has leveraged $2.8 million of funding from private firms to support the community-based management of the Lake Malawi Chia Lagoon Watershed, addressing interrelated environmental problems affecting the livelihoods, well-being, and health of communities in the area. USAID support for Opportunity International Bank of Malawi is pioneering micro-finance and banking opportunities for low income Malawians, with almost 16,000 Malawians, half of whom never had a bank account in their lives, opening saving accounts in the first 15 months of the bank's life. OIBM, with the savings portfolio in hand, is moving towards a strong and disciplined micro-lending portfolio. Female entrepreneurs and business-women are prime beneficiaries from these loans. Partnering with the United Kingdom's Department For International Development (DFID) in the spring of 2004, USAID provided technical assistance in support of Malawi's successful presidential elections through support to the Electoral Commission for the registration process and support to civil society groups, including key faith-based networks, to provide voter education and monitoring throughout the country. Two important health data collection initiatives were funded by USAID in 2004. The Malawi Demographic Health Survey is collecting high-quality data on fertility levels and preferences; family planning use; reproductive, child and maternal health; nutritional status of young children and women; childhood mortality levels; knowledge and behavior regarding HIV/AIDS; and the prevalence of anemia among children and women and of HIV infection among women and men. Analysis of Malawi's first Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS) focuses on the knowledge and behaviors of eleven risk groups, including fishermen, truckers, vendors working in border communities, commercial sex workers, police officers, and teachers. Respondents to the survey were asked not only about their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, but also there own behaviors as well as the behaviors of their colleagues.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) operates two programs within Malawi: Global AIDS Program (GAP) and Malawi Malaria Program (MMP).

The CDC GAP office started in November 2001 with an emphasis on establishing long-term working relationships with the Malawi government, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) and the Ministry of Health (MOH). The major areas of focus during the initial phase included strengthening Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), HIV surveillance, evaluation, infrastructure, and capacity-building activities.

In its second year of operations, GAP Malawi supported multiple HIV surveillance activities including sentinel surveillance and the Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) survey. In partnership with NAC, CDC GAP continued to strengthen VCT, developing multiple national VCT building blocks such as VCT Guidelines and VCT Training materials. CDC GAP also improved the communications and data analysis capacity at NAC by helping to establish their computer system and establish the foundation for data analysis.

In 2003, responsibility for the HIV technical activity was transferred from NAC back to the MOH. CDC awarded two cooperative agreements to provide transitional support for a smooth transfer of activities, roles and responsibilities. In addition, GAP has cooperative agreements that support implementation of quality VCT, HIV treatment, and pre-service training to strengthen HIV testing capacity. Capacity-building is an integral part of all GAP Malawi activities.

The CDC MMP is jointly funded by USAID and CDC has evolved to provide more support to the national prevention and control program. CDC MMP has supported the work of the National Malaria Control Programme in developing the country strategic plan for Roll Back Malaria (RBM), developing the national "Malaria Policy," developing guidelines for the management of ITNs Program, and participating in other national program activities.

The Blantyre Integrated Malaria Initiative (BIMI), a program of CDC MMP, is a district-wide malaria-control effort, supported jointly by the Government of Malawi, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). BIMI was established in Blantyre District, Malawi in 1998 to promote sustainable and effective strategies to manage and prevent malaria-related morbidity and mortality.

Initial BIMI efforts focused on measurement of baseline data at health facilities and in the community. The information gathered was used to identify gaps in malaria control activities, to guide strategies for implementation of interventions, and to provide baseline measurements so that the success of program interventions can be monitored.

Peace Corps

The first Peace Corps volunteers arrived in Malawi in 1963. Under the conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the "nonconformist" role of some volunteers but was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the Government of Malawi. In total, over 2,200 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in Malawi.

The change of government in 1994 allowed the placement of volunteers at the community level for the first time. With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working to refocus programming and identify more appropriate areas for Peace Corps intervention at the community level. Currently, there are about 100 volunteers working in health, education, and environment.

Health volunteers work in areas of AIDS education, orphan care, home-based care, youth and at-risk groups, child survival activities, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health, and women's health issues. For many years, Peace Corps/Malawi had the only stand-alone HIV/AIDS project in the Peace Corps, and HIV/AIDS continues to be the cornerstone for health activities.

Education volunteers teach in the fields of physical science, mathematics, biology, and English at Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs), generally community-started and - supported entities.

Environment volunteers focus on community-based management of natural resources with border communities near national parks and forest reserves that want to utilize their resources in a more sustainable manner. This includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, income-generating activities, and agroforestry interventions.

The Crisis Corps program utilizes returned volunteers in short-term assignments for specific projects related to HIV/AIDS and food security. Crisis Corps volunteers are generally assigned with a local NGO to assist with activities that build capacity and develop materials within the organizations.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

LILONGWE (E) Address: Area 40, Plot No.24, Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3, Malawi; Phone: 265-1-773-166; Fax: 265-1-772-316; Workweek: 0730-1700 Mon-Thurs.; 0730-1330 Fri/no lunch; Website: http://usembassy.state.gov/malawi/

CM:Vacant
CM OMS:Sandra Slaughter
DCM/CHG:David R. Gilmour
DCM OMS:Vacant
POL:Siri Sitton
CON:Kiera Emmons
MGT:Craig L. Cloud
AFSA:William R. Taliaferro
AGR:Kevin N. Smith
AID:Roger Yochelson
CLO:Cathy Baxter
DAO:Dan Hampton (Harare)
ECO/COM:William R. Taliaferro
EEO:Kiera L. Emmons
FMO:Darcy M. Mercadante
GSO:Sharon A. Rutherford
ICASS Chair:Karen Klimowski
IMO:Gerald W. Bochart
ISO:Danial M. Thompson
ISSO:Joe A. Dogonniuck
PAO:Mitchell R. Moss
RSO:Joe A. Dogonniuck
State ICASS:Mitchell R. Moss
Last Updated: 1/18/2005

Crime

Even though Malawi is known as "the warm heart of Africa," both residents and visitors need to bear in mind that there is a criminal element present. Carjackings and residential breakins are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and travelers should be aware that break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country.

American citizens are urged to avoid traveling on foot at night, especially in urban areas, as incidences of armed muggings and assaults have increased. Specifically, expatriates have been targeted in Lilongwe, and several Americans have been injured. Even when walking in a large group, city streets should be considered unsafe after dark. Pedestrians should be cautious even during daylight hours. Visitors in need of transportation should request hotel or restaurant management to contact a taxi or car service.


