Malawi - Domestic policy
Malawi faces major domestic problems on issues of health, crime, environmental degradation, and national disunity. Life expectancy at birth is only 37 years and infant mortality was estimated at 120 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2002. In 2003, United Nations estimates indicated that 15% of the adult population was infected with HIV/AIDS, and 10% of the families were headed by children. About 65% of the population lives below the poverty line. Malnutrition is widespread and severe, making it difficult for Muzuli to get the population to focus seriously on education. In early 2002, dozens of people were dying each month from hunger-related illnesses. Often, the food shortage is caused by destruction of crops due to flooding. The country seems to typically use up their stores of food, however, before the next season's crops are ready to be harvested. Transportation problems with neighboring countries, also caused by flooding in those regions, can delay much needed shipments of food for long periods of time. Muluzi continued to seek help through the World Food Program and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on intervention plans.
Muluzi is likely to continue development of the tourist industry and agricultural processing. In particular, the government will continue its privatization program and encourage private investment in Malawi's infrastructure, especially electricity generation and telecommunications. Due to the fact that the country's economy is dependent on agriculture, it remains vulnerable to severe dislocations caused by occasional drought. In the past, international donors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) aided Malawi. If Muluzi expects similar action in the future, he will have to maintain reforms and control spending. During the elections, he promised that the government would improve the delivery of clean water and provide free fertilizer and seeds for the subsistence farmers. He also promised to purchase more vehicles and train additional police officers to stem a flood of armed robberies as imported Russian automatic weapons have become increasingly common.