The Malawi Portal
The Republic of Malawi (//; Chichewa [malaβi]) is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size is over 118,000 km2 (45,560 sq mi) with an estimated population of more than 13,900,000. Its capital is Lilongwe, the biggest city is Blantyre. The name Malawi is believed to come from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area.
Malawi was first settled during the 10th century and remained under native rule until 1891 when it was colonized by the British, who ruled the country until 1964. Upon gaining independence it became a single-party state under the presidency of Hastings Banda, who remained president until 1994, when he was ousted from power. Bingu Mutharika, elected in 2004, is the current president. Malawi has a democratic, multi-party government. Malawi has a small military force that includes an army, a navy and an air wing. Malawi's foreign policy is pro-Western and includes positive diplomatic relations with most countries and participation in several international organizations.
Malawi is among the world's least developed and most densely populated countries
. The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural
population. The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet development
needs, although this need (and the aid offered) has decreased since 2000. The Malawian government faces challenges in growing the economy, improving education, health care and the environmental protection
and becoming financially independent. Malawi has several programs developed since 2005 that focus on these issues, and the country's outlook appears to be improving, with improvements in economic growth, education and healthcare seen in 2007 and 2008.
The Zambezi (also spelled Zambesi) is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 km² (537,000 miles²), slightly less than half that of the Nile. The 3,540 km- (2,200 mile-) long river has its source in Zambia and flows through Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia again, and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian Ocean.
The Zambezi's most spectacular feature is the beautiful Victoria Falls. Other notable falls include the Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia.
There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river. These are the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique which provides power to both Mozambique and South Africa. There is also a smaller power station at Victoria Falls. (Read more...)
Credit: Steve Evans
A child stands before sunrise on the shore of Lake Malawi, Africa's third largest freshwater lake.
Did you know ...
- ... that the residents of Kasungu, Malawi, live in houses made from handmade bricks and straw roofing?
In the news
Dr Bingu wa Mutharika (born February 24, 1934) is a Malawian economist, politician, and the current President of Malawi. He first took office on May 24, 2004, after winning a disputed presidential election. With the support of President Bakili Muluzi, Mutharika won the 2004 election as the candidate of the United Democratic Front (UDF); he broke with the UDF (which remained under Muluzi's control) in February 2005, however, due to disagreements over Mutharika's anti-corruption campaign. He then formed a new party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but lacked a parliamentary majority for the rest of his first term. He won a second term in the May 2009 election. His supporters credit him with responsible policies that have encouraged economic growth.
Born Brightson Webster Ryson Thom in Thyolo, about 30km from Malawi's commercial capital, Blantyre, he reverted to the family name of Mutharika and adopted the first name of Bingu during the 1960s when pan-Africanism was sweeping across the continent.
Mutharika was the son of a primary school headmaster. He was educated at the University of Delhi, India, where he gained a master's degree in economics. He later obtained a PhD in development economics from Pacific Western University.
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