Malawi is a southern African country situated to the southwest of Tanzania, east of Zambia. The Country is a former British Colony and still maintains strong ties with the UK. Malawi attained its independence on the 6th of July 1964. The Country has since been relatively stable though controversy has always marred the governance of Malawi. The Country’s first President Kamuzu Banda ruled the then single-party state until 1994 when the first multi-part elections were held. Banda was once declared life president of Malawi.

Problems facing the country’s current government include; widespread corruption, an underperforming economy, debt and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Malawi has a number of prominent industries such as tobacco, cement, sugarcane processing, tea and a growing tourism industry.


Malawi is divided into 27 districts for administrative purposes. These are; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga (Kasupe), Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba. Lilongwe is the Capital City of Malawi though the City of Blantyre is the largest.


Malawi has a population of about 13,013,926 people. The main ethnic groups in the country are; Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European. English is the official language and Chichewa is the national language. Other languages spoken here include; Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chisena, Chilomwe and Chitonga.

Malawi Economy:

Agriculture, mainly subsistence farming dominates the Malawian economy. Over the years, the country had accumulated a huge foreign debt and qualified for debt relief as one of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries.

Major export commodities from the country are; textiles, peanuts, coffee, cotton, sugar, tea and tobacco. Important industries include; tourism, tobacco, tea, sugar and timber processing, cement and food processing. Corruption is widespread and is one of the key problems affecting the country’s economy.


The currency of Malawi is known as the Malawian Kwacha abbreviated as MWK. The Kwacha was introduced in 1971 to replace the Pound which had been in use since the country’s independence. One Kwacha is equivalent to 100 Tambala. The issuance of this currency and exchange rates is overseen by the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Malawi Flag:

The current flag of Malawi was adopted when the country attained its independence from Great Britain on the 6th of July 1964.

The rising sun represents a new beginning for the nation; black is for the country’s African culture and heritage; green is for the fertile lands of Malawi and red is for the blood shed for the sake of the country’s independence.

Malawi Map

Malawi Government:

Malawi achieved its independence on the 6th of July 1964. The first legislative elections in the country were held in 1961 with most seats won mostly by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda and the MCP played a politically important role in the country’s independence struggle.

He became the country’s prime minister on the 1st of February 1963 and became the first President of Malawi upon independence. Banda however asserted his authority and Malawi became a single-party state with Kamuzu Banda declared President for Life in 1971.

He however bowed to pressure from the public, the church and political lobby groups. This led to amendments to the country’s constitution, paving the way for the first multi-party elections in 1994. These elections were won by Bakili Muluzi; leader of the United Democratic Front. The Country’s constitution was re-written in 1995. Elections were again held in 1991 and were won by Bingu wa Mutharika. Presidential and legislative elections are held every five years.

Major problems facing the present day government of Malawi include; widespread poverty, the spread of HIV/AIDS, an underperforming economy and corruption especially within government.

Health in Malawi:
The increase in HIV/AIDS infection in recent years is the main health concern in Malawi. The disease affects about 14.2 % of the country’s population and it is estimated that close to one million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi. Other health problems are related with poor food and water hygiene and malnutrition. There is a high risk of developing Malaria in certain parts of the country. This can be overcome by taking anti-malarial medicine prior to visiting the country.

Health care facilities such as hospitals and clinics can be found in towns and cities around the country. Lilongwe and Blantyre have the best medical establishments in the country.

The main hospitals in Lilongwe are; Lilongwe Central Hospital, Namitete Hospital, Nkhoma Hospital and Likuni Private Hospital. There are also a number of pharmacies within the city many of which stay open till late.

The Blantyre Adventist Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are the main hospitals in Blantyre.

Malawi Currency:
The currency of Malawi is known as the Malawian Kwacha abbreviated as MWK. The Kwacha was introduced in 1971 to replace the Pound which had been in use since the country’s independence. One Kwacha is equivalent to 100 Tambala. The issuance of this currency and exchange rates is overseen by the Reserve Bank of Malawi.


Coin denominations exist for; 1, 2 5, 10, 20 and 50 Tambala; and 1 Kwacha. Banknotes exist for; 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Kwacha.

Exchange Rates against major currencies:

At the time of writing (June 2006); One American Dollar was equivalent to 138.99 Kwacha, One British Pound was equivalent to 256.28 Kwacha and One Euro was equivalent to 177.53 Kwacha.

