Gross Domestic Product (GDP):Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â US$ 12. 81 billion (2009)
Income per capita-PPP:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â US$900 (2009)
Malawi is located in south-eastern Africa bordered by Tanzania to the north, Zambia to the west, and Mozambique to the east and south. Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa and one of the deepest in the world, accounts for almost one-fifth of the country's area. Malawiâ€™s terrain is beautiful and breath-taking comprising of plateaus, plains, hills, valleys and mountains. The three major population centres are Mzuzu in the north; Lilongwe, the capital city, in the centre; and Blantyre in the south.Â Blantyre is also the commercial capital of the country.
HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT
In 1891, Nyasaland now Malawi, became a British protectorate. In 1953, Nyasaland joined with Northern and Southern Rhodesia (Zambia and Zimbabwe), to form the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland until 6th July, 1964 when the country attained her independence. Malawiâ€™s first independent President was Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. After three decades of one-party rule under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Malawians decided to change their system of government, from one party dictatorship to multiparty politics in a referendum which was held in June, 1993. In May, 1994, Malawi held its multiparty election with President Dr. Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF), winning the elections with a majority. Subsequent elections were held in 1999, 2004 and 2009.
During the elections in 2004, Malawians elected Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, a seasoned economist, president. Under President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi has achieved unprecedented economic growth. The current development plans of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government as stipulated in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) continue to transform Malawiâ€™s economy, from a predominantly importing and consuming country, to a predominantly producing and exporting country.
One of the most important aspects for Malawiâ€™s economic achievements has been the excellent leadership provided by His Excellency President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika. On this basis, Malawians re-elected Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika for a second term of office in the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES UNDER THE MALAWI GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
1. Agriculture and Food Security
Goal: To increase agricultural productivity and ensure food security since agriculture accounts for 32 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
2.Â Â Â Â Green-Belt Irrigation and Water Development
Goal: To improve the utilization and management of water resources for agricultural use through irrigation farming in designated areas, as well as domestic and industrial demands. Around a million hectares have been designated for irrigation.
3. Education, Science and Technology
Goals: To build an educated and highly skilled population which will contribute to the socio-economic development of the country. Among other initiatives is the development of the Lilongwe University of Science and Technology (LUSTECH).
4. Transport Infrastructure and Nsanje World Inland Port
Goal: To reduce the cost of transportation and lead times by opening up the country to the Indian Ocean, and improving the road and the railway network. Major priorities include the development of the Nsanje World Inland Port and the Shire-Zambezi Waterway, the rehabilitation of the railway line system among others.
5. Climate Change, Natural Resources and Environmental Management
Goal: To conserve, manage and utilize natural resources and the environment in a sustainable manner so as to reduce degradation and adverse socio-economic impacts.
6. Integrated Rural Development
Goal: To develop rural growth centers that will contribute effectively to economic growth through the creation of employment opportunities thereby enhance redistribution of wealth to all citizens.
7. Public Health, Sanitation and HIV and AIDS Management.
Goal: To improve the health status of Malawians to effectively contribute to socio-economic development.
8. Youth Development and Empowerment
Goal: To economically empower the youth to meaningfully contribute to national development. The expected outcome is healthy, highly productive and self reliant youths. Government is currently providing entrepreneurship training and loans to the youth under the MK 3 billion Youth Development Fund.
9. Energy, Mining and Industrial Development
Goal: To provide adequate energy to meet the economic and social demands and increase the contribution of the mining and manufacturing sectors to GDP growth.
For further information visit: http://www.malawi.gov.mw/
MARKET SIZE AND ACCESS
Malawi is a party to a number of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, offering wider access and preferential treatment for Malawian products.
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
COMESA has a potential market of 340 million people and a combined GDP of US$170 billion.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC)
The SADC region has a potential market of 199 million people and a combined GDP of US$176 billion. Under SADC, Malawi is committed to reducing tariffs on intra-SADC trade progressively.
The African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA)
AGOA offers duty and quota-free access to the United States market of 298 million people for 1,800 products, in addition to the standard GSP programme.
Cotonou Agreement/Everything But Arms (EBA)
This initiative extends duty-and quota-free access to the European Union market for all imports from Least Developed Countries, except arms. Minor variations apply to bananas, sugar and rice.
Bilateral Trade Agreements
In addition, bilateral trade agreements exist with Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa, and a customs agreement is in place with Botswana.
Malawi is also a member of the following multilateral institutions