Malawi - Country Portrait - currently not CmiA-certified
- Area: 118,484 square kilometers
- Population (2012): 15.9 million
- Official language: Chichewa and English
- Independent: since 1964
- Capital: Lilongwe
- Form of government: Presidential system (within the Commonwealth); Constitution from 1995
- Average life expectancy: 55 years
- Illiteracy rate: 25.2% (population over 15 years)
- Top 3 export goods: Tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton
- Number of "Cotton made in Africa" farmers (2013): 20,300
- Average family size of a cotton farmer: 4.6 people
- Known for: Lake Malawi
The landlocked country in southeast Africa was thrust into the international spotlight when the pop star Madonna adopted a child in Malawi in 2006. Malawi is one of the smallest and poorest countries in Africa and heavily dependent on foreign aid. The high number of young people with HIV infection has enormous economic consequences for the country.
According to the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations, Malawi ranks 170 out of 187 of the poorest countries in the world. 74% of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. 84% live in rural areas.
The average life expectancy is only 55.2 years in Malawi and, as in many African countries, is a result of HIV and AIDS. Roughly 11 percent of adults (15–49) is HIV positive: Young people are affected the most, having enormous economic consequences for the country. In addition, almost one-third of the population is illiterate.
The economy of this resource-poor country is mainly dominated by agriculture: Agricultural products account for 90 percent of Malawi's exports. Tobacco, tea, sugar cane, cotton, and recently corn are grown and exported. Through international cooperation and subsidy programs for seeds and fertilizers for smallholder farmers, Malawi has become a food exporter, which until 2005 was dependent on food imports.
Cotton is mainly grown in southern Malawi. It is estimated that cotton production secures the income of currently about 418,000 cotton farmers. The cotton is almost entirely exported as raw material.
Sources: Human Development Report 2013 (UN); The World Fact Book 2014, Auswärtiges Amt 2014; World Development Indicators 2014;2010-2014 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) Digitale Kommunikation Referat L 5.