(pronounced "ba-KIH-ree moo-LOO-zee")
"There is evidence that countries that embrace democracy experience economic growth."
The landlocked Republic of Malawi, formerly called Nyasaland, became an independent nation on 6 July 1964, and a republic in 1966. Malawi's neighbors include Tanzania to the northeast, Mozambique to the west and southwest, and Zambia to the east and northeast. The 580-km (360 mi) Lake Malawi also borders the northeastern side of the country. Malawi has an area of 118,484 sq km (45,747 sq mi) and a population estimated at 10.7 million in 2002. The country's topography consists of fertile plateaus and a mountain range lining the Rift Valley, which stretches from north to south. The climate is semitropical. Malawi's major cities include Lilongwe (population estimated at 395,000) and the former capital, Blantyre (population estimated at 446,800).
The major ethnic groups include the Chewa, the Mang'anja, the Tumbuka, the Yao, and the Lomwe. Most Malawians are Christians (75%), with Islam and traditional African beliefs also widely practiced. While English is the official language, African languages (primarily Chichewa) are also widely spoken. Malawi's economy is based primarily on subsistence farming and cash-crop agriculture. The southern portion of the country possesses large agricultural estates while agriculture in the north consists of family farms. Malawi's major exports include tea, tobacco, peanuts, sugar, cotton, and corn. Its principal trading partners are South Africa, United Kingdom, and Japan. As one of the world's poorest countries, Malawi receives significant foreign aid. Its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at US $660 in 2001, down from US $900 in 2000. The national currency is the kwacha.
Office of the President
Private Bag 301
Lilongwe 3, Malawi