Malawi's economy is based on agriculture,
which accounts for 85 percent of export earnings.
Dependence on agriculture makes the country sensitive to
weather conditions and declining world market prices for
the country's export goods.
Malawi's by far the most important export crop is
tobacco, followed by tea and sugar. Rice, cotton, rubber
and peanuts are also important for export. Export crops
are grown mainly on plantations, while about 85 percent
of Malawians are small farmers who primarily grow food
for their own households.
Major imports by Malawi, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.
Agriculture is plagued with problems. Tobacco demand
is declining and Malawi's rapid population growth is
increasing the pressure on the land that is used too
intensively. Fields are depleted and harvests are
The government hopes to reduce dependence on
agricultural exports by developing several sources of
income, mainly mining and tourism. Malawi has never
recovered minerals or rocks on any major scale, but the
mining industry is considered to have great potential.
Tourism is small but growing.
The country's industrial sector is small and
undeveloped as is the service sector. The industry is
concentrated in Malawi's southern part and the city of
Blantyre. The factories mainly produce goods for
domestic consumption, including food, building
materials, clothing and shoes.
Abbreviationfinder.org: Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including MWI which represents the country of Malawi.
In the wake of the global financial crisis that was
triggered in 2008, Malawi experienced an acute shortage
of foreign currency, leading to fuel shortages and
protests. The problems were exacerbated when the outside
world withdrew their aid (see Modern History). By 2012,
the economy had reached a crisis level and growth was
down to just under 2 percent.
Growth recovered to 5.7 percent in 2014, mainly due
to good rains and better harvests. A contributing factor
was that the currency, kwacha, was devalued and that the
income from tobacco exports thus increased.
At the beginning of 2015, the rains were so intense
that agricultural land was flooded, which in turn was
expected to inhibit growth.
FACTS - FINANCE
GDP per person
US $ 389 (2018)
US $ 7,065 million (2018)
3.5 percent (2018)
Agriculture's share of GDP
26.1 percent (2017)
Manufacturing industry's share of GDP
9.4 percent (2017)
The service sector's share of GDP
52.4 percent (2017)
8.8 percent (2019)
Government debt's share of GDP
62.9 percent (2018)
US $ 2,160 million (2017)
Assistance per person
US $ 81 (2017)
Ministerial posts to the president's brother
President Mutharika appoints his brother Peter Mutharika as Minister of
Justice to later make him Minister of Education.
Mutharika re-elected president
President Mutharika is re-elected for a second term with almost 66 percent of
the vote. Challenger John Tembo, backed by Mutharika's rival Muluzi, gets just
under 37 percent.
In the parliamentary elections, held simultaneously, President Mutharika's
party wins the DPP's own majority with 113 of the 193 seats. Tembo's party MCP
more than halved to 27 seats, and Muluzi's party UDF reduces even more to 17
seats. Several of the 33 independent candidates who come into Parliament promise
to support the victorious DPP, who may also receive defectors from the MCP.
Ex-President Muluzi seized
Bakili Muluzi is arrested, accused of corruption and embezzlement of aid
during his time as president.