The Economy of Malawi

The Economy of Malawi

Malawian Economy

Economy - overview: Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 85% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for more than one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Malawi will now begin a consultative process to develop a five-year program before funding can begin. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, facing up to environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors that fiscal discipline is being tightened. In 2005, President MUTHARIKA championed an anticorruption campaign. Since 2005 President MUTHARIKA'S government has exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million with the IMF. Improved relations with the IMF lead other international donors to resume aid as well.


GDP - real growth rate: 6.5% (2008 est.) 8% (2007 est.) 7.9% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 38.1% industry: 17.7% services: 44.2% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.9% highest 10%: 31.8% (2004)

Distribution of family income - Gini index: 39 (2004)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 4.5 million (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 90% industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

Budget: revenues: $1.227 billion expenditures: $1.337 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods

Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 1.13 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 1.051 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 6,160 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 6,788 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

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

Exports: $679 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel

Exports - partners: Germany 11.7%, South Africa 10%, Egypt 9.2%, Zimbabwe 8.2%, US 7.3%, Russia 5.8%, Netherlands 4.5% (2007)

Imports: $1.023 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment

Imports - partners: South Africa 36.1%, India 8.5%, Tanzania 6.1%, US 6.1%, China 4.9% (2007)

Debt - external: $974 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar - 142.41 (2008 est.), 141.12 (2007), 135.96 (2006), 108.894 (2005), 108.898 (2004)

Fiscal year:

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