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

November 12, 2004

Country Description: Malawi is a developing African nation. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas. Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities, and ATM's in Malawi do not accept international ATM cards. Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required. A 30-day visa, which can be extended up to an additional 60 days, is issued at point of entry. There is an airport departure tax, which is payable only in U.S. dollars, for all non-Malawians. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Malawi, 1156 15 th Street, N.W., Suite 320, Washington, D.C. 20005, telephone (202) 721-0270. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Malawian Embassy or Consulate. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Malawi and other countries.

Safety and Security: Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.

Crime: Even though Malawi is known as "the warm heart of Africa," both residents and visitors need to bear in mind that there is a criminal element present. Carjackings and residential break-ins are prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pick-pocketing) is common, and travelers should be aware that break-ins have also occurred in hotels/lodges throughout the country.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Posts in countries that have victims of crime assistance programs should include that information. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities are basic in urban areas and poor to nonexistent in rural areas. Some medicines are in short supply or locally unavailable. Travelers should be aware that, contrary to the frequent claims of the local tourist industry, Lake Malawi does contain the parasite schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malawi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Malawi's principal highways are generally in good condition, though the lack of shoulders constitutes a safety hazard. Secondary roads are in poor repair and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the rainy season (November-April). Public transportation, consisting primarily of minibuses, is unreliable and accidents are common. Given Malawi's high road accident rate, travelers should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Police roadblocks are common and properly-documented drivers usually pass quickly and without incident. Foreigners intending to remain in Malawi for an extended period of time are expected to obtain a locally-issued driver's license.

For specific information concerning Malawi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. on (202) 721-0270. For international driving permits contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Malawi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: Wild animals may pose a danger. Travelers are advised that, even in the most serene settings, wild animals can pose a threat to life and safety. Travelers are cautioned to observe local or park regulations and heed all instructions given by tour guides.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Malawi laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malawi are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Malawi are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Malawi. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe; telephone numbers are (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"); fax (265) 1-774-976 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"). The Embassy's mailing address is P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

Availability of Children for Adoption: There are very few international adoptions in Malawi. Since 1998, U.S. citizens have adopted only three children from Malawi.

Malawi Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Lilongwe is the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services.

Malawi Adoption Procedures: First you will need to retain a lawyer to handle the application if you have already identified a child for adoption. The lawyer files a petition with the Court. Once that is done, the Court chooses a "Guardian ad Litem", who is a social worker. The "guardian ad litem" investigates the circumstances of the prospective adoptee(s) and submits a Court Social Report. The adoption is ruled upon by the court.

Age and Civil Status Requirements: Applicant (adoptive parent) must be at least 25 years old and at least 21 years older than the child. An adoption order shall not be made in any case where the sole applicant is a male and the child is a female unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances, which justify the exception. An adoption order shall not be made in favor of any applicant who is not a resident in Malawi or in respect of any infant who is not a resident. It is the practice that before one is considered to adopt a child, he/she must first foster care the child for a period of not less that 18 months.

Malawi Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: There are no adoption agencies in Malawi. Contact the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services at Private Bag 330 Lilongwe 3.

Attorneys: Law Offices Bernard and Harris Tele: 623-599; Khunze Kapeta, Attorney at Law Tele: 624-316; Bazuka and Company Tele: 636-443.

Doctors: The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines should either you or your child experience health problems while in Malawi.

Malawi Documentary Requirements: There is no list of document requirements listed under the Adoption Act 26:02 of the law of Malawi. This act governs all adoptions in Malawi. It does state that the adoption cannot take place without the consent of every person who is a parent or guardian of the child who has custody of the child or who is likely to contribute the support to the child.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: A Malawi child adopted by an American citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details.

U.S. Embassy (Consulate) in Malawi:
American Embassy-Lilongwe
P.O. Box 30016
Lilongwe 3
Tel: 265-773-166; Fax: 265-774-976

Questions: Specific questions regarding adoption in Malawi may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Malawi.

views updated

MALAWI

Compiled from the October 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.


Official Name:
Republic of Malawi


PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont.

Cities: Capital—Lilongwe. Other cities—Blantyre (largest city), Zomba, Mzuzu.

Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.

Climate: Predominately subtropical.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Malawian(s).

Population: (2002 est.) 11 million.

Annual growth rate: (2002 est.) 2.2%.

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

Religions: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.

Languages: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (1998 est.)—primary, 79%. Literacy (2003 est., age 15 and older)—63%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2003 est.)—105.15 deaths /1,000 live births. Life expectancy (at birth, 2003 est.)—38 yrs.


Government

Type: multi-party democracy.

Independence: July 6, 1964.

Constitution: May 18, 1995.

Branches: Executive—President (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, Cabinet. Legislative—unicameral National Assembly. (Although in practice the legislative branch does not include a Senate, the Malawi constitution provides for the establishment of a Senate.) Judicial—High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, Subordinate Magistrate Courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 27 districts.

Political parties: United Democratic Front (UDF, ruling party), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). MCP, AFORD and NDA are the three opposition parties in Parliament. Other political parties include: Congress for the Second Republic (CSR), Malawi Democratic Party MDP), People Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), other smaller parties.

Suffrage: Universal at 18 years of age.

Central government budget: (1999-2000 est.) Revenues and grants—$490 million (MK 21.5 billion); expenditures—$523 million (MK 22.9 billion).

Defense: (1999-2000 est.) 3.8% of recurrent budget and 1.1% of development budget.


Economy

GDP: (2002 est.) About $1.9 billion.

Annual real GDP growth rate: (2002 est.) 1.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2000 est.) Approx. $180.

Avg. inflation rate: (2003) 9.0%.

Natural resources: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths.

Agriculture: (approx. 36% of GDP) Products—tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land—34%, of which 86% is cultivated.

Industry: (16% of GDP) Types—tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods.

Trade: (2001 est.) Exports—$435 million: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners—U.S., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports—505 million: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners—South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany.

Fiscal year: July 1-June 30.




GEOGRAPHY

Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley traverses the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in Africa, comprising about 20% of Malawi's area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 kilometers (250 mi.) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley, the land forms high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 meters (3,000-4,000 ft.) above sea level. In the north, the Nyika Uplands rise as high as 2,600 meters (8,500 ft.); south of the lake lie the Shire Highlands, with an elevation of 600-1,600 meters (2,000-5,000 ft.), rising to Mts. Zomba and Mulanje, 2,130 and 3,048 meters (7,000 and 10,000 ft.). In the extreme south, the elevation is only 60-90 meters (200-300 ft.) above sea level.


