Malawi

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2011
Flag of Malawi
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Malawi
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Map of Malawi
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Introduction

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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 elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. Current President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 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 (DPP) in 2005. As president, MUTHARIKA has overseen some economic improvement. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009.
 
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Geography

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Southern Africa, east of Zambia, west and north of Mozambique
 
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13 30 S, 34 00 E
 
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total: 118,484 sq km
country comparison to the world: 100
land: 94,080 sq km
water: 24,404 sq km
 
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slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
 
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total: 2,881 km
border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km
 
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0 km (landlocked)
 
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none (landlocked)
 
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sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
 
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narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
 
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lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
 
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limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
 
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arable land: 20.68%
permanent crops: 1.18%
other: 78.14% (2005)
 
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590 sq km (2008)
 
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17.3 cu km (2001)
 
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total: 1.01 cu km/yr (15%/5%/80%)
per capita: 78 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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NA
 
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deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
 
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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
 
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landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature
 
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People and Society

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noun: Malawian(s)
adjective: Malawian
 
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Chewa 32.6%, Lomwe 17.6%, Yao 13.5%, Ngoni 11.5%, Tumbuka 8.8%, Nyanja 5.8%, Sena 3.6%, Tonga 2.1%, Ngonde 1%, other 3.5% (2008 census)
 
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Chichewa (official) 57.2%, Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998 census)
 
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Christian 82.7%, Muslim 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (2008 census)
 
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15,879,252 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 63
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
 
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0-14 years: 45.1% (male 3,586,696/female 3,571,298)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 4,140,874/female 4,155,015)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 182,304/female 243,065) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 17.2 years
male: 17.1 years
female: 17.4 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.763% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
 
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40.85 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 10
 
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13.22 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 21
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
 
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urban population: 20% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 5.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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Blantyre 856,000; LILONGWE (capital) 821,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.015 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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510 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 27
 
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total: 81.04 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 12
male: 85.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 76.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 51.7 years
country comparison to the world: 211
male: 50.93 years
female: 52.48 years (2011 est.)
 
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5.43 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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4.8% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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0.019 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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1.1 beds/1,000 population (2007)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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improved:
urban: 95% of population
rural: 77% of population
total: 80% of population
unimproved:
urban: 5% of population
rural: 23% of population
total: 20% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 51% of population
rural: 57% of population
total: 56% of population
unimproved:
urban: 49% of population
rural: 43% of population
total: 44% of population (2008)
 
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11% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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920,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
 
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51,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and plague
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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15.5% (2006)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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4.2% of GDP (2003)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 62.7%
male: 76.1%
female: 49.8% (2003 est.)
 
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total: 9 years
male: 9 years
female: 9 years (2007)
 
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Government

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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
 
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multiparty democracy
 
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name: Lilongwe
geographic coordinates: 13 59 S, 33 47 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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28 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga (Kasupe), Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Neno, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba
 
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6 July 1964 (from the UK)
 
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Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
 
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18 May 1994
 
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mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal
 
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accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA (since 24 May 2004)
cabinet: 46-member Cabinet named by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 19 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: Bingu wa MUTHARIKA elected president; percent of vote - Bingu wa MUTHARIKA 66%, John TEMBO 30.7%, other 3.3%
 
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unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 19 May 2009 (next to be held in May 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - DPP 114, MCP 26, UDF 17, independents 32, other 4
 
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Supreme Court of Appeal; High Court (chief justice appointed by the president, puisne judges appointed on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission); magistrate's courts
 
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Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Dindi NYASULU]; Congress of Democrats or CODE [Ralph KASAMBARA]; Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Bingu wa MUTHARIKA]; Malawi Congress Party or MCP [John TEMBO]; Malawi Democratic Party or MDP [Kampelo KALUA]; Malawi Forum for Unity and Development or MAFUNDE [George MNESA]; Maravi People's Party [Uladi MUSSA]; National Unity Party or NUP [Harry CHIUME]; New Rainbow Coalition Party [Beatrice MWALE]; New Republican Party [Gwanda CHAKUWAMBA]; People's Progressive Movement or PPM [Aleke BANDA]; People's Transformation Movement or PETRA [Kamuzu CHIBAMBO]; Republican Party or RP [Stanley MASAULI]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Bakili MULUZI]; United Democratic Party [Kenedy KALAMBO]
 
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Agri-Ecology Media (agriculture and environmental group); Council for NGOs in Malawi or CONGOMA (human rights, democracy, and development); Human Rights Consultative Committee or HRCC (human rights); Malawi Law Society (human rights and law reform); Malawi Movement for the Restoration of Democracy or MMRD (acts to restore and maintain democracy); Public Affairs Committee or PAC (promotes democracy, development, peace and unity)
 