Malawi Facts & Figures:
– Location: Southern Africa, southwest of Tanzania, east of Zambia.
– Capital City: Lilongwe.
– Population: 13,013,926.
– Other major towns and cities: Blantyre, Zomba, Salima, Mangoche, Mzuzu, Karonga, Chilumba.
– Religion: Christian, Islam, Others.
– Languages: English, Chichewa, Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chisena, Chilomwe, Chitonga.
– Currency: Malawian Kwacha (MWK).

Public Holidays in Malawi:

-New Years Day on the 1st of January,
-John Chilembwe Day on the 15th of January.


-Martyrs Day on the 3rd of March,


-Labour Day on the 1st of May.


-Freedom day on the 14th of June.


-Republic day on the 6th of July.


-Mother’s day on the 10th of October.


-Arbor Day on the 1st of December,
-Christmas day on the 25th of December,
-Boxing day on the 26th of December.

Dates for religious holidays such as Easter and Idd ul Fitr vary from year to year.

Sports in Malawi:
Soccer is the most popular team sport in Malawi. The team christened “the flames” is a regular competitor in regional and continental competitions. The Malawian national team regularly participates in qualifiers for the Africa Nations Cup and the World Cup. Highlights and achievements are however few and the most notable was the Bronze medal at the 1987 All Africa Games in Nairobi. The team sole participation at the Africa Nations cup to date was in 1984. The Country has a healthy club competition and national soccer league.

Other popular sports in Malawi are; Rugby, golf, cricket, volleyball and basketball. Athletics is also popular and the country is a regular participant at the Olympic Games. Malawi is however yet to win its first medal at this level.

Food in Malawi:

Nsima is the staple food of Malawi eaten daily by a majority of the country’s population. The dish is prepared by mixing maize flour in boiling water to a non-sticky pasty mix. Nsima is also enjoyed as the staple food in many countries in East, Central and Southern Africa and may be known by different names in these countries.

Nsima is not eaten on its own and is usually had with vegetables or stews including fish, chicken and beef. Maize is widely grown in farms around the country. Other foods grown locally include; sweet potato, peanuts, banana, macadamia nuts, sorghum, cassava, potatoes and a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. These are usually sold in local markets. Fresh fish from Lake Malawi is also available.


The major cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe are home to a number of good restaurants offering a wide range of cuisine including; African, Mexican, American, Indian and Fast Foods.

Education in Malawi:
Malawi has an 8-4-4 education system. This system was introduced as changes to the country’s education system from its colonial era under British Rule. Learning by this system means students go through 8 years of primary school followed by four years of secondary school then proceed to tertiary education.

Malawi has a decent education infrastructure compared to many African nations. There are a number of public and private schools, colleges and universities.

Universities in Malawi:

The University of Malawi: based in the city of Zomba, the university was established in 1964 and has five constituent colleges; Bunda College, Chancellor College, Polytechnic, College of Medicine and the Kamuzu College of Nursing.

Mzuzu University: situated in the city of Mzuzu, this university was established in 1997 as the country’s 2nd public university. The university offers courses in education, environmental studies, information science, communication and health sciences.

University of Livingstonia: located in the the town of Livingstonia, Rumphi District. The university has five constituent colleges; College of commerce, College of Theology, Ekwendeni Nursing School, Livingstonia Technical College and the College of Education.

Tourism in Malawi:
Tourism is slowly becoming one of Malawi’s integral industries and an important source of foreign currency for the country. With a stable government and decent travel and hospitality infrastructures, the country is a pleasure to visit and holidays here are not as costly as in major tourist domains on the continent. Malawi’s feature attractions are its wildlife and nature parks and Lake Malawi which occupies a huge part of the Country’s geographical boundaries.

Safaris in Malawi:

Malawian safaris offer one the unique opportunity of viewing a diverse range wildlife in their natural habitat. The country is home to more than ten wildlife parks and reserves. Safaris are conducted by vehicle, guided walks, cycling and horseback. The country’s wildlife can be compared with many of the leading spots in Africa and include the big five; lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. Leading parks in the country are; Lake Malawi National Park, Kasungu National Park, Liwonde National Park, Lengwe National Park and the South Luangwa National Park.

Lake Malawi National Park: declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, the park occupies the central and southern parts of the lake covering an area of 94 square km. The park is one of Malawi’s premier attractions. Wildlife here includes bushbuck, crocodile and a large hippo population. The lake is also famed for its bird population and is home to a variety of species. Bird watching is a popular activity here. Accommodation is available at the lake and there are a number of lodges such as; Kaya Mawa Lodge, Club Makokola, Safari Beach Lodge and Nkwichi Lodge.