Malawi is one of Sub-Saharan Africa's most densely populated countries. The population of Lilongwe—Malawi's capital since 1971—exceeds 400,000. All government ministries and the Parliament are located in Lilongwe. Blantyre remains Malawi's major commercial center and largest city, having grown from an estimated 109,000 inhabitants in 1966 to nearly 500,000 in 1998. Malawi's President resides in Blantyre. The Supreme Court is seated in Blantyre.


Malawi's climate is generally subtropical. A rainy season runs from November through April. There is little to no rainfall throughout most of the country from May to October. It is hot and humid from October to April along the lake and in the Lower Shire Valley. Lilongwe is also hot and humid during these months, albeit far less than in the south. The rest of the country is warm during those months. From June through August, the lake areas and far south are comfortably warm, but the rest of Malawi can be chilly at night, with temperatures ranging from 5°-14°C (41°-57°F).




PEOPLE

Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years ago. On reaching the area north of Lake Malawi, the Maravi divided. One branch, the ancestors of the present-day Chewas, moved south to the west bank of the lake. The other, the ancestors of the Nyanjas, moved down the east bank to the southern part of the country.


By AD 1500, the two divisions of the tribe had established a kingdom stretching from north of the presentday city of Nkhotakota to the Zambezi River in the south, and from Lake Malawi in the east, to the Luangwa River in Zambia in the west.


Migrations and tribal conflicts precluded the formation of a cohesive Malawian society until the turn of the 20th century. In more recent years, ethnic and tribal distinctions have diminished. Regional distinctions and rivalries, however, persist. Despite some clear differences, no significant friction currently exists between tribal groups, and the concept of a Malawian nationality has begun to take hold. Predominately a rural people, Malawians are generally conservative and traditionally nonviolent.


The Chewas constitute 90% of the population of the central region; the Nyanja tribe predominates in the south and the Tumbuka in the north. In addition, significant numbers of the Tongas live in the north; Ngonis—an offshoot of the Zulus who came from South Africa in the early 1800s—live in the lower northern and lower central regions; and the Yao, who are mostly Muslim, live along the southeastern border with Mozambique.


HISTORY

Hominid remains and stone implements have been identified in Malawi dating back more than 1 million years, and early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BC show physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BC, the remains possess features resembling Negro and Bushman people.


Although the Portuguese reached the area in the 16th century, the first significant Western contact was the arrival of David Livingstone along the shore of Lake Malawi in 1859. Subsequently, Scottish Presbyterian churches established missions in Malawi. One of their objectives was to end the slave trade to the Persian Gulf that continued to the end of the 19th century. In 1878, a number of traders, mostly from Glasgow, formed the African Lakes Company to supply goods and services to the missionaries. Other missionaries, traders, hunters, and planters soon followed.


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 Nyasaland Protectorate (Nyasa is the Chichewa word for "lake"). Although the British remained in control during the first half of the 1900s, this period was marked by a number of unsuccessful Malawian attempts to obtain independence. A growing European and U.S.-educated African elite became increasingly vocal and politically active—first through associations, and after 1944, through the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC).


During the 1950s, pressure for independence increased when Nyasaland was joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia in 1953 to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In July 1958, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda returned to the country after a long absence in the United States (where he had obtained his medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937), the United Kingdom (where he practiced medicine), and Ghana. He assumed leadership of the NAC, which later became the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). In 1959, Banda was sent to Gwelo Prison 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. It also gained an important role in the new Executive Council and ruled Nyasaland in all but name a year later. In a second constitutional conference in London in November 1962, the British Government agreed to give Nyasaland self-governing status the following year.


Dr. 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 Commonwealth (formerly the British Commonwealth) on July 6, 1964. Two years later, Malawi adopted a new constitution and became a one-party state with Dr. Banda as its first president.


In 1970 Dr. Banda was declared President for life of the MCP, and in 1971 Banda consolidated his power and was named President for life of Malawi itself. The paramilitary wing of the Malawi Congress Party, the Young Pioneers, helped keep Malawi under authoritarian control until the 1990s. 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 either a multi-party democracy or the continuation of a one-party state. 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. The President is referred to as Dr. Muluzi, having received an honorary degree at Lincoln University in Missouri in 1995. 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.


On June 15, 1999, Malawi held its second democratic elections. Dr. Bakili Muluzi was re-elected to serve a second 5-year term as President, despite an MCP-AFORD Alliance that ran a joint slate against the UDF. As of October 2001, the UDF holds 96 seats in the National Assembly, while the AFORD holds 30, and the MCP holds 61. Six seats are held by members of the recently formed NDA party. The National Assembly has 193 members, of whom just under 10% are women. The next presidential elections are scheduled to take place in May 2004.




GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Government of Malawi has been a multi-party democracy since 1994. Under the 1995 constitution, the president, who is both chief of state and head of the government, is chosen through universal direct suffrage every 5 years. Malawi has a vice president who is elected with the president. The president has the option of appointing a second vice president, who must be from a different 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 house, 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. Malawi's third democratic presidential elections are scheduled to take place on May 16, 2004.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 4/15/03


President: Muluzi, Bakili

Vice President: Malewezi, Justin

Second Vice President: Chihana, Chakufwa

Min. of Agriculture, Irrigation, & Food Security: Chihana, Chakufwa

Min. of Commerce & Industry: Mpasu, Sam

Min. of Defense: Munyenyembe, Rodwell

Min. of Economic Planning & Development: Mutharika, Bingu Wa

Min. of Education, Science, & Technology: Mtafu, George Nga

Min. of Finance: Jumbe, Friday

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Intl. Cooperation: Patel, Lilian

Min. of Gender & Community Services: Sumani, Alice

Min. of Health & Population: Mwawa, Yusuf

Min. of Home Affairs & Internal Security: Maluza, Monjeza

Min. of Housing: Phumisa, S. D. Kaliyoma

Min. of Information: Chisale, Bernard

Min. of Justice: Maulidi, Paul

Min. of Labor & Vocational Training: Mlanga, Lee

Min. of Lands, Physical Planning, & Surveys: Maloya, Thengo

Min. of Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs: Mussa, Uladi

Min. for Privatization: Malewezi, Justin

Min. of Sports, Youth, & Culture: Mabeti, Henderson

Min. of Tourism, Parks, & Wildlife: Chiume, Wallace

Min. of Transport & Public Works: Stambuli, Clement

Min. of Water Development: Lemani, Dumbo

Min. Without Portfolio: Mughogho, Chipimpha

Min. of State for Local Govt. & District Admin.: Bagus, Salim

Min. of State in the President's Office Responsible for HIV/AIDS Programs: Banda, Mary Kaphwereza

Min. of State in the President's Office Responsible for People With Disabilities: Chitimbe, Susan

