Fast Facts

Population:
12,341,000
Capital:
Lilongwe; 587,000
Area:
118,484 square kilometers (45,747 square miles)
Language:
English, Chichewa
Religion:
Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim
Currency:
Malawian kwacha
Life Expectancy:
39
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $600
Literacy Percent:
63
Flag: Malawi
Map: Malawi

Malawi lies landlocked in southeast Africa, with Lake Malawi taking up about a fifth of the landscape. Independent from Britain since 1964, it endured the one-party rule of President for Life Hastings Kamuzu Banda for more than 25 years. Democratic elections in 1994 ushered in new leadership of this country, nearly self-sufficient in food. Transportation costs for exports skyrocketed as a result of civil war in next-door Mozambique, which disrupted rail links to the sea. Since the 1992 peace accord in Mozambique, rail links have been reestablished, and Malawi is slowly recovering.

ECONOMY

  • Industry: Tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products
  • Agriculture: Tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea; groundnuts; cattle
  • Exports: Tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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