Republic of Malawi
CAPITAL : Lilongwe
FLAG : The national flag is a horizontal tricolor of black, red, and green, with a red rising sun in the center of the black stripe.
ANTHEM : Begins "O God, Bless Our Land of Malawi."
MONETARY UNIT : The kwacha ( K ) of 100 tambala (t) is the national currency; it replaced the Malawi pound ( M £) on 28 August 1970 and was linked with the pound sterling until November 1973. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, and 20 tambala, and notes of 50 tambala and 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 kwacha. K 1 = $0.01137 (or $1 = K 87.9) as of May 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is the legal standard.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Martyrs' Day, 3 March; Kamuzu Day, 14 May; Republic or National Day, 6 July; Mothers' Day, 17 October; National Tree Planting Day, 21 December; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable holidays include Good Friday and Easter Monday.
TIME : 2 PM = noon GMT.
Numerous Bantu languages and dialects are spoken. Chichewa, the language of the Chewa and Nyanja, is spoken by more than half the population, but the Lomwe, Yao, and Tumbuka have their own widely spoken languages, respectively known as Chilomwe, Chiyao, and Chitumbuka. English and Chichewa are the official languages.
In 2002, Malawi had an army of 5,300 personnel, organized into three infantry battalions, one independent paratroop battalion, and one support battalion. The air wing numbered 80 and the maritime wing had 220 members. There was a paramilitary gendarmerie of 1,500 in the mobile police force. In 2000/01 Malawi spent $9.5 million on defense, or 0.8% of GDP. Malawi participated in the UN peacekeeping mission in the DROC.
Malawi became a UN member on 1 December 1964; the nation participates in ECA and all the non-regional specialized agencies except IAEA. Malawi also belongs to the African Development Bank, Commonwealth of Nations, G-77, and AU. It is a member of the WTO and a signatory of the Lomé Convention, and is a participant in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
Most insurance firms operating in Malawi are owned or sponsored by parent companies in the UK. However, the leading company, the National Insurance Co. (NICO), is owned by Malawi interests. There were seven insurance companies in operation in 1997. Motor vehicle insurance is compulsory.
Malawi has no territories or colonies.
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