Malawi | Facts & Information

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Infoplease has everything you need to know about Malawi. Check out our country profile, full of essential information about Malawi's geography, history, government, economy, population, culture, religion and languages. If that's not enough, click over to our collection of world maps and flags.

Facts & Figures

  • President: Joyce Banda (2012)

    Population (2013 est.): 16,777,547 (growth rate: 2.758%); birth rate: 40.42/1000; infant mortality rate: 79.2/1000; life expectancy: 52.31

    Capital (2009 est.): Lilongwe, 821,000

    Largest city: Blantyre, 856,000

    Monetary unit: Kwacha

    Current government officials

    Languages: Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998)

    Ethnicity/race: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuko, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European

    Religions: Christian 82.7%, Islam 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (1998)

    National Holiday: Independence Day (Republic Day), July 6

    Literacy rate: 74.8% (2003 est.)

    Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2012 est.): $14.58 billion; per capita $900. Real growth rate: 4.3%. Inflation: 18.4%. Unemployment: n.a. Arable land: 20.68%. Agriculture: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats. Labor force: 5.747 million (2007 est.); agriculture 90%, industry and services 10% (2003 est.). Industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods. Natural resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite. Exports: $860 million (2012 est.): tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel. Imports: $1.752 billion (2012 est.): food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Major trading partners: South Africa, Canada, U.S., Germany, Egypt, UK, India, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, China, Russia (2011).

    Member of Commonwealth of Nations

    Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 173,000 (2011); mobile cellular: 3.952 million (2011). Broadcast media: radio is the main broadcast medium; state-run radio has the widest geographic broadcasting reach, but about a dozen privately-owned radio stations broadcast in major urban areas; the single TV network is government-owned; relays of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007) Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1,009 (2012). Internet users: 716,400 (2009).

    Transportation: Railways: total: 797 km (2002). Roadways: total: 15,451 km; paved: 6,956 km; unpaved: 8,495 km (2003 est.). Waterways: 700 km; Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire Riverall. Ports and terminals: Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba. Airports: 31 (2012).

    International disputes: dispute with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant.

    Major sources and definitions