Hotels in Malawi:
The leading hotels in Malawi can be found in the country’s major towns and cities including Blantyre and Lilongwe. Other popular accommodation options for tourists include; motels, hostels and lodges commonly situated within or near game parks and reserves. Popular hotels in Malawi include;

The Lilongwe Hotel: one of the Malawian Capital’s leading establishments, the Lilongwe Hotel is situated at Kamuzu Procession Road near the city centre. The Hotel offers a wide range of amenities and services including; bars, restaurant, satellite television, business and conferencing facilities, swimming pool, concierge and room service.

Protea Hotel Ryalls: situated at 2 Hannover Avenue in the Blantyre CBD, the Protea Hotel is one of the leading hotels in this the largest city in Malawi. Facilities and services here include; internet access, satellite television, air conditioned rooms, conferencing facilities, restaurants, bars, swimming pool, disabled access, tennis courts.

Le Meridien Livingstonia Beach Hotel: this hotel is located at Livinstonia Beach on the shores of Lake Malawi; off Senga Bay Road in the town of Salima. A four star establishment the Le Meridien Livingstonia is popular with local and foreign tourists. Services here include; restaurants, bars, satellite television, swimming pool and conferencing facilities. There is also a wide range of recreation options and sporting activities at the nearby lake including; sailing, water skiing, yachting and boat rides.

Air Malawi:
Air Malawi is the Country’s national airline. The airline operates regular passenger and cargo flights to a number of domestic and international destinations. The airline operates from its main hubs at the Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe and the Chileka Airport in Blantyre.

Air Malawi was established by a parliament act in 1967 after the disintegrating of the Central African Airways. The airline already existed but as a subsidiary of the Central African Airways.

Domestic Destinations: Blantyre, Lilongwe, Club Makokola, Karonga, Lanseria, Mzuzu, Nampula, Mvuu Camp.

International Destinations: Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Harare, Johannesburg, Lusaka, Nairobi.

Media in Malawi:
Malawi has a fairly liberal media. After constitutional changes in late 1993 that paved the way for the country’s first multi-party elections, a number of private newspapers and radio stations have come up since then. Languages used primarily in the country’s media are English and Chichewa though indigenous publications are available.

Newspapers in Malawi:

The Daily Times: a daily English publication and one of the leading newspapers in Malawi. The Paper is based in the country’s second city Blantyre though it has a near nationwide reach. The Daily Times also has an online version at:

The Malawi Nation: another of the country’s leading newspapers, the Nation is a daily paper with a nationwide reach. The paper is also available online at:

Radio in Malawi:

Capital Radio Malawi: a private radio station and one of the most popular stations in the country. Capital Fm is known for its entertainment, music and informative programs. The station has a wide reach and is received in most urban centers in Malawi.

Other popular radio stations are; Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Radio Stations (Radio One and Radio Two), MIJ Fm, Fm 101 Power, Zodia Broadcasting Station.

Television in Malawi:

Television Malawi; a government run station provides the sole public television channel in the country.

Embassy Directory:
Malawi Embassies and Consulates in Asia:

The Embassy of Malawi in Japan
Address: 3-12-9 Kami-Osaki, Shinagawa-Ku
Tokyo 141 Japan
Tel: 81 3 3449 3010
Fax: 81 3 3449 3220

The Malawian Consulate in South Korea
Address: No. 130-9, Non Hyen Dong,
Kaong-Wam-Ku Seoul, South Korea
Tel: 82 2 475 1110

Malawi Embassies and Consulates in Europe:

The Embassy of Malawi in Austria:
Address: 1180 Wien, Saarplatz 17,

The Embassy of Malawi in Belgium:
Address: 46 B-1160 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel: 32 2 231 09 80
Fax: 32 2 231 10 66

The Embassy of Malawi in France:
Address: 20 Rue Euler, 75008, Paris, France
Tel: 33 4720 2027
Fax: 33 1 4723 6248

The Embassy of Malawi in Germany:
Address: Mainzer Strasse 124, 53179 Bonn
Tel: 49 228 341 678
Fax: 49 228 340 619

The Embassy of Malawi in the United Kingdom:
Address: 33 Grosvenor Street London
Tel: 44 207 491 4172
Fax: 44 171 491 9916

Malawi Embassies and Consulates in North America:

The Embassy of Malawi in Canada:
Address: 7 Clemow Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 2A9
Tel: 1 613 236 8931
Fax: 1 613 236 1054

The Embassy of Malawi in the US:
Address: 2408 Massachusetts Avenue,
NW, Washington D.C. 20008
Tel: 1 202 797 1007
Fax: 1 202 265 0976