Min. of State in the President's Office Responsible for Presidential Affairs: Lipenga, Ken

Min. of State in the President's Office Responsible for Poverty & Disaster Management: Shati, Ludoviko

Min. of State in the President's Office Responsible for Statutory Corporations: Khamisa, Bob

Min. of State in the President's Office, Special Duties: Mbewe, Patrick

Attorney General: Fachi, Peter

Governor, Reserve Bank: Ngalande, Elias

Ambassador to the US: Kandiero, Paul Tony Steven

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Lamba, Isaac Chikwekwere



Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 2408 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-797-1007; fax 202-265-0976. Malawi's Permanent Mission to the United Nations is located at: 600 Third Avenue, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10016 (tel. 212-949-0180; Fax: 212-599-5021. Malawi also maintains an Honorary Consulate in the Los Angeles area. Dr. J.F. Clements, Malawi Honorary Consul, Malawi Consulate may be reached at 3420 Freda's Hill Road, Vista, California 92084-6466 (office tel. 213-223-2020).




ECONOMY

Malawi is a landlocked, densely populated country. Its economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. Malawi has few exploitable mineral resources. Its two most important export crops are tobacco and tea. Traditionally Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize, and during the 1980s exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbors. Agriculture represents 36% of the GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labor force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Nearly 90% of the population engages in subsistence farming. Smallholder farmers produce a variety of crops, including maize (corn), beans, rice, cassava, tobacco, and groundnuts (peanuts). Financial wealth is generally concentrated in the hands of a small elite. Malawi's manufacturing industries are situated around the city of Blantyre.


Malawi's economic reliance on the export of agricultural commodities renders it particularly vulnerable to external shocks such as declining terms of trade and drought. High transport costs, which can comprise over 30% of its total import bill, constitute a serious impediment to economic development and trade. Malawi must import all its fuel products. Paucity of skilled labor; difficulty in obtaining expatriate employment permits; bureaucratic red tape; corruption; and inadequate and deteriorating road, electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure further hinder economic development in Malawi. However, recent government initiatives targeting improvements in the road infrastructure, together with private sector participation in railroad and telecommunications, have begun to render the investment environment more attractive.


Malawi has undertaken economic structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank (IBRD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other donors since 1981. Broad reform objectives include stimulation of private sector activity and participation through the elimination of price controls and industrial licensing, liberalization of trade and foreign exchange, rationalization of taxes, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and civil service reform. Malawi qualified for Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) debt relief and is in the process of refining its Poverty Reduction Strategy.


Real GDP grew by 2.1% in 2000 and 1.8% in 2002. Although the average annual inflation has been reduced to 9.0% in 2002 the discount and commercial bank rates remained high at 40%-45%. In mid-2003 the Kwacha slid from 90 to 101 against the US dollar sparking concerns that inflation would begin returning to pre-2002 rates of 30%-40%. Malawi has bilateral trade agreements with its two major trading partners, South Africa and Zimbabwe, both of which allow duty-free entry of Malawian products into their countries. The government faces challenges such as the improvement of Malawi's educational and health facilities—particularly important because of the rising rates of HIV/AIDS—and environmental problems like deforestation, erosion, and overworked soils.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

President Muluzi has continued the pro-Western foreign policy established by former President Banda. It maintains excellent diplomatic relations with principal Western countries. Malawi's close relations with South Africa throughout the apartheid era strained its relations with other African nations. Following the collapse of apartheid in 1994, Malawi developed, and currently maintains, strong diplomatic relations with all African countries.


Between 1985 and 1995, Malawi accommodated more than a million refugees from Mozambique. The refugee crisis placed a substantial strain on Malawi's economy but also drew significant inflows of international assistance. The accommodation and eventual repatriation of the Mozambicans is considered a major success by international organizations. In 1996, Malawi received a number of Rwandan and Congolese refugees seeking asylum. The government did not turn away refugees, but it did invoke the principle of "first country of asylum." Under this principle, refugees who requested asylum in another country first, or who had the opportunity to do so would not subsequently be granted asylum in Malawi. There were no reports of the forcible repatriation of refugees.

Important bilateral donors, in addition to the U.S., include Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Multilateral donors include the World Bank, the IMF, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the United Nations organizations.


Malawi held the chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2001. President Muluzi has taken an active role in SADC on issues such as the global coalition against terrorism and land reform in Zimbabwe.


Malawi is a member of the following international organizations: UN and some of its specialized and related agencies (i.e. UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO), IMF, World Bank, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Berne Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, Organization of African Unity (OAU), Lome Convention, African Development Bank (AFDB), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), Nonaligned Movement, G-77, and the World Health Organization (WHO).




U.S.-MALAWIAN RELATIONS

The transition from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy significantly strengthened the already cordial U.S. relationship with Malawi. Significant numbers of Malawians study in the United States. The United States has an active Peace Corps program and an Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Malawi.


U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Through a pragmatic assessment of its own national interests and foreign policy objectives, Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region's problems through negotiation. Malawi works to achieve these objectives in the United Nations, COMESA, and SADC. Malawi is the only southern African country to receive peacekeeping training under the U.S.-sponsored African Crisis Response Force Initiative (ACRI) and is slated to participate in its successor program African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA). It has an active slate of peacetime engagement military-to-military programs. The two countries maintain a continuing dialogue through diplomatic representatives and periodic visits by senior officials.


U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The United States has a substantial foreign assistance program in Malawi. Through USAID, the U.S. Government provides more than $27 million annually in assistance. These funds are provided under USAID's new Country Strategic Plan (CSP) for the period 2001-05. USAID's primary goal is to reduce poverty and increase food security through broadbased, market-led economic growth.


USAID assistance is focused in the following four areas and is implemented in partnership with the Malawian Government, citizen involvement, nongovernmental organizations, U.S. private organizations, and other partners: increased sustainable employment opportunities and rural incomes, increased civic involvement in the rule of law, adoption of behaviors to reduce fertility and HIV/AIDS and improve child health, and improved quality and of education. In addition to supporting development projects, the United States provides an emergency food aid program for those vulnerable populations that are chronically undernourished and most at risk.


Peace Corps

The first Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in Malawi in 1963. Under the conservative Banda regime, the program was suspended for several years due to the "nonconformist" role of some Volunteers but was restored in 1978. Since that time, the program has developed a close working relationship with the Government of Malawi. In total, over 2,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Malawi.

The change of government in 1994 allowed the placement of Volunteers at the community level for the first time. With the increased flexibility in programming, the Peace Corps began working to refocus programming and identify more appropriate areas for Peace Corps intervention at the community level. Currently, there are about 120 Volunteers working in health, education, and environment.


