Malawi is a landlocked nation in southeast Africa that was once known as Nyasaland. Its official name is the Republic of Malawi. It is bounded to the northwest by Zambia, to the northeast by Tanzania, and to the east, south, and west by Mozambique. Lake Malawi separates the nation from Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi has an area of approximately 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi) and a population of 16,777,547 people (July 2013 est.). Its capital, Lilongwe, is also Malawi’s largest city; the second largest is Blantyre, the third is Mzuzu, and the fourth is Zomba, the country’s former capital. Malawi derives its name from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that live in the area. The country is also known as “Africa’s Warm Heart.”
Malawi is one of Africa’s smallest countries. Lake Malawi covers around one-third of Malawi’s land area.
Around the 10th century, migratory Bantu communities arrived in the area that is today known as Malawi. Centuries later, in 1891, the British colonized the region. Malawi, formerly known as Nyasaland, a British protectorate, became a protectorate under the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1953. In 1963, the Federation was disbanded. The protectorate of Nyasaland ended in 1964, and Nyasaland became an independent country under Queen Elizabeth II, renamed Malawi. It became a republic two years later. It became a one-party state after independence, led by Hastings Banda, who served as president until 1994, when he was defeated in an election. The current president is Arthur Peter Mutharika. Malawi has a multi-party democratic government. Malawi has a Malawian Defence Force, which includes an army, a navy, and an air wing. Malawi’s foreign policy is pro-Western, with positive diplomatic relations with the vast majority of countries and membership in a number of international organizations, including the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern AfricaCOMESA, and the African Union AU.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. The economy is strongly focused on agriculture, and the population is primarily rural. Malawi’s government is largely reliant on foreign help to satisfy development requirements, however this need (and the amount of aid provided) has declined since 2000. Malawi’s government is facing problems in developing and increasing the economy, boosting education, healthcare, environmental preservation, and achieving financial independence. Malawi has established many initiatives addressing these concerns since 2005, and the country’s outlook looks to be improving, with increases in the economy, education, and healthcare evident in 2007 and 2008.
Malawi has a low birth rate and a high infant death rate. The incidence of HIV/AIDS is significant, putting a strain on the labor force and government budgets. There is a varied population of local peoples, Asians, and Europeans, who speak a variety of languages and have a variety of religious views. Although there had been recurrent regional warfare in the past, fueled in part by ethnic divides, it had subsided significantly by 2008, and the notion of a Malawian nationality had re-emerged.
Much of Malawi is plateau, with elevations often exceeding 1,000 meters (3,000 feet), and the climate in these highlands is moderate, with the warmest months happening during the fall rainy season and the coldest and chilliest months occurring in winter. The lower Shire River Valley, south of Blantyre, is the warmest part in the nation. The weather near the beautiful Lake Malawi is usually warm, although there is a refreshing wind in the nights. Winters are dry (May to July). The rainy season usually starts in mid-October and lasts until early November.
According to 2009 estimates, Malawi has a population of about 15 million people and is growing at a pace of 2.75 percent. By 2050, the population is expected to have increased to about 45 million people, almost doubling from the projected 16 million in 2010.
Malawi’s population is made up of local ethnic groups such as the Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, and Ngonde, as well as Asians and Europeans. English is the official language. Chichewa, which is spoken by approximately 57 percent of the people, Chinyanja (12.8 percent), Chiyao (10.1 percent), and Chitumbuka are also important languages (9.5 percent ). Malawian Lomwe is spoken by approximately 250,000 people in the southeast of the country; Kokola is spoken by approximately 200,000 people in the southeast; Lambya is spoken by approximately 45,000 people in the northwestern tip; Ndali is spoken by approximately 70,000; Nyakyusa-Ngonde is spoken by approximately 300,000 people in northern Malawi; Malawian Sena is spoken by approximately 270,000 people in southern Malawi; and Tonga is spoken by approximately 270,000 people in southern Malawi.
Malawi is a mostly Christian nation with a sizable Muslim minority, the precise numbers of which are contested. There is little data on religious affiliation in the nation, with wildly different figures. According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Malawi Religion Project, about 68 percent of Malawians identify as Christians, 25% as Muslims, and 5% as “other” in 2010. According to somewhat older CIA data from 1998, 82 percent of the population was Christian, while 13 percent was Muslim. The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Church are the two biggest Christian denominations in Malawi (CCAP). With 1.3 million members, the CCAP is Malawi’s largest Protestant denomination. The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Malawi and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Malawi are two minor Presbyterian churches in Malawi. Anglicans, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses (about 89,000), evangelicals, and Seventh-day Adventists are among the minor denominations. At the end of 2015, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had slightly over 2,000 members in the United States.
