Welcome to peaceful Malawi – The warm heart of Africa
Malawi has taken significant strides over the past two decades. Recent government reforms initiated by new President Joyce Banda have enabled the small, landlocked nation to better utilise its agricultural production to help bring its citizens out of poverty.
In 1994, President Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was defeated in the Malawi’s first democratic elections since gaining independence in 1964. His successor, Bakili Muluzi, took steps to reverse years of economic stagnation under Banda’s authoritarian presidency – though poverty and HIV/AIDS rates continued to rise throughout the end of the decade.
Previous President, Bingu wa Mutharika, who was elected in 2004, began the process to reverse Malawi’s socio-economic fortunes by stimulating private sector growth through the liberalisation of trade and foreign exchange and privatisation of state-owned enterprises. The Malawian economy has been further bolstered by working with the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, as well as the cancellation of over $2bn of debt through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
The Malawian economy relies heavily on its agricultural sector, which ranks second behind the service sector in its share of Malawi’s GDP. Agricultural products comprise 80 per cent of the country’s profit from exports, with tobacco, tea and sugar making up the vast majority of export crops.
Malawi has been very active in regional trade and is a member in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Currency: Kwacha (MWK)
GDP based on PPP: $13.901 bn
GDP growth 2012 (2011): 4.6%
Head of Government: Joyce Banda
Finance Minister: Ken Lipenga
Central Bank Governor: Charles Chuka
Language: English, Chichewa
World Bank Doing Business rank: 157
World Economic Forum Global
Competitiveness rank: 129
Investment agency: Malawi Investment
Promotion Agency (www.malawi-invest.net)
Public sector opening hours: 0800 – 1700
Private sector opening hours: 0800 – 1700
Legal system: Based on English law
Airlines: No airlines fly from London to
Malawi. Travellers must go via Johannesburg
Visas: Tourist visa not required for
citizens of US, UK and EU
Hotels: £47-117 a night