United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Country Facts

Brief Background on Malawi

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 May 1994, under a provisional constitution, which came into full effect the following year.

From 1994 to 2004, Malawi was ruled by President Dr. Bakili Muluzi for two five year terms. He was succeeded by Professor Bingu wa Mutharika who died of a heart attack on 5 April 2012.This was his second 5-year term.

On 7 April, 2012, Mrs Joyce Banda, who was the Vice President was sworn in as Malawi's leader as per Constitutional provisions.

The current President is His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika. He was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Malawi on 31 May, 2014 following his triumphant victory in elections held on 20 May, 2014.


Longitude and Latitude 
13 30 S, 34 00 E

Total: 118,480 sq km : 94,084 sq km land and 24,404sq km water

Sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)

People and Culture

Ethnic Groups 
Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde.

English (official), Chichewa (official), and other local languages.


Political/Government Structure 
Multiparty democracy


Malawi has an agro-based economy with the agriculture sector accounting for over 35.5 percent of GDP, employing about 84.5 percent of labour force and accounting for 82.5 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Agriculture is characterized by a dual structure consisting of commercial estates that grow cash crops and a large smallholder sub-sector that is mainly engaged in mixed subsistence farming. Maize, the staple food, accounts for 80 percent of cultivated land in the small-holder sub-sector. The main agricultural export crop is tobacco, followed by tea, sugar and coffee.

The manufacturing sector accounts for 11 percent of GDP and comprises of mainly agro-processing activities in the tobacco, tea and sugar industries. Distribution and services represent about 22 percent of GDP.

While Malawi is not endowed with mineral resources on the scale of its neighbouring countries, there is significant potential for natural resource extraction. Minerals that can be found include uranium, coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphire and rare earths.