Health Volunteers work in areas of AIDS education, orphan care, home-based care, youth and at-risk groups, child survival activities, nutrition, disease prevention, environmental health and women's health issues. For many years, Peace Corps/Malawi had the only stand-alone HIV/AIDS project in the Peace Corps, and HIV/AIDS continues to be the cornerstone for health activities.


Education Volunteers teach in the fields of physical science, mathematics, biology, and English at Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSSs), generally community-started and - supported entities.


Environment Volunteers focus on community based management of natural resources with border communities that want to utilize their resources in a more sustainable manner. This includes the promotion of sustainable agricultural practices, income generating activities, and agroforestry interventions.


The Crisis Corps program utilizes Returned Volunteers in short-term assignments for specific projects related to HIV/AIDS. Crisis Corps Volunteers are generally assigned with a local NGO to assist with activities that build capacity and develop materials within the organizations.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Lilongwe (E), P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi, Tel [011] (265) 1-773-166, 773-342, 773-367; Fax 770-471; EXEC Fax 772-316; ADM Fax 773-169; AID 772-455; Fax 773-181; PC 757-157; Fax 751-008. PAS 772-992/772-222/772-414; Fax 771-142.

AMB: Roger A. Meece
AMB OMS: Doris M. McCourt
DCM: Thomas Dougherty
ECO/COM: Marc D. Dillard
CON/POL: Janine Shors
PAO: Robin D. Diallo
MGT: Kevin Crews
RSO: Joseph Dogonniuk
GSO: Randolph T. McCourt
IMO: E. Alex Copher
RMO: Lawrence Hill (res. Pretoria)
AID: Roger Yochelson
PC: Annamaria Watrin
DAO: [Vacant]
AGR: Fred Kessel (res. Nairobi)
LAB: [Vacant]


Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
April 1, 2003


Country Description: Malawi is a developing African nation. Tourist facilities in major cities and in resort areas are steadily improving, but remain limited. Aging infrastructure and lack of investment have rendered electricity, water supply, and telecommunications unreliable in rural areas. Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside of major cities. Dress codes against short skirts on women and long hair on men no longer exist, but travelers may wish to dress modestly, especially when visiting remote areas.


Entry Requirements: A passport, return ticket, and adequate funds are required. A 30-day visa, which can be extended up to an additional 60 days, is issued at point of entry. There is a $20 airport departure tax (pay able only in U.S. dollars) for all non-Malawians. Travelers should obtain the latest information and details from the Embassy of Malawi, 2408 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 797-1007. Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Malawian Embassy or Consulate.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


Safety and Security: Spontaneous civil disturbances, primarily related to labor and student strikes, occur, but are uncommon. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds, political rallies and street demonstrations and maintain security awareness at all times.


Crime Information: Even though Malawi is known as "the warm heart of Africa," both residents and visitors need to bear in mind that there is a criminal element present. Carjackings and residential break-ins are two crimes prevalent throughout Malawi. Perpetrators of these crimes are usually well armed and may resort to violence with little provocation. Petty street crime (robbery and pickpocketing) is common. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad" for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are basic in urban areas and poor to non-existent in rural areas. Some medicines are in short supply or locally unobtainable. Travelers should be aware that, contrary to the frequent claims of the local tourist industry, Lake Malawi does contain the parasite schistosomiasis, aka bilharzia. Malaria is endemic throughout Malawi. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas, including emergency services.


When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas health care provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/ith. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/iht.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Malawi is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.


Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


Malawi's principal highways are generally in good condition, though the lack of shoulders constitutes a safety hazard. Secondary roads are in poor repair and may be impassable to all but four-wheel drive vehicles during the rainy season (November-April). Given Malawi's high road-accident rate, travelers should drive defensively and avoid road travel outside cities at night. Road support networks for stranded drivers do not exist. Travelers are encouraged to convoy with other vehicles if possible. Persons traveling overland to Malawi should contact the U.S. Embassy consular sections in both Malawi and the proposed countries of transit to ensure that they have the most current information.


For specific information concerning Malawi driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Malawi in Washington, D.C. on 202-797-1007. For international driving permits contact AAA or the American Automobile Touring Alliance.


For additional information about road safety, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page road safety overseas feature at


http://travel.state.gov/road safety.html.


Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Malawi, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Malawi's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Malawi's air carrier operations.


For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA'a Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 1-618-229-4801.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulartions, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Malawi's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Malawi are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.


Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Malawi are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Malawi and obtain updated information on travel and security within Malawi. The U.S. Embassy is located in Area 40, City Center, Lilongwe; telephone numbers are (265) 1-773-166, 1-773-342 and 1-773-367 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"); fax (265) 1-774-976 (if dialing within Malawi add "0" before the "1"). The Embassy's mailing address is P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe, Malawi. The U.S. Embassy Website is http://usembassy.state.gov/malawi/.

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Malawi

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Malawians

35 Bibliography

Republic of Malawi

CAPITAL: Lilongwe

FLAG: The national flag is a horizontal tricolor of black, red, and green, with a red rising sun in the center of the black stripe.

ANTHEM: Begins “O God, Bless Our Land of Malawi.”

MONETARY UNIT: The kwacha (k) of 100 tambala (t) is the national currency; it replaced the Malawi pound (m£) on 28 August 1970 and was linked with the pound sterling until November 1973. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 tambala, and notes of 50 tambala and 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 kwacha. k1 = $0.00832 (or $1 = k120.21) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Martyrs’ Day, 3 March; Kamuzu Day, 14 May; Republic or National Day, 6 July; Mothers’ Day, 17 October; National Tree Planting Day, 21 December; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday.

TIME: 2 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

A landlocked country in southeastern Africa, Malawi has an area of 118,480 square kilometers (45,745 square miles), slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania. The country has a total boundary length of 2,768 kilometers (1,720 miles). Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, is located in the southwestern part of the country.

2 Topography

Malawi lies at the southern end of the Great Rift Valley system, an area which extends south from the valley of the Jordan River to Mozambique. Lake Malawi, a body of water with an area of 29,600 square kilometers (11,400 square miles), is the country’s most prominent physical feature.

