Malawi - Economic Indicators

Economic Overview

Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained by policy inconsistency, macroeconomic instability, poor infrastructure, rampant corruption, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for about one-third of GDP and 80% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to...

Continue reading View Factbook for Malawi

GDP Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Investment 2017 274,824,844,700 211,369,272,700 NCU Annual
Nominal Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2017 618,301,340,700 420,533,324,600 NCU Annual
Real Fixed Investment (gross fixed capital formation) 2017 250,972,269,800 188,211,972,000 NCU Annual
Private Consumption 2016 3,467,750,393,198 2,597,491,150,638 MWK Annual
Investment 2016 399,827,590,162 389,557,280,462 MWK Annual
Nominal Gross Domestic Product 2016 3,919,395,467,633 3,200,561,527,324 MWK Annual
Government Consumption 2013 207,954 146,447 Mil. MWK Annual
Real Gross Domestic Product 2013 110.5 104.85 Index 2005=100 Annual
Price Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Price Index (CPI) Jun 2018 368.87 369.74 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Labor Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Unemployment Rate 2017 6.03 5.98 % of total labor force Annual
Agriculture Employment 2017 6,800,613 6,560,206 # Annual
Labor Force 2016 7,745,917 7,494,695 # Annual
Wage & Salaries 2014 140,233 97,165 Mil. NCU Annual
Labor Force Employment 1995 Q4 546.6 534.9 Ths. Quarterly
Total Employment 1995 Q4 546.6 534.9 Ths. Quarterly
Trade Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Real Exports of Goods and Services 2017 1,456,079,000,000 1,404,717,000,000 NCU Annual
Real Imports of Goods and Services 2017 1,753,636,000,000 1,780,218,000,000 NCU Annual
Balance of Goods 2017 -1,038,205,380 -984,514,361 USD Annual
Imports of Goods 2017 2,143,882,226 2,087,459,045 USD Annual
Current Account Balance 2017 -1,021,368,370 -911,795,167 USD Annual
Exports of Goods 2017 1,105,676,845 1,102,944,683 USD Annual
Imports of Goods and Services 2016 1,791,009,760,747 1,173,950,272,021 MWK Annual
Exports of Goods and Services 2016 1,312,793,452,577 944,890,331,671 MWK Annual
Government Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Government Budget Balance 2011 -633,754,857 21,323,598,562 current LCU Annual
Government Revenues 2011 259,941,000,000 298,290,000,000 current LCU Annual
Markets Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Treasury Bills (over 31 days) Mar 2017 23.23 23.99 % p.a., NSA Monthly
Lending Rate Jan 2013 25 25 % - End of period Monthly
Average Long-term Government Bond May 1998 39.25 39.25 % Monthly
Business Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Industrial Production Jul 2016 98.85 86.45 2010=100, NSA Monthly
Demographics Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Population 2017 18,622,104 18,091,575 # Annual
Birth Rate 2016 36.7 37.05 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Death Rate 2016 7.28 7.5 # per Ths. pop. Annual
Net Migration 2012 -30,000 # Annual

Factbook

Background

Background:
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 presidential and parliamentary elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Bakili MULUZI became the first freely elected president of Malawi when he won the presidency in 1994; he won re-election in 1999. President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in 2009. He oversaw some economic improvement in his first term, but was accused of economic mismanagement and poor governance in his second term. He died abruptly in 2012 and was succeeded by vice president, Joyce BANDA, who had earlier started her own party, the People's Party. MUTHARIKA's brother, Peter MUTHARIKA, defeated BANDA in the 2014 election. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

Geography

Location:
Southern Africa, east of Zambia, west and north of Mozambique
Geographic coordinates:
13 30 S, 34 00 E
Map references:
Africa
Area:
total: 118,484 sq km
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,404 sq km
country comparison to the world: 101
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
total: 2,857 km
border countries (3): Mozambique 1,498 km, Tanzania 512 km, Zambia 847 km
Coastline:
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)
Climate:
sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
Terrain:
narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Elevation:
mean elevation: 779 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
Natural resources:
limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
Land use:
agricultural land: 59.2%
arable land 38.2%; permanent crops 1.4%; permanent pasture 19.6%
forest: 34%
other: 6.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land:
740 sq km (2012)
Population - distribution:
population density is highest south of Lake Nyasa
Natural hazards:
flooding; droughts; earthquakes
Environment - current issues:
deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature; it contains more fish species than any other lake on earth

