About Malawi

The Republic of Malawi is a small, landlocked country in south central Africa, comprising of more than 20% water and lying entirely within the tropics. It is 896 kilometers in length and varies in width from 80 to 160 kilometers and a land area of nearly 120,000 sq km. It is bordered by Mozambique on the east and southwest, by Tanzania on the north and northeast, and by Zambia on the west and northwest.

Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current President Bingu wa Mutharika was elected in May 2004 and re-elected to a second term in May 2009.

Malawi ranks among the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural, with about 85% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. (Republic of Malawi: National Statistical Office) Current population estimates place Malawi at just over 13 million according to a 2008 Census with more than 97% under age 64 years old and a median age for the total population at 17 years old with an average life expectancy under 50 years.

Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, lack of reliable power, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

(Source: United States Central Intelligence Agency, 2010)

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