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Malawi

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The boundaries and names shown on this map do not imply
official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Location: Southern Africa
Bordering countries: Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique
Area: 118,484
sq. km
Population statistics (based on United Nations sources):
  • Total: 10,640,000 (1999)
  • Growth rate: 2.78
  • Ratio of males per 100 females: 97.5
  • Age structure (1995 figures)
    • Percentage aged 0-4 : 19.1
    • Percentage aged 5-14 : 27.8
    • Percentage aged 15-24 : 19.2
    • Percentage aged 25-60 : 26.9
    • Percentage aged 60-over : 7.0
  • Population density: 82 per sq. km

Literacy rate: 58.2% (1998)
GNP in US$ billions: 2.2 (1998)
GNP per capita in US$: 210 (1998)
Human Development Index value: 0.385 (1998)
Human Development Index rank: 163 of 174 countries
Gender-related Development Index value: 0.375 (1998)
Gender-related Development Index rank: 136 of 174 countries

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Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa bordering Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique, and with a population of over 10.4 million of people of which 87% live in rural areas. Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, and three smaller ones take up 20% of the total area of 94,081 square kilometres.

Malawi gained its independence in 1964 from Great Britain and until 1993 the country remained under the authoritarian rule of Dr. Kamuzu Banda. Political dissents and public unrest led to the abolishing of single party system as a result a referendum carried out in 1993. Out of the total vote, 65% were in favour of a multiparty system, and in May 1994, President Banda lost the presidential election to the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Bakili Muluzi.

Malawi lacks economically exploitable mineral deposits, but is blessed with fine agricultural resource with about 18% of the total land being cultivated. Agriculture accounts for 40% of the GDP and 90% of export revenues. Almost 70% of agricultural produce comes from smallholder farmers on customary land. The main crops are maize (corn), tobacco, tea, sugarcane, groundnuts, cotton, wheat, coffee, rice and pulses. In recent years, farmers have been encouraged to grow cashew nuts and cassava. Severe droughts and price drops in Malawi's agricultural export commodities contributed to economic difficulties. Moreover, the country's social services were burdened by about 600,000 refugees from Mozambique.

Malawi has one of the poorest telecommunications infrastructures in Africa with only 45,000 connected lines in 2000 and a telephone density of 0.44 line per hundred population. The penetration of telephone lines is highly skewed in the urban areas with the rural areas accounting for only 21% of the total lines.

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