People & Society

Population:
19,196,246
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
Nationality:
noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
Ethnic groups:
Chewa 35.1%, Lomwe 18.9%, Yao 13.1%, Ngoni 12%, Tumbuka 9.4%, Sena 3.5%, Tonga 1.8%, Nyanja 1%, Nkhonde 0.9%, other 1.8% (2015-16 est.)
Languages:
English (official), Chichewa (common), Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chilomwe, Chinkhonde, Chingoni, Chisena, Chitonga, Chinyakyusa, Chilambya
Religions:
Protestant 27.2% (includes Church of Central Africa Presbyterian 17.7%, Seventh Day Adventist/Baptist 6.9%, Anglican 2.6%), Catholic 18.4%, other Christian 41%, Muslim 12.1%, other 0.3%, none 1% (2015-16 est.)
Demographic profile:
Malawi has made great improvements in maternal and child health, but has made less progress in reducing its high fertility rate. In both rural and urban areas, very high proportions of mothers are receiving prenatal care and skilled birth assistance, and most children are being vaccinated. Malawi’s fertility rate, however, has only declined slowly, decreasing from more than 7 children per woman in the 1980s to about 5.5 today. Nonetheless, Malawians prefer smaller families than in the past, and women are increasingly using contraceptives to prevent or space pregnancies. Rapid population growth and high population density is putting pressure on Malawi’s land, water, and forest resources. Reduced plot sizes and increasing vulnerability to climate change, further threaten the sustainability of Malawi’s agriculturally based economy and will worsen food shortages. About 80% of the population is employed in agriculture.
Historically, Malawians migrated abroad in search of work, primarily to South Africa and present-day Zimbabwe, but international migration became uncommon after the 1970s, and most migration in recent years has been internal. During the colonial period, Malawians regularly migrated to southern Africa as contract farm laborers, miners, and domestic servants. In the decade and a half after independence in 1964, the Malawian Government sought to transform its economy from one dependent on small-scale farms to one based on estate agriculture. The resulting demand for wage labor induced more than 300,000 Malawians to return home between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. In recent times, internal migration has generally been local, motivated more by marriage than economic reasons.
Age structure:
0-14 years: 46.34% (male 4,427,403/female 4,468,120)
15-24 years: 20.55% (male 1,956,360/female 1,988,123)
25-54 years: 27.41% (male 2,612,840/female 2,648,997)
55-64 years: 3.01% (male 275,998/female 302,286)
65 years and over: 2.69% (male 227,582/female 288,537) (2017 est.)
population pyramid:
Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 91
youth dependency ratio: 85.3
elderly dependency ratio: 5.7
potential support ratio: 17.4 (2015 est.)
Median age:
total: 16.5 years
male: 16.4 years
female: 16.7 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 225
Population growth rate:
3.31% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Birth rate:
41 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Death rate:
7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
Population distribution:
population density is highest south of Lake Nyasa
Urbanization:
urban population: 16.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 4.02% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
Major urban areas - population:
LILONGWE (capital) 905,000; Blantyre-Limbe 808,000 (2015)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.01 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
Mother's mean age at first birth:
18.9 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2015/16 est.)
Maternal mortality ratio:
634 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
Infant mortality rate:
total: 43.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 50 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 61.7 years
male: 59.7 years
female: 63.8 years (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
Total fertility rate:
5.49 children born/woman (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
Contraceptive prevalence rate:
59.2% (2015/16)
Health expenditures:
11.4% of GDP (2014)
country comparison to the world: 9
Physicians density:
0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
Hospital bed density:
1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
Drinking water source:
improved:
urban: 95.7% of population
rural: 89.1% of population
total: 90.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4.3% of population
rural: 10.9% of population
total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility access:
improved:
urban: 47.3% of population
rural: 39.8% of population
total: 41% of population
unimproved:
urban: 52.7% of population
rural: 60.2% of population
total: 59% of population (2015 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
9.2% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