About 75% of the land surface is plateau at an elevation between 750 meters and 1,350 meters (2,460 and 4,430 feet) above sea level. The highest point is in the southern Mulanje Mountains, where Sapitwa (Mount Mulanje) rises to 3,002 meters (9,849 feet). The lowest point is on the southern border, where the

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 118,480 sq km (45,745 sq mi)

Size ranking: 98 of 194

Highest elevation: 3,002 meters (9,849 feet) at

Mount Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje)

Lowest elevation: 37 meters (121 feet) at the junction of the Shire River and the international boundary with Mozambique

Land Use*

Arable land: 21%

Permanent crops: 1%

Other: 78%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 85 centimeters (33 inches)

Average temperature in January: 21°c (70°f)

Average temperature in July: 15°c (59°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

Shire River approaches its confluence with the Zambezi at 37 meters (121 feet) above sea level.

The Shire River is the country’s longest, with a length of 400 kilometers (250 miles).

3 Climate

Precipitation is heaviest along the northern coast of Lake Malawi, where the average is more than 163 centimeters (64 inches) per year. The average daily minimum and maximum temperatures in November, the hottest month, are 17°c (63°f) and 29°c (84°f); those in July, the coolest month, are 7°c (45°f) and 23°c (73°f).

4 Plants and Animals

About half of the land area is classified as forest or woodland, but some of this includes grassland, thicket, and scrub. There are indigenous softwoods in the better-watered areas, with bamboo and cedars on Mount Sapitwa; evergreen conifers also grow in the highlands. Mopane, baobab, acacia, and mahogany trees are among those found at lower elevations.

There are many varieties of animal life. The elephant, giraffe, and buffalo are found in certain areas; hippopotamuses dwell on the shores of Lake Malawi. The kudu, wildebeest, and hartebeest are among the antelopes to be found. Other mammals in Malawi are the baboon, monkey, hyena, zebra, lion, warthog, and porcupine.

There are at least 219 species of birds. Reptiles are plentiful and include freshwater turtle, crocodile, tortoise, chameleon, lizard, and many varieties of snakes; the Egyptian cobra has been found in the Shire Valley. Fish abound in the lakes and rivers; species include bream, bass, catfish, carp, and trout. Malawi is rich in insect life and has species in common with tropical West Africa and Tanzania.

5 Environment

Cultivation and continued population growth raise the threat of soil erosion and exhaustion, as well as the use of forest areas for agricultural purposes. The demand for firewood has significantly depleted the timber stock and human settlement has reduced wildlife habitats. As of 2003, 11.2% of the country’s natural areas were protected. Some of the nation’s fish population is threatened with extinction due to pollution from sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural chemicals. According to a 2006 report, the number of threatened species include 7 mammal species, 13 bird species, and 14 plant species. Threatened species include the African elephant, cheetah, and African wild dog.

6 Population

According to a 2005 estimate, the population was 12.3 million, and was projected to reach 23.75 million in 2025. The estimated population density was 134 persons per square kilometer (347 per square mile), one of the highest in Africa. Lilongwe, the capital, had about 587,000 people in 2005.

7 Migration

During the early 1990s, the annual urban growth rate was about 6%. From 1992 to 1996, a total of 1.3 million Mozambican refugees returned from Malawi. In 2005, the estimated net migration rate was zero.

8 Ethnic Groups

Malawians belong mainly to various Central Bantu groups. The Chewas are primarily located

in the central regions of the country. The Nyanja live primarily in the south and the Lomwe (Alomwe), live south of Lake Chilwa. Other indigenous Malawians include the Tumbuko, Tonga, and Ngonde. The Ngoni and Yao arrived in the nineteenth century. There are a few thousand Europeans, mainly of British origin, including descendants of Scottish missionaries. There are also small numbers of Portuguese, Asians (mainly Indians), and persons of mixed ancestry.

9 Languages

Numerous Bantu languages and dialects are spoken. Chichewa, the language of the Chewa and Nyanja, is spoken by more than half the population, but the Lomwe, Yao, and Tumbuka have their own widely spoken languages, respectively known as Chilomwe, Chiyao, and Chitumbuka. English and Chichewa are the official languages.

10 Religions

As of a 2004 report, it is believed that more than 70% of the population are Christian, with the largest groups being affiliated with the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches. There are smaller numbers of Anglicans, Baptists, evangelicals, and Seventh-day Adventists. Muslims account for approximately 20% of the population, with most belonging to the Sunni sect. Tribal religionists account for about 3% of the population. There are also small numbers of Hindus and Baha’is.

11 Transportation

In 2004, Malawi had 797 kilometers (495 miles) of railways, and an estimated 14,594 kilometers (9,069 miles) of roads, of which 2,773 kilometers (1,723 miles) were paved. In 2003, there were 11,400 passenger cars and 14,220 commercial vehicles. Kamuzu International Airport, at Lilongwe, opened in 1982. In 2003, about 109,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

12 History

Malawi has been inhabited for at least 12,000 years; its earliest peoples were nomadic hunter-gatherers. By the 13th century ad, Bantu-speaking migrants had entered the region, and the Chewa peoples had become dominant by the early 16th century. The first European to explore the area extensively was David Livingstone in the 1850s and 1860s. In 1878, the African Lakes Company was formed by Scottish businessmen, and the British government annexed the territory (then known as Nyasaland) in 1891.

Between World Wars I (1914–18) and II (1939–45), Nyasaland seemed headed for eventual independence. In 1953, however, it was joined with the two Rhodesias—Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)—in the Central African Federation.

When African citizens expressed angry opposition to the federation in 1959, a state of emergency was declared. In 1960, the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), headed by Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, stepped up the campaign against federation rule. At a constitutional conference held in London in November 1962, it was agreed that Nyasaland should become fully self-governing early in 1963, and that Banda, who headed the MCP, should become prime minister.

The Banda Era On 6 July 1964, Nyasaland became a fully independent member of the

British Commonwealth of Nations and adopted the name Malawi. On 6 July 1966, Banda assumed the presidency. During the first decade of Banda’s presidency, Malawi’s relations with its neighbors, ruled by blacks, were sometimes stormy. In addition to claiming extensive territories outside the present boundaries of the country, Malawi became the first black African country to establish diplomatic relations with white-ruled South Africa; moreover, Banda became the first black African head of state to be officially received in South Africa, which supplied arms and development funds to Malawi.

Banda continued to rule Malawi with an iron hand through the 1970s and into the late 1980s. During his rule his opponents were treated severely. Several thousand people were imprisoned for political offenses at one time or another and leaders of opposition groups were persecuted.

Opposition to Banda’s harsh rule strengthened and Banda’s grip on the country began to weaken. Under mounting pressure, Banda agreed to hold a referendum early in 1993 on whether Malawi should remain a one-party state. On 14 June 1993, 63% of those voting favored adopting multiparty democracy. Banda agreed to hold elections in 1994 and to draft a new constitution. Parliament adopted laws ending one-party rule and imprisonment without trial and allowing dissidents to return home.