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ACP, AfDB, AU, C, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Stephen D. Tennyson MATENJE
chancery: 2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Jeanine E. JACKSON
embassy: 16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
telephone: [265] (1) 773 166
FAX: [265] (1) 770 471
 
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three equal horizontal bands of red (top), black, and green; a white sun disc is centered on the black band, its surrounding 45 white rays extend partially into the red and green bands; black represents the native peoples, red the blood shed in their struggle for freedom, and green the color of nature; the sun represents Malawi's economic progress since attaining independence
 
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name: "Mulungu dalitsa Malawi" (Oh God Bless Our Land of Malawi)
lyrics/music: Michael-Fredrick Paul SAUKA
note: adopted 1964
 
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Economy

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Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture, which has benefited from fertilizer subsidies since 2006, accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. Since 2005 President MUTHARIKA'S government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF. Improved relations with the IMF lead other international donors to resume aid as well. The government has announced infrastructure projects that could yield improvements, such as a new oil pipeline, for better fuel access, and the potential for a waterway link through Mozambican rivers to the ocean, for better transportation options. Since 2009, however, Malawi has experienced some setbacks, including a general shortage of foreign exchange, which has damaged its ability to pay for imports, and fuel shortages that hinder transportation and productivity. Investment fell 23% in 2009, and continued to decline in 2010. The government has failed to address barriers to investment such as unreliable power, water shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructure, and the high costs of services.
 
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$12.98 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
$12.18 billion (2009 est.)
$11.32 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$5.053 billion (2010 est.)
 
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6.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
7.6% (2009 est.)
8.6% (2008 est.)
 
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$800 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 220
$800 (2009 est.)
$800 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 30.2%
industry: 16.3%
services: 53.5% (2010 est.)
 
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5.747 million (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
 
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agriculture: 90%
industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)
 
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NA%
 
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53% (2004)
 
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lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 31.9% (2004)
 
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39 (2004)
country comparison to the world: 72
 
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22.7% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
 
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revenues: $1.667 billion
expenditures: $1.619 billion (2010 est.)
 
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33% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
 
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34.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
37.8% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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7.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
8.4% (2009 est.)
 
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15% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 15
15% (31 December 2008)
 
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24.675% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
25.3% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$677.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 155
$561 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.434 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
$1.233 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.464 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
$1.464 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.363 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 100
$1.383 billion (31 December 2009)
$1.771 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats
 
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tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
 
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12.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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1.676 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 139
 
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1.559 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 175
 
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8,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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7,124 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 202
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 141
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 165
 
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-$502 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
-$317.5 million (2009 est.)
 
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$964.3 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
$912.4 million (2009 est.)
 
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tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel
 
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India 10.4%, Germany 9.7%, South Africa 7.5%, Russia 7.4%, Zimbabwe 7.4%, Canada 6.4%, US 6.3%, Netherlands 4.7% (2010)
 
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$1.665 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 161
$1.544 billion (2009 est.)
 
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food, petroleum products, semi-manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
 
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South Africa 41.4%, Zambia 7.8%, India 7.5%, China 6.1%, Tanzania 5%, France 4.4%, Mozambique 4.2% (2010)
 
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$280.1 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 156
$163.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$1.269 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
$1.115 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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$NA
 
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Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar -
151.65 (2010)
141.14 (2009)
142.41 (2008)
141.12 (2007)
135.96 (2006)
 
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Communications

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160,100 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 133
 
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3.038 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 121
 
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general assessment: rudimentary; privatization of Malawi Telecommunications (MTL), a necessary step in bringing improvement to telecommunications services, completed in 2006
domestic: limited fixed-line subscribership of about 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular services are expanding but network coverage is limited and is based around the main urban areas; mobile-cellular subscribership about 15 per 100 persons
international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 
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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 television network is government-owned; relays of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.mw
 
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870 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 167
 
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716,400 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 109
 
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Transportation

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32 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2010)
 
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total: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 12 (2010)
 
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total: 797 km
country comparison to the world: 99
narrow gauge: 797 km 1.067-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 15,451 km
country comparison to the world: 120
paved: 6,956 km
unpaved: 8,495 km (2003)
 
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700 km (on Lake Nyasa [Lake Malawi] and Shire River) (2010)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba
 
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Military

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Malawi Defense Forces (MDF): Army (includes Air Wing, Naval Detachment) (2011)
 
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18 years of age for voluntary military service; standard obligation is 2 years of active duty and 5 years reserve service (2007)
 
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males age 16-49: 3,514,809 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 2,132,909
females age 16-49: 2,043,925 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 183,683
female: 183,028 (2010 est.)
 
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1.3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 114
 
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Transnational Issues

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