1 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
24,000 (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate:
5.8% (2016)
country comparison to the world: 172
Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
16.7% (2014)
country comparison to the world: 52
Education expenditures:
4.7% of GDP (2016)
country comparison to the world: 60
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.1%
male: 69.8%
female: 55.2% (2015 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2011)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 8.6%
male: 9.1%
female: 8.2% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
conventional short form: Malawi
local long form: Dziko la Malawi
local short form: Malawi
former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland
etymology: named for the East African Maravi Kingdom of the 16th century; the word "maravi" means "fire flames"
Government type:
presidential republic
Capital:
name: Lilongwe
geographic coordinates: 13 58 S, 33 47 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
28 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Neno, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba
Independence:
6 July 1964 (from the UK)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 6 July (1964); note - also called Republic Day since 6 July 1966
Constitution:
history: previous 1953 (preindependence), 1966; latest drafted January to May 1994, approved 16 May 1994, entered into force 18 May 1995
amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage of amendments affecting constitutional articles including the sovereignty and territory of the state, fundamental constitutional principles, human rights, voting rights, and the judiciary requires majority approval in a referendum and majority approval by the Assembly; passage of other amendments requires at least two-thirds majority vote of the Assembly; amended several times, last in 2013 (2017)
Legal system:
mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal
International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malawi
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arthur Peter MUTHARIKA (since 31 May 2014); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 31 May 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Arthur Peter MUTHARIKA (since 31 May 2014); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 31 May 2014)
cabinet: Cabinet named by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 May 2014 (next to be held on 21 May 2019)
election results: Peter MUTHARIKA elected president; percent of vote - Peter MUTHARIKA (DPP) 36.4%, Lazarus CHAKWERA (MCP) 27.8%, Joyce BANDA (PP) 20.2%, Atupele MULUZI (UDF) 13.7%, other 1.9%
Legislative branch:
description: unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
elections: last held on 20-22 May 2014 (next to be held on 21 May 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - DPP 22.0%, MCP 17.4%, PP 18.5%, UDF 9.6%, other 2.8%, independent 29.7%; seats by party - DPP 51, MCP 48, PP 26, UDF 14, other 2, independent 52
Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly; other judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, which regulates judicial officers; judges serve until age 65
subordinate courts: High Court; magistrate courts; Industrial Relations Court; district and city traditional or local courts
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Enoch CHIHANA]
Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Peter MUTHARIKA]
Malawi Congress Party or MCP [Lazarus CHAKWERA]
People's Party or PP [Joyce BANDA]
United Democratic Front or UDF [Atupele MULUZI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Council for NGOs in Malawi or CONGOMA (human rights, democracy, development)
Human Rights Consultative Committee or HRCC (human rights)
Malawi Economic Justice Network or MEJN (pro-economic growth, development, government accountability)
Malawi Law Society (an umbrella organization of all lawyers in Malawi)
Public Affairs Committee or PAC (promotes democracy, development, peace, unity)
International organization participation:
ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Edward Yakobe SAWERENGERA (since 16 September 2016)
chancery: 2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Virginia E. PALMER (since 5 February 2015)
embassy: 16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3
mailing address: P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: 265 (0) 1773166
FAX: 265 (0) 1770471
Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green with a radiant, rising, red sun centered on the black band; black represents the native peoples, red the blood shed in their struggle for freedom, and green the color of nature; the rising sun represents the hope of freedom for the continent of Africa
National symbol(s):
lion; national colors: black, red, green
National anthem:
name: "Mulungu dalitsa Malawi" (Oh God Bless Our Land of Malawi)
lyrics/music: Michael-Fredrick Paul SAUKA
note: adopted 1964

