Malawi

A long, narrow country, Malawi sits in southeast Africa and is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. Lake Malawi, the world’s 10th largest lake, covers about 20% of eastern Malawi. The beautiful country scenery includes the Great Rift Valley, mountains, and plateaus.

Gender-based violence is prevalent in Malawi, with up to 41% of women reporting having experienced physical and/or sexual violence in 2010 alone. As a result of domestic violence, around 2.5 million children are growing in violent homes and experiencing its effects. Overall, 65% of girls experience a form of violence in their lifetime. Child mortality is also a problem in Malawi, with many children not surviving to their fifth birthday. For those who do live to this age, one in two will not develop necessary cognitive skills. More than a million people are affected by hunger due to prolonged dry spells, rainfall shortages, and flooding.

  • Population: 15,906,500
  • Life Expectancy: 55 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 84%
  • School Enrollment: 98%
  • Land Mass: 45,746 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 61%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 71/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 320

Environment – current issues: deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations

Agriculture – products: tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats

Malawi’s population is estimated at 16.4 million people, 83% have access to water and 50.7% live below poverty lines. Malawi is a land-locked country in Sub-Saharan Africa located in the southeast. It is also a Least Developed Country, which is categorized by three contributing factors: low-income, human resource weakness and economic vulnerability. The Human Development Index (HDI), published by the UN annually, list countries that are considered to have low human development based on three categories: a long and health life (measured by life expectancy at birth), knowledge (measured by adult literacy rates and primary, secondary, tertiary school enrollment rates) and a decent standard of living (measured by GDP per capita). Malawi is considered a country of low human development. The economy is dominated by agriculture and is strongly dependent on natural resources and the environment. Agriculture is the main source of income for the country and accounts for 35-40% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides 80% of employment indirectly or directly. Malawians depend greatly on biodiversity to support their livelihoods. It provides them with fuel-wood, food, medicines, shade and water. Rural areas are home to 90% of the population, where employment and chances of escaping poverty are limited.

Malawi is unique and contributes greatly to global biodiversity. It is home to a large range of species, diverse habitats and ecosystems. Roughly 15% of the world’s freshwater fish are found in Lake Malawi and over 180 species of birds find sanctuary at Lake Chilwa. Biodiversity provides Malawians with many benefits including food, shelter, medicine and income. It is an integral part of the culture and serves as a source of livelihood and economic growth for the country. Due to habitat loss from agriculture expansion, encroachment in protected areas, disruption of unprotected ecosystems, uncontrolled bush fires, illegal exploitation of forest and wildlife resources, exploitation of fish stock and policy failures, Malawi’s biodiversity is extremely vulnerable.