The Malawi Situation



- the poorest country in the world that is not either involved in, or recovering from, civil war

- one of the most unequal income distributions: the richest 20% of the population consumes 46.3% of goods and services, compared to the poorest 20% that consumes only 6.3% of them.

- 60% live under the poverty line

- 49% are stunted because of long-term mal-nourishment 

- GNP per capita is US$210.

- Life expectancy is 39 years old

- HIV/AIDs is affecting up to 25% of the population in urban areas, and 13% in rural areas

- Malawi is divided into 3 key regions

- Blantyre is situated in the South and is the largest city. The capital city, Lilongwe, is in the Central region while Mzuzu is the main city in the North.

- Chichewa and English are joint official national languages.

- population: 11 million people

- 11.2% of adults over 25 years of age have completed primary school

- 58% of the population is literate, while the female literacy rate is 44%women.



Food security


Malawi’s economic base is agriculture in which up to 85% of the population are engaged and which generates up to 95% of foreign exchange earnings.


- three quarters of the population go hungry for a quarter of the year.

- Malawi is over-dependent on the very drought sensitive maize crop

- In early 2002, Malawi suffered the worst recorded famine.

- Currently, Malawi is already experiencing an even worse food crisis than early in 2002

- production forecasts predict a further 5% decline in the maize harvest and a deficit of 650,000MT



- 2 million orphans out of a total population

- despite the introduction of free primary education, the net enrolment rate has remained at 78%.

- Infant mortality is at a rate of 104 deaths and under-5 mortality at 189 deaths per 1000 live births.                     

- more and more children are coming on the streets

- 80% of them have lost one or both parents through AIDS

- numbers of newcomers on the streets went up by 200% between 2001 and 2002