President: Joyce Banda (2012)
Land area: 36,324 sq mi (94,079 sq km); total area: 45,745 sq mi (118,480 sq km)
Population (2013 est.): 16,777,547 (growth rate: 2.758%); birth rate: 40.42/1000; infant mortality rate: 79.2/1000; life expectancy: 52.31

Capital (2009 est.): Lilongwe, 821,000
Largest city: Blantyre, 856,000
Monetary unit: Kwacha
Languages: Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998)
Ethnicity/race: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuko, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European
Religions: Christian 82.7%, Islam 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (1998)
National Holiday: Independence Day (Republic Day), July 6
Literacy rate: 74.8% (2003 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2012 est.): $14.58 billion; per capita $900. Real growth rate: 4.3%. Inflation: 18.4%. Unemployment: n.a. Arable land: 20.68%. Agriculture: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats. Labor force: 5.747 million (2007 est.); agriculture 90%, industry and services 10% (2003 est.). Industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods. Natural resources: limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite. Exports: $860 million (2012 est.): tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel. Imports: $1.752 billion (2012 est.): food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Major trading partners: South Africa, Canada, U.S., Germany, Egypt, UK, India, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, China, Russia (2011).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 173,000 (2011); mobile cellular: 3.952 million (2011). Broadcast media: 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 TV network is government-owned; relays of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007) Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 1,009 (2012). Internet users: 716,400 (2009).
Transportation: Railways: total: 797 km (2002). Roadways: total: 15,451 km; paved: 6,956 km; unpaved: 8,495 km (2003 est.). Waterways: 700 km; Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and Shire Riverall. Ports and terminals: Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba. Airports: 31 (2012).

Fun Facts

  • The size of Pennsylvania
  • Tobacco and tea are the chief exports of Malawi
  • Malawi is the only country in the world that has a Carlsberg factory (with the exception, of course, of Denmark) – so Carlsberg beer is very cheap there
  • Malawi’s Lake Nyasa contains more fish species than any other lake on earth
  • Malawi is rightly known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”
  • The traditional dress worn by women on Malawi is called Chitenje