Economy

Economy - overview:
Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained by policy inconsistency, macroeconomic instability, poor infrastructure, rampant corruption, high population growth, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for about one-third of GDP and 80% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports, although Malawi is looking to diversify away from tobacco to other cash crops.
The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. Donors halted aid from 2013 to 2016 because of concerns about corruption and fiscal carelessness, but the World Bank resumed budget support in May 2017. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program but recent increases in domestic borrowing mean that debt servicing in 2016 exceeded the levels prior to HIPC debt relief.
Heavily dependent on rain-fed agriculture, with corn being the staple crop, Malawi’s economy was hit hard by the El Nino-driven drought in 2015 and 2016, and now faces threat from the fall armyworm. The drought also slowed economic activity, led to two consecutive years of declining economic growth, and contributed to high inflation rates. Because of concerns about subsequent droughts, the government banned maize exports from 2016 to late 2017, causing a market glut and depressing local prices.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$22.47 billion (2017 est.)
$21.5 billion (2016 est.)
$21.02 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 145
GDP (official exchange rate):
$6.261 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2017 est.)
2.3% (2016 est.)
3% (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,200 (2017 est.)
$1,200 (2016 est.)
$1,200 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
country comparison to the world: 223
Gross national saving:
2.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
-3.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
2.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
GDP - composition, by end use:
household consumption: 82.8%
government consumption: 16%
investment in fixed capital: 11.6%
investment in inventories: 2.7%
exports of goods and services: 33.8%
imports of goods and services: -46.8% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 28.6%
industry: 15.6%
services: 55.9% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products:
tobacco, sugarcane, tea, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sorghum, pulses, cotton, groundnuts, macadamia nuts, coffee; cattle, goats
Industries:
tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
Industrial production growth rate:
1.2% (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
Labor force:
7 million (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 67
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 64.1%
industry: 6.7%
services: 29.2% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate:
20.4% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
Population below poverty line:
50.7% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 37.5% (2010 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
46.1 (2010 est.)
39.9 (2004 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
Budget:
revenues: $1.298 billion
expenditures: $1.612 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues:
20.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-5% of GDP (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
Public debt:
54.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
56.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
13% (2017 est.)
21.7% (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
Central bank discount rate:
24% (25 November 2016 est.)
27% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
42.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
44.1% (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
Stock of narrow money:
$638.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$536.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Stock of broad money:
$1.367 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.238 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Stock of domestic credit:
$1.181 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.054 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$796.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$936.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.341 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
Current account balance:
$-568 million (2017 est.)
$-739 million (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 107
Exports:
$1.443 billion (2017 est.)
$1.361 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
Exports - commodities:
tobacco 55%, dried legumes (8.8%), sugar (6.7%), tea (5.7%), cotton (2%), peanuts, coffee, soy (2015 est.)
Exports - partners:
Zimbabwe 12.9%, Mozambique 11%, Belgium 8.2%, South Africa 7.2%, US 6%, China 4.6%, Germany 4.3%, UK 4.2% (2016)
Imports:
$2.388 billion (2017 est.)
$2.318 billion (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
Imports - commodities:
food, petroleum products, semi-manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
Imports - partners:
South Africa 20.2%, China 13.8%, India 10.8%, UAE 9.7%, Zambia 5.7% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$613.5 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$563.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 136
Debt - external:
$2.184 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.985 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$800 million (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA
Exchange rates:
Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar -
729.1 (2017 est.)
713.85 (2016 est.)
713.85 (2015 est.)
499.6 (2014 est.)
424.9 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access:
population without electricity: 14,900,000
electrification - total population: 9%
electrification - urban areas: 32%
electrification - rural areas: 4% (2013)
Electricity - production:
2.12 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
Electricity - consumption:
1.972 billion kWh (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
Electricity - installed generating capacity:
353,100 kW (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Electricity - from fossil fuels:
0.5% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 212
Electricity - from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:
93.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 8
Electricity - from other renewable sources:
6.1% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
Crude oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 167
Crude oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 160
Crude oil - imports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 157
Crude oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Refined petroleum products - production:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 171
Refined petroleum products - consumption:
7,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
Refined petroleum products - exports:
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
Refined petroleum products - imports:
6,843 bbl/day (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 146
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 153
Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (2017 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:
1.9 million Mt (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 11,234
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
Telephones - mobile cellular:
total: 7,178,384
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37 (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Telephone system:
general assessment: rudimentary; one fixed-line and two mobile-cellular operators govern the market
domestic: limited fixed-line subscribership of about 1 per 100 households; mobile-cellular services are expanding but network coverage is limited and is based around the main urban areas; mobile-cellular subscribership approaching 40 per 100 households
international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2016)
Broadcast media:
radio is the main broadcast medium; privately owned Zodiak radio has the widest national broadcasting reach, followed by state-run radio; numerous private and community radio stations broadcast in cities and towns around the country; the largest TV network is government-owned, but at least 4 private TV networks broadcast in urban areas; relays of multiple international broadcasters are available (2017)
Internet country code:
.mw
Internet users:
total: 1,785,369
percent of population: 9.6% (July 2016 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118

Transportation

National air transport system:
number of registered air carriers: 1
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 6,010
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 5,467 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
7Q (2016)
Airports:
32 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 113
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 13 (2013)
Railways:
total: 767 km
narrow gauge: 767 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)
country comparison to the world: 100
Roadways:
total: 15,452 km
paved: 4,074 km
unpaved: 11,378 km (2015)
country comparison to the world: 121
Waterways:
700 km (on Lake Nyasa [Lake Malawi] and Shire River) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 75
Ports and terminals:
lake port(s): Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba (Lake Nyasa)

Military & Security

Military expenditures:
0.61% of GDP (2016)
0.7% of GDP (2015)
0.89% of GDP (2014)
1.24% of GDP (2013)
0.82% of GDP (2012)
country comparison to the world: 139
Military branches:
Malawi Defense Force (MDF): Army (includes Air Wing, Marine Unit) (2018)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary military service; high school equivalent required for enlisted recruits and college equivalent for officer recruits; initial engagement is 7 years for enlisted personnel and 10 years for officers (2014)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
dispute with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River; Malawi contends that the entire lake up to the Tanzanian shoreline is its territory, while Tanzania claims the border is in the center of the lake; the conflict was reignited in 2012 when Malawi awarded a license to a British company for oil exploration in the lake
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 20,278 (Democratic Republic of the Congo) (refugees and asylum seekers) (2018)
IDPs: 8,463 (floods in 2015) (2016)

Economic Indicators for Malawi including actual values, historical data, and latest data updates for the Malawi economy.