The majority of Muslims are Sunni, belonging to either the Qadriya or Sukkutu sects, with just a few Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Rastafarians, Hindus, Baha’is (0.2 percent), and approximately 300 Jews are among the country’s other religious communities. Atheists account for around 4% of the population, but this figure may include individuals who follow traditional African faiths.
Malawi is a landlocked nation in southeastern Africa, bordering on the northwest by Zambia, on the northeast by Tanzania, and on the south, southwest, and southeast by Mozambique. It is located between 9° and 18° South latitude and 32° and 36° East longitude.
The Great Rift Valley runs across the nation from north to south, while Lake Malawi (also known as Lake Nyasa) sits to the east of the valley, forming more than three-quarters of Malawi’s eastern border. Lake Malawi is known as the Calendar Lake because it is 365 miles (587 kilometers) long and 52 miles (84 kilometers) broad. The Shire River runs from the south end of the lake to Mozambique, where it meets the Zambezi River 250 miles (400 kilometers) south. Lake Malawi has a surface elevation of 1,500 feet (457 meters) above sea level and a maximum depth of 2,300 feet (701 meters), meaning the lake bottom is nearly 700 feet (213 meters) below sea level at times.
Plateaus reach 3,000 to 4,000 feet (914 to 1,219 m) above sea level in the hilly areas of Malawi around the Rift Valley, with some rising as high as 8,000 feet (2,438 m) in the north. The Shire Highlands, located to the south of Lake Malawi, are gently undulating terrain that rises to around 3,000 feet (914 meters) above sea level. The Zomba and Mulanje mountain peaks reach to 7,000 and 10,000 feet, respectively, in this region (2,134 and 3,048 m). Although Cape Maclear is a portion of the Lake, the water in this region is quite different from the rest of the lake. It offers a lovely view of tiny rocky mountains and small islands around it. A spectacular sunset. Water activities like as snorkeling, jet skiing, and speed boats are also available, making it a great relaxing location.
Lilongwe is Malawi’s capital, while Blantyre, the country’s commercial center, with a population of over 500,000 people. Malawi has two World Heritage Sites on the UNESCO list. The Chongoni Rock Art Area was officially classified in 2006, while Lake Malawi National Park was first listed in 1984.
The southern lowlands of Malawi have a hot temperature, whereas the northern highlands have a moderate environment. The height cools the climate, which would otherwise be tropical. The weather is hot from November and April, with tropical showers and thunderstorms, with the storms reaching their apex in late March. Rainfall decreases quickly after March, and moist mists drift from the highlands onto the plateaus from May to September, with practically little rainfall throughout these months.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest nations. Rural regions are home to around 85% of the population. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, accounting for more than a third of GDP and 90% of export earnings. The economy has previously relied heavily on financial assistance from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other nations. In the March 2011 Euromoney Country Risk rankings, Malawi was rated as the 119th safest investment location in the world.
Due to concerns about corruption, the IMF halted assistance payments in December 2000, and many individual donors followed suit, resulting in a nearly 80% reduction in Malawi’s development budget. Malawi, on the other hand, received nearly $575 million in assistance in 2005. Malawi’s administration confronts difficulties in establishing a market economy, increasing environmental protection, coping with the fast expanding HIV/AIDS epidemic, upgrading the education system, and assuring foreign funders that the country is striving to become financially self-sufficient. President Mutharika and Finance Minister Gondwe have led the country to better financial discipline since 2005. This discipline has now vanished, as shown by the purchase of a private presidential aircraft in 2009, which was quickly followed by a national fuel scarcity, which was officially blamed on logistical issues but was more likely caused by the hard currency shortfall resulting from the jet purchase. The cost to the economy (and the healthcare system) as a whole is unclear.
Furthermore, certain failures have occurred, and Malawi has lost part of its capacity to pay for imports as a result of a general lack of foreign currency, with investment falling 23% in 2009. Malawi has a number of investment obstacles that the government has failed to overcome, including excessive service prices and inadequate electricity, water, and telecommunications infrastructure. Malawi’s GDP (purchasing power parity) was projected to be $12.81 billion in 2009, with a per capita GDP of $900 and inflation hovering at 8.5 percent.
Agriculture contributes for 35% of GDP, industry accounts for 19%, and services account for the remaining 46%. Malawi has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, despite economic growth of 9.7% in 2008 and the International Monetary Fund forecasting significant growth in 2009. Malawi’s poverty rate is falling because to government and non-governmental organizations’ efforts, with people living in poverty dropping from 54 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2006, and the proportion of “ultra-poor” dropping from 24 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2007.
Many experts think Malawi’s capacity to manage population increase will determine its economic success.
The greatest floods in living memory hit southern Malawi in January 2015, stranding at least 20,000 people. According to UNICEF, the floods impacted over a million people throughout the nation, with 336,000 individuals displaced. Approximately 64,000 hectares of farmland were swept away, killing over 100 people.