MALAWI

Date of establishment: July 6, 1964

Brief history:

  • Ancient history: The territory of today’s Malawi was already inhabited thousands of years before the arrival of European colonizers. It was home to various ethnic groups, including the Chewa and the Nyanja.
  • Colonization: In the 19th century, the region becomes part of the British Empire and gets the name Nyasaland. The British took control of this territory primarily for the slave trade and later for agriculture and other economic interests.
  • Independence (1964): Malawi gains independence from Great Britain on 6 July 1964 under the leadership of the first president, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. The country adopts the name Malawi.
  • The Kamuzu Banda Era: Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda becomes the long-time president and ruler. His rule was characterized by authoritarianism.
  • Democratization (1994): In 1994, the first democratic elections take place and regime change occurs. Bakili Muluzi becomes president, and the country undergoes a process of political liberalization.
  • 21st century: Malawi goes through several presidents and political changes. The country faces economic challenges such as poverty and lack of access to education and healthcare.
  • Present Time: Since 2014, the president has been Lazarus Chakwera, who was elected in a democratic election. The country is striving to solve social and economic problems and promote sustainable development.

 

International abbreviation: MW

 

Currency: Malawian kwacha MKW

The kwacha is divided into smaller units called tambala. It is the official currency of the country and is used for all common transactions, including the purchase of goods and services.

 

Internet domain: .mw

 

Dialing code: +265

 

Time zone: GMT+2

 

Geography:

The country lies in the southern part of East Africa and is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Zambia to the west, and Mozambique to the south and southeast.

It has a diverse relief including plateaus, mountains, and valleys. The country is known for its mountain ranges, including the Mulanje Massif and the Zomba Plateau.

Lake Malawi, also known as Nyasa, is the largest freshwater lake in Malawi and the third largest in Africa, and is home to many endemic fish species.

Malawi is crisscrossed by several rivers, including the Shire, which drains from Lake Malawi and is an important waterway for the country.

 

Highest peak: Sapitwa (Mount Mulanje) 3 002 m (9 849 feet) above sea level.

Mulanje Massif is a located in the southeastern part of the state. The massif is home to several high mountains and peaks, the highest of which is called Sapitwa.

This mountain region represents an important ecological element and is protected as part of a national park.

 

Climate:

Rainy season (November to April) – these seasons are characterized by heavy rainfall and warm weather. Temperatures range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). During the rainy season, Malawi can be prone to flooding, especially in low-lying areas and near watercourses.

Dry season (May to October) – these seasons are drier and cooler, with less rainfall. Temperatures may drop to 10°C to 20°C (50 °F to 68 °F) at night, especially at higher elevations. During this period, the Shire River, and some lakes, including Lake Malawi, can shrink significantly.

In mountainous areas such as the Mulanje Massif, the climate can be cooler and wetter throughout the year, with higher rainfall and temperatures that can drop below freezing at night.

 

Fauna and flora:

The country is home to many species of mammals, including elephants, buffaloes, leopards, rhinoceroses, and several species of antelope. Especially famous are the lemurs that inhabit some areas.

It is a paradise for birdwatchers and has more than 650 species of birds.

Lake Malawi, the third largest freshwater lake in the world, is home to many species of fish, including cichlids.

In some parts, especially in the west, there are tropical rainforests. These forests are home to many endemic species of plants and animals. It has several species of baobab. These impressive trees are a characteristic feature of the landscape in some areas. Inland areas are often covered with savannah where grasses and acacias grow. These areas are home to savannah fauna, including antelopes, lions, and elephants.

 

Agriculture:

The main crops grown include maize, beans, peas, cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, tobacco, and cotton. Maize is a staple food and a key element of the diet for the majority of the population.

Coffee is mainly grown in the south of the country, while tea is mainly grown in the north. Agricultural products such as tobacco, coffee, and tea are the main export items. Agriculture is dependent on rainfall, drought has a negative impact on crops. Many farmers do not have access to modern irrigation systems.

The government has introduced a fertilizer subsidy program to help farmers increase yields from crops grown. This program helps farmers get access to fertilizers at very low and subsidized prices.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

The country has the potential to become a major producer of uranium. Various types of gemstones are found there, including sapphires, pink garnets, and amethysts.

Logging is an important industry. The wood is used for the production of furniture, construction material and as fuel.

Natural gas reserves have been discovered, although the extraction and exploitation of these reserves is still in the development stage. Malawi is also a major producer of cotton.

 

Industry:

The textiles and clothing industry is one of the most important industries. The country produces textile products that are intended for both domestic consumption and export.

The country produces tobacco including burley tobacco which is exported to various countries. Some companies produce building materials such as bricks, cement, and concrete products that are important for infrastructure development.

 

Services and other areas of the economy: services

 

Natural and historical attractions: Lake Malawi and Lilongwe

Malawi is known for its beautiful environment, including Lake Malawi. Tourists come for recreational activities such as diving, swimming, and fishing. It offers climbers and tourists many options for hiking and mountain tours. It has several national parks and protected areas such as Liwonde, Nyika, and Kasungu national parks, where tourists can observe wildlife and birds. Tourists can visit villages and learn about local culture.

 

Waterparks in Malawi:

 

Form of government: republic

Malawi is a sovereign republic with a democratic polity. Its political system is based on a parliamentary democracy with a presidential system.

The president is the head of state and government and is elected in general elections for a five-year term. The presidential system provides the president with executive authority and responsibility for running the government and the state apparatus. The president also has the power to appoint members of the government. Legislative power is vested in a unicameral parliament called the National Assembly. This body has 193 members who are elected in single-member constituencies. Parliament passes laws and controls the government.

The judiciary is independent and is ensured by judicial authorities, including the Supreme Court. The court system operates under a legal system derived from British law.

The political situation in the country is developing in accordance with democratic principles, although the country faces challenges such as poverty, corruption, and social inequality.

 

Capital city: Lilongwe

Located in the central part of the country, the city has a rich history and an important place in the political and economic life of Malawi.

Lilongwe was chosen as the capital in 1975, replacing the previous capital Blantyre. This decision was partly motivated by the geographical location of Lilongwe, which is more centrally situated.

 

Area: 118 484 km2 (45 747 square miles)

 

Population: 20 100 000 (2020)

There are many ethnic groups in Malawi, with the largest being the Chewa, Lomwe, Yao, Ngoni, and Tumbuka. Each ethnic group has its own language, culture, and traditions.

The official language is English, which is used in education, government, and business. The population speaks various Bantu languages such as Chewa, Chichewa, Chitumbuka, Chiyao, and others.

Religion plays an important role in the country and the majority of the population professes Christianity, of which Protestants are the largest religious group, followed by Catholics. There are also smaller Muslim communities and traditional African religions. Malawi faces challenges in healthcare and education, with high rates of poverty and low literacy.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 2

 

  1. Lake Malawi National Park (1984) – A lake national park that protects hundreds of species of fish.
  2. Chongoni Rock Paintings (2006) – Largest concentration of Late Stone Age rock paintings in Central Africa. There are 127 sites on the 126.4 km² (48.8 square miles) plateau.

 

National parks: 5

 

  1. Kasungu National Park
  2. Lengwe National Park
  3. Liwonde National Park
  4. Nyika National Park
  5. Lake Malawi National Park