Malawi Flag Icon

Malawi Country Guide

Explore Malawi in Africa

Malawi with the capital city Lilongwe is located in Africa (Southern Africa, east of Zambia). It covers some 118,481 square kilometres (slightly smaller than Pennsylvania) with 13,931,000 citizens.

Map of the area of  in

The landscape offers narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains. The average density of population is approximately 118 per km². The notable climate conditions in Malawi can be described as sub-tropical with rainy season (November to May), dry season (May to November). Potential threats by nature are NA.

To reach someone in Malawi dial +265 prior to a number. There are 175,000 installed telephones. And there are 2,400,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".mw". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Malawi

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.

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. 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. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009. As president, 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 April 2012 and was succeeded by his vice president, Joyce BANDA. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

National administrative regions of Malawi

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia
Capital: Lilongwe
Size 118,480 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 45,745 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Population 13,931,000
Currency Name: Kwacha, Currency Code: MWK
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .mw
Telephone Country Prefix +265
Mobile Phone Connections 2,400,000
Landline Phone Connections 175,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 118,484 (sq km) 100

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 16,777,547 65
Population growth rate 2.74 (%) 19
Birth rate 39.98 (births/1,000 population) 8
Death rate 12.54 (deaths/1,000 population) 26
Maternal mortality rate 460.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 22
Infant mortality rate 76.98 (deaths/1,000 live births) 10
Life expectancy at birth 52.78 (years) 210
Total fertility rate 5.26 (children born/woman) 15
Health expenditures 6.60 (% of GDP) 97
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 11.00 (%) 9
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 920,000 12
HIV/AIDS - deaths 51,000 9
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 4.30 (%) 168
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 13.80 (%) 55
Education expenditures 5.40 (% of GDP) 57


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 14,500,000,000 142
GDP - real growth rate 1.90 (%) 138
GDP - per capita (PPP) 900 220
Labor force 5,747,000 69
Distribution of family income - Gini index 39 70
Investment (gross fixed) 23.10 (% of GDP) 65
Taxes and other revenues 25.8 (% of GDP) 114
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -6.70 (% of GDP) 185
Public debt 47.10 (% of GDP) 73
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 18.40 (%) 216
Central bank discount rate 15.00 (%) 9
Commercial bank prime lending rate 23.80 (%) 13
Stock of narrow money 655,600,000 157
Stock of broad money 1,382,000,000 159
Stock of domestic credit 1,224,000,000 152
Market value of publicly traded shares 1,363,000,000 104
Industrial production growth rate 8.20 (%) 24
Current account balance -683,400,000 104
Exports 860,000,000 162
Imports 1,752,000,000 167
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 315,300,000 154
Debt - external 1,214,000,000 154


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 1,736,000,000 (kWh) 137
Electricity - consumption 1,614,000,000 (kWh) 144
Electricity - installed generating capacity 299500 (kW) 150
Electricity - from fossil fuels 5.7 (% of total installed capacity) 198
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 94.3 (% of total installed capacity) 9
Refined petroleum products - consumption 12,060 (bbl/day) 151
Refined petroleum products - imports 7,209 (bbl/day) 140
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 1,358,000 (Mt) 159


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 173,500 129
Telephones - mobile cellular 3,952,000 116
Internet hosts 1,099 171
Internet users 716,400 109


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 31 114
Railways 797 (km) 99
Roadways 15,451 (km) 120
Waterways 700 (km) 76


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 0.80 (% of GDP) 149

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Chongoni Rock-Art Area
Situated within a cluster of forested granite hills and covering an area of 126.4 km2, high up the plateau of central Malawi, the 127 sites of this area feature the richest concentration of rock art in Central Africa. They reflect the comparatively s ...
Lake Malawi National Park
Located at the southern end of the great expanse of Lake Malawi, with its deep, clear waters and mountain backdrop, the national park is home to many hundreds of fish species, nearly all endemic. Its importance for the study of evolution is comparabl ...