FACTS ABOUT MALAWI: The Warm Heart of Africa

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GEOGRAPHY

Location

Malawi is a land locked country in South-Eastern Africa bordered by Mozambique (East, South and West) Tanzania (North and East), and Zambia (North-west). Its highest point is Sapitwa on Mount Mulanje - 3002m above sea level and lowest point is in Nsanje - 37m above sea level.     

Size of the Country

Its geographical area is 118,480 km. The country is divided into four main administrative regions namely; Southern, Eastern, Central and Northern region, with a total of 28 districts.

Population

Malawi's population estimate as of 2015 is 16.2 million.

Major Cities

Lilongwe (the Capital City) with a population of about 1,037, 294; Blantyre (the Commercial Capital) with a population of 884,497; Zomba (the former capital City) with a population of (138,583); and Mzuzu ( the Northern City) with a population of 223,740.

Climate

Malawi lies within an inter-tropical zone. The country experiences three seasons: cool and dry from May to August, hot and dry from September to mid November and hot and wet from November to April.

Major Mountains

Mulanje Mountain with a highest peak of 3002m above sea level, Zomba Plateau in the Eastern region and Nyika Plateau in the Northern region.

Major Rivers

Shire (the only outlet for Lake Malawi); Ruo (from Mulanje Mountain it runs along  part of Malawi's eastern border with Mozambique), Bua, Dwangwa, South Rukuru and North Rukuru

TOURISM AND CULTURE

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi (The lake of Stars) - Lake Malawi is the third largest fresh water lake in Africa and the ninth largest fresh water in the world. Renowned for its breathtaking beaches and hundreds of endemic species of fish, the lake is also an important site for waterfowl and migratory birds. It covers over 24,404 Square Kilometers. It has more fish species than any other single lake in the world.

Game Reserves and National Parks

Malawi has five national parks namely Lengwe, Liwonde, Lake Malawi, Kasungu and Nyika National Parks, some of them have "Africa's Big Five". The country has four Game Reserves namely; Majete, Mwabvi, Nkhotakota, and Vwaza Marsh game reserves.

Culture

Malawi is home to a mosaic of culture that can be experienced firsthand at the Mua Centre of Culture and Art, as well as the Mangochi Culture village.

POLITICS

Independence

Malawi attained its independence from Britain on 6th July, 1964.

The National Flag

The flag of Malawi is comprised of a horizontal tri-band of black, red, and green stripes, with a red rising sun centered on the top black stripe. The 'Rising Sun' signifies the dawn of freedom; the black stands for the People of Africa, the red signifies the “Blood of the Martyrs" who fought for African freedom" and the green presents the evergreen nature of Malawi.

Coat of Arms

The national crest has the 'Rising Sun' representing the dawn of freedom in Africa, at the top and bottom of the shield. The 'Fish Eagle' and the 'Wavy blue and white bands' on the shield symbolize Lake Malawi. The 'Lion and the Leopard' support and guard the crest as a whole. The land at the base is the rugged Mount Mulanje. The Coat of Arms bears the motto Unity and Freedom.

Heads of State (1964 to date)

Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, 1964 to 1994; Dr. Bakili Muluzi 1994 to 2004; Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika, 2004 to 2012; Dr. Joyce Banda, April 2012 to 2014. The current President, His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika was elected in May 2014.

Cabinet Ministers: 20  (17 male and 3 female).

Members of Parliament: 193 (84.5% Men and 15.5% Women).

Political Parties in Parliament: Six (DPP, MCP, PP, UDF, AFORD, Chipani Cha Pfuko)

Missions Abroad: 19+1 - Africa (8), Europe (3), Americas (3), Asia (3), Middle East (2).

Missions in Malawi: 19 - Africa (7), Asia (3), Europe (6), Americas (2).


THE ECONOMY:

Currency: Malawi Kwacha and Tambala; 100 tambala = K1

GDP: US$5.653 billion (SADC - 2012)

GDP per capita: US$381 (SADC - 2012)

Main Sectors:

Agriculture; Mining and Quarry; Manufacturing; Tourism; Financial and Professional Services: Transport and Communication.

Trade Opportunities:

Major Exports: Tobacco; Tea; Sugar; Cotton; Coffee; Rice; Groundnuts; Textiles and Apparels.

Other Exports: Macadamia Nuts; Handcrafts; Chillies; Rubber; Timber; Paprika; and Pulses.

Major Imports:

Electrical equipment and Machinery; Petroleum products; Fertilizer; Motor vehicles; iron and steel; Pharmaceuticals.

Investment Opportunities:

Agro-processing; Textiles; and Apparels; Mining; Fish and Crocodile farming; Wood and Rubber; Infrastructure development (transport, housing, ICT and telecommunications); and Tourism development.

Natural Resources:

Arable land; Fish; Wildlife; Forestry; Limestone; Uranium; Bauxite; Coal; Phosphates; Monazite" Strontianite; Vermiculate and other gemstones.