Post-Banda Malawi In the 17 May 1994 elections, Bakili Muluzi, a former cabinet minister,

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Bingu Wa Mutharika

Position: President of a multiparty democracy

Took Office: 24 May 2004

Birthplace: Thyolo, Malawi

Birthdate: 24 February 1934

Education: Master’s degree in economics from the University of Dehli, India; PhD in development economics from Pacific Western University in Los Angeles, California

Of interest: He is a former secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and has worked for the World Bank and the United Nations.

was elected president over Banda and two other candidates. Muluzi immediately ordered the release of political prisoners and the closing of the most notorious jails. The transition of power was fairly smooth and an atmosphere of relative tolerance prevailed.

In June 1999, the second multiparty elections were held with Muluzi emerging as the winner with 51.4% of the vote, in a process that was considered generally free and fair by international observers. The opposition refused to acknowledge the victory and riots broke out. Muluzi was inaugurated later that month.

In July 2002, the national assembly rejected proposals to amend the constitution to allow Muluzi to run for a third term in 2004. The proposals, resubmitted in February 2003, were quickly withdrawn under protests from opposition groups, civil society, and the diplomatic community. Muluzi laid to rest speculation over his political intentions when he announced in April 2003 that his party, the United Democratic Front (UDF), had endorsed a 68-year-old economist, Bingu wa Mutharika, as its presidential candidate for 2004.

Mutharika was elected to the presidency in 2004, but his anti-corruption policy quickly cost him the support of his predecessor, Muluzi. On 5 February 2005, President Mutharika resigned from the UDF and formed his own political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), following allegations that UDF party members were plotting to assassinate him.

In early 2006, the national assembly was in the process of impeaching President Mutharika and, by mid-2006, a full-blown political crisis had erupted as former president Muluzi was facing a corruption probe from the government’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), and his successor, President Mutharika, was facing impeachment.

Amid the political wrangling, a severe food shortage began in 2002. It affected some 3.2 million people. The plight of those suffering from human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) were ignored by a distracted government.

13 Government

Malawi officially became a republic on 6 July 1966. The new constitution took effect on 18 May 1995. The president is the head of state and supreme executive authority. Legislative power is vested in the single-chamber 193-member national assembly, and all adults may vote. Parliamentary elections are to occur every five years unless the president dissolves the national assembly before then.

Malawi is divided into three administrative regions, which are subdivided into 24 districts.

14 Political Parties

Malawi was officially a one-party state from October 1973 until July 1993. The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was the national party and Hastings Kamuzu Banda was its president for life. In a referendum on 14 June 1993, voters rejected single-party rule by a margin of 63% to 35%, and opposition parties and coalitions blossomed. Elections were held on 17 May 1994, with seven parties participating. The United Democratic Front (UDF) won, trailed by the MCP and two other parties. In 1999, the UDF won 94 of 193 assembly seats. A shake-up in UDF hierarchy in 2003, however, revealed weaknesses in the party’s leadership and organization.

In early 2005 a new political party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was formed by Malawi’s recently elected president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who had left the UDF.

15 Judicial System

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary and the government respects this provision. Defendants have the right to public trial, to have an attorney, to challenge evidence and witnesses, and to an appeal. There are numerous local courts throughout Malawi, with a chain of appeals from the local courts up to a supreme court of appeal.

In 1993, the attorney general suspended the operation of regional and national-level traditional courts. Traditional courts at the local level however, may survive the recent reforms and continue to hear cases involving small claims and customary law.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, Malawi had an army of 5,300 active personnel. The air wing had 80 men and the naval force had 220 members. There was a paramilitary gendarmerie of 1,500 in the mobile police force. In 2005 the defense budget totaled $12.8 million.

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

17 Economy

Malawi’s agricultural economy has been troubled in recent years by drought and financial instability. It is dependent for most of its income on the export sales of tobacco, tea, peanuts, coffee, and sugar. International aid donors, concerned about human rights abuses in Malawi, have tied future support to human rights reforms.

In 2003, agriculture employed an estimated 90% of Malawi’s population. In 2005, it was estimated that agriculture accounted for about 34% of gross domestic product (GDP), with industry at 16% of GDP and services at 50% of GDP. More than 90% of the population lives in rural areas. The agricultural sector experienced severe droughts in 1979–81, 1992, 1994, and 2001–02. Periods of flooding also plague Malawi, as happened in 2003.

The government continues to privatize the ownership of public businesses although the wealth of the country remains in the hands of a small elite. By 2005, about 50% of the more than 90 state-owned businesses had been sold to private hands, while 22% were in the process of being actively offered for privatization and another 13% were slated for transfer to the private sector in the future.

18 Income

In 2005, Malawi’s gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $7.6 billion, or an estimated $660 per person. Estimates that same year, placed the average annual growth rate at almost 2%. The inflation rate averaged 15.4% in 2002.

19 Industry

Malawi’s manufacturing sector is small, but diverse. The processing of tea, tobacco, sugar, coffee, and cotton accounts for most of its output. Factories manufacture soap, detergents, cigarettes, furniture, cookies, bread, blankets and rugs, clothing, and mineral waters. Other operations include a gin distillery, a cotton mill, and two textile plants. Brick-making is well established. Roofing tiles are also produced, and radios are assembled. Other products made in Malawi include agricultural implements, bicycle frames, polishes, edible oils and fats, cattle foodstuffs, flour, matches, fishing nets, rope, twine and yarns, toiletries, and footwear. Two plants in Malawi retread tires and its industries make a wide range of metal products.

In 2005, it was estimated that industry accounted for 16% of gross domestic product (GDP).

20 Labor

As of 2001, the economically active population was estimated at 4.5 million. An estimated 90% of the labor force was engaged in the agricultural sector in 2003. About 15% of workers are unionized in 2002. In principle workers have the right to organize, strike, and bargain collectively. But in reality, labor relations are still in the developmental stage.

The minimum working age is 14, but many children work nonetheless. In 2002, the minimum wage was approximately $0.89 per day in urban areas and $0.66 in rural areas. These wage levels do not provide an adequate standard of living.

21 Agriculture

About 21% of Malawi’s total land area is arable. Food crop estimates in 2004 included 2.55 million tons of cassava, 1.78 million tons of potatoes, 200,000 tons of plantains, 93,000 tons of bananas, and 50,000 tons of paddy rice.

In 2004, tobacco production was estimated at 69,500 tons. Malawi exports more than 95% of the tobacco it produces, which generates about 70% of all foreign earnings. Tea, another major export crop, is produced mostly on estates. Production of tea in 2004 was 45,000 tons. Sugarcane production that same year was about 2.1 million tons. Other cash crops produced in 2004 included 61,000 tons of peanuts and 40,000 tons of seed cotton.

