Malawi By | Saturday, September 8  2012 at  15:52

Full Name
Republic of Malawi (English)
Dziko la Malawi (Chichewa)
Origins of name: The name is derived from the Marawi -a confederacy of states that existed in the area of present day Malawi

Formerly: Nyasaland

Current Leader
Joyce Banda

Overview
Early human inhabitants of what is now Malawi date to 8000–2000BC Bantu-speaking peoples migrated there between the 1st and 4th centuries AD.
The culture is mainly indigenous mixed with European aspects
Former British protectorate
Achieved independence on July 6, 1964

Facts

Form of Government
Multiparty democracy
Head of State is the President who is elected every 5 years (eligible for second term)

Government structure
President, Vice-President, Unicameral parliament

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for military service: 3,124,214 people
Expenditures: 1.3% of GDP
Branches: Malawi Armed Forces: Army (includes Air Wing and Naval Detachment

Former Rulers
1964-1966 Sir Glyn Smallwood Jones, Governor-General
1966-1994 Hastings Kamuzu Banda, President
1994-2004 Bakili Muluzi, President
2004-Present Bingu Wa Mutharika

Capital
Lilongwe
Altitude –1036m
Population –626,750

Population
Size: 13,077,160 (2008)
Life Expectancy: 43.8 years
Gender make-up: Female: 50.05%, Male –49.95%

GDP per capita
$918 (2011)

$882 (2010)

Geography
Area: 118,484sqkm
Land Boundaries: Mozambique 1,569km, Tanzania 475km, Zambia 837km

Major Languages
Chichewa (official), Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chisena, Chilomwe, Chitonga, English

Religious Portfolio
Christianity 76.77%, Islam 15.56%, Ethnic Religions 6.929%, Bahai Faith 0.2314%, Hinduism 0.2138%, Sikhism 4.3%, Judaism 1.7 %

National Make-up
African, Asian, European

Natural Resources
Limestone, Arable land, Hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite

Main exports
Tobacco, Tea, Sugar, Cotton, Coffee, Peanuts, Wood products, Apparel

Land Use
Arable land: 20.68%
Permanent crops: 1.18%
Other: 78.14%

Currency
Malawian Kwacha

Dialling Code
+265

Internet Code
.mw

Transport
Main Airport: Lilongwe International Airport (also known as Kamuzu) located 19km from Lilongwe
Main Port: Landlocked

Modern issues

Environmental
Deforestation
Land degradation
Water pollution
Sewage; industrial wastes; siltation

Political

Joyce Banda ascended to presidency on April 7, 2012 following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika who was serving his second term

The late Mutharika died on Thursday April 5, 2012 at a South African hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest
The late Mutharika won a second term in the May 2009 election

In 2011, Bingu wa Mutharika's took over the rotating leadership of the Comesa trade bloc
Malawi’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) director of political affairs Harry Mkandawire was asked to resign after criticising President Mutharika in a letter regarding quota system of admission to public universities
US-based campaign group, the Hunger Project, embarrassingly withdrew an award to Bingu wa Mutharika for leadership in food security citing his poor human rights record

Economic
The economy is predominately agricultural, which 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
Government working towards economic reforms/export diversity
Former President Mutharika devalued Kwacha following pressure from IMF
The late Mutharika ordered deportation of four foreign tobacco buyers over prices sabotage allegations

Social

The president has become increasingly unpopular due to his inability to tolerate criticism. He pounded protestors in July 2011 – violence that lead to the death of 19 - activists in the country went into hiding fearing for their lives after receiving threats and lobbyist offices were also set ablaze

Foreign Policy issues
President Mutharika ignored international objections and invited the indicted Sudanese leader, Bashir, for the Comesa summit in 2011 which didn’t make him very popular

In 2012, President Mutharika said that the World Bank and other donors should align their programmes with the country's, otherwise he would not accept them
Disputes with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River remain dormant

The Major Conflicts

War of Thangata
When: 1914- 1918
Who : Germans vs British
Why : Demands for African labour
Outcome: Assertion of British power in Nyasaland and defeat of Germans

Chilembwe revolt
When: 1915
Who: Natives in Nyasaland led by Reverent John Chilembwe vs British
Why: Colonial rule resistance, fight for worker rights
Outcome: the Rev Chilembwe was shot dead, several Africans and few white plantation staff were killed

Independence struggle
When: 1944-1963
Who: Nyasaland nationalists vs British
Why: Struggle for freedom/independence. Nyasaland African Congress was formed, violent clashes between the Congress supporters and the colonial authorities led to the banning of the organisation and arrest of leaders and a state of emergency was declared.
Outcome: Territory granted self governance leading to independence

What to see
Nyika National Park
Zomba Plateau
Mulanje Massif
Lower Shire Valley
Anglican cathedral on Likoma Island

Sports
Popular Sports
Football
Netball
Athletics
Rugby

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Christopher-John Banda, was famous Malawian midfield footballer, who died on pitch on September 6, 2006.
Essau Kanyenda- Malawian footballer nicknamed the "Black Mamba" for his stinging attacks and outstanding forward skills.

Quirks
US pop idol Madonna and her “love” for Malawi, she has adopted two children from the country

One of Malawi’s pardoned gays renounced his love for a fellow man and has since opted to marry a woman