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

22 Domesticated Animals

In 2005, there were an estimated 1.9 million goats, 750,000 head of cattle, 456,000 hogs, 115,000 sheep, and 15.2 million poultry. Meat production in 2004 totaled 59,000 tons, including 21,000 tons of pork, and 16,000 tons of beef. Milk production was estimated at 35,000 tons.

23 Fishing

The growing commercial fishing industry is concentrated mainly in Lake Malawi, with small-scale activity in Lake Malombe, Lake Chilwa, and the Shire River. Fish farming is carried on in the south. The total catch in 2003 was estimated at 54,200 tons. Fish from Lake Malawi contribute about 70% of animal protein consumption.

24 Forestry

Forests and woodlands cover an estimated 2.6 million hectares (6.3 million acres), or 27% of the land area. Natural forests are extensive; however, Malawi’s annual rate of deforestation was

2.4% from 1990 to 2000. Sizable plantations of pine, cypress, and cedar have been established. Roundwood removals in 2004 were estimated at 5.6 million cubic meters (198.4 million cubic feet), of which 91% went for fuel.

25 Mining

Quarrying for limestone and other building materials is the major mining activity in Malawi. Gemstones, including agate, amethyst, garnet, rubies, and sapphires, have also been produced on a small scale. In 2004, a total of 21,224 metric

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

tons of limestone was quarried for the manufacture of cement. That same year, about 1,820 kilograms (4,012 pounds) of gemstones were extracted. Prospecting for other minerals has been undertaken, but no resources of commercial significance have been discovered, except for coal, bauxite (28.8 million tons), kaolin (14.1 million tons), and silica sand (25 million tons).

26 Foreign Trade

Malawi’s chief export crops are tobacco (66%), tea (7.6%), and sugar (6%), followed by groundnuts, coffee (4%), cassava, rice, cotton (2.5%), and sunflower seeds. Principal imports are petroleum products, industrial supplies, and consumer goods. In 2003, Malawi’s exports were sent primarily to South Africa, the United States, Kenya, Germany, and the Netherlands. Imports

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorMadagascar Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$630 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate2.1% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land134 803032
Life expectancy in years: male40 587675
female40 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people<.05 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)46 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)64.1% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people6 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people4 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)0.07 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

came primarily from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Japan, and the United States.

27 Energy and Power

Both the consumption and the production of electric power are small, even by African standards. Installed capacity as of 1 January 2003 was 308,000 kilowatts, of which hydropower accounted for 93% of capacity in 2002. Electric power output in 2003 was 1.3 billion kilowatt hours. There are no known oil reserves, and all petroleum products are imported.

28 Social Development

The Ministry of Community Services is generally responsible for social welfare. Government hospitals and clinics provide some medical services to residents without charge. Worker’s compensation is provided for disability and survivor benefits.

The constitution specifies equal rights for women and minorities, but women face widespread discrimination in the home and in employment opportunities.

Some human rights abuses occur. The use of excessive force and the mistreatment of prisoners is reported, but human rights organizations are free to operate openly, and without restrictions.

29 Health

Health services rank among the poorest in Africa, but are provided to Africans free of charge. About 80% of the population had access to health care services. The major health threats are malnutrition, malaria, tuberculosis, measles, and dysentery.

As of 2004, it was estimated that there was less than one physician for every 100,000 people. In that same year, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was approximately 900,000. Deaths from AIDS in 2003 were estimated at 84,000. An estimated 48% of children under five years old were considered malnourished. Life expectancy was about 40 years in 2005.

Government-built houses are either rented or sold. The Malawi Housing Corp. also has developed housing plots in order to relocate urban squatters.

According to 2005 estimates, about 86% of the population lived in rural areas. Anywhere from 45% to 65% of the population lived in traditional housing, defined as a dwelling with mud walls and a thatched roof. Most dwellings have two or three rooms and the average household size is 4.3 people. Only about 2.5% of residences have access to indoor piped water. Most drinking water is taken from boreholes, unprotected wells, and/or rivers and streams. About 74% of the population (both urban and rural) use pit latrines. About 22% have no toilets at all. Only 4.9% of the population has access to electricity.

31 Education

School attendance is compulsory for eight years at the primary level. Secondary education lasts for four years. As of 1999, 69% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school. Most children in remote rural areas do not attend school. In 2003, about 29% of age-eligible students attended secondary schools. The pupil-teacher ratio at the primary level was 46 to 1 in that same year.

The University of Malawi has three campuses. A medical school was established in Blantyre. In 2003, less than 1% of the age-eligible student population was enrolled in some sort of higher education program. As of 2004, the adult literacy rate was estimated at 64.1% (males, 74.9%; females, 54%).

32 Media

In 2003, there were an estimated 8 mainline telephones, about 13 mobile phones, and 1.5 personal computers for every 1,000 people. Only 4 out of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. In 2004, there were 2 state-owned radio stations, plus 14 privately-owned FM radio stations, and 1 television station, which was state-owned. In 2003 there were about 499 radios and 6 television sets for every 1,000 people. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

The Daily Times, published in English in Blantyre, had a circulation of 22,000 in 2002. The other major daily publications were Computer Monitor, Michiru Sun, The Enquirer, and U.D.F. News (United Democratic Front). The Malawi News, a weekly, had a circulation of 30,000.

33 Tourism and Recreation

The major tourist attractions in Malawi are Mount Mulanje, Mount Zomba, Lake Malawi, and the nation’s game parks. In 2003, a total of 420,911 tourists visited Malawi, of which 21% came from Mozambique. In 2002, there were 59,396 hotel rooms with an occupancy rate of 27%. Receipts from tourism in 2003 totaled $43 million.

34 Famous Malawians

The dominant political figure was Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1906–1997), who became Malawi’s first president in 1966 and held the office until 1994. Bakili Muluzi (1943–) was elected president in 1994.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Kalinga, Owen J. M. Historical Dictionary of Malawi. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.

Lane, M. Malawi. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1990.

O’Toole, Thomas. Malawi in Pictures. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 1989.

PERIODICALS

Reinthal, Peter. “The Living Jewels of Lake Malawi.” National Geographic, May 1990, 42–51.

WEB SITES

Aquastat. www.fao.org/ag/Agl/AGLW/aquastat/countries/malawi/index.stm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Commonwealth Country Profiles. www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookHomeInternal.asp?NodeID=138698. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/af/ci/mi/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.malawi.gov.mw/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/mw. (accessed on January 15, 2007).