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Malawi

Malawi

Summary

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has a highly agricultural economy and is heavily affected by droughts. The country is currently engaged in a border dispute with Tanzania over ownership of Lake Nyasa. Healthcare in Malawi is poor, and 9.2% of the population was reported to have HIV/AIDs in 2016. Human rights abuses include discrimination against women, girls, those with albinism, and human rights defenders.1 1 https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mi.html

Demographics

Nationality
Malawian
Population
16,777,547 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

Explore Malawi Subcases

Click and view Malawi subcases and learn more about our Malawi

Environment
Human Rights
Education
Poverty
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Family
Animals

Environment

Malawi’s climate is marked by periods of heavy rainfall, irregular rain patterns, floods, droughts, and long dry spells. This greatly affects small farmers who live in rural areas and rely on agriculture for their livelihood.1 Malawi also has a Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment that provides guidance to policymakers about the state of the environment. In 2015 the government banned plastic bags in an effort to reduce litter.2

Human Rights

Albino people are heavily discriminated against and face harassment and violence in Malawi culture. Two albino people were killed in 2017. Women, girls, and gay people all face discrimination as well, in combination with threats and harassment. There are also very few rights for human rights defenders. NGOs are highly limited and regulated by state officials, especially in the areas of governance and human rights abuses.1

Education

Malawi is behind in meeting its Millennium Development goal of universal primary education and gender equality. Teen pregnancy has become a serious roadblock to achieving education for females.1 Girls enroll in school but display very low retention rates. This is largely due to the social pressures facing girls that influence them to drop out and get married before finishing their education.2

Poverty

20% of the population in Malawi is unemployed, and over half the country lives below the international poverty line.1 Malawi was placed 170th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index in 2015.2 Around 85% of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas, resulting in an economy that is highly dependent on agricultural output for stability. Droughts in these areas have contributed to recent fiscal stress. The International Fund for Agricultural Development has invested over $160 million in agricultural projects in an effort to stimulate growth.3

Religion

The largest religion in Malawi is Christianity. 27.2% of followers are Protestant, 18.4% are Catholic, 41% are other Christian denominations, and 12% are Muslim.1 The Malawian government generally respects the religious freedom of its citizens. However, religious groups are required by law to register with the government. Missionaries who hope to live and work in Malawi are required to obtain valid employment permits from the immigration offices.2

Clean Water

90% of the people in Malawi have access to clean water sources. Only 41% of people have improved sanitation facilities.1 Around 3,100 children are killed annually as a result of the poor sanitation in Malawi. The extreme, hot weather and population growth have exacerbated water insecurity.2 Only 37% of the population has been educated about and practices good hygiene.3

Economy

The public debt in Malawi is 56% of the GDP. 20% of the population is unemployed, and over 50% of the population lives below the international poverty line. The country mainly exports to Zimbabwe and Mozambique and imports from South Africa and China.1 Economic growth is slow and poverty reduction is not a priority in legislative reforms. The government’s implementation of reforms is inefficient.2

Government

The Republic of Malawi is a presidential republic that has a president who acts as chief of state and the head of government. There are five major political parties.1 The government is extremely corrupt, and in January 2014, extensive looting by the finance ministry was revealed to international parties.2 Despite the fact that several anti-corruption laws and regulations have been implemented, corruption still remains. Foreign donors who previously had offered funds and resources have begun to end aid agreements with Malawi.3 Transparency International ranks the country 122nd out of 180 countries on the Corruption Index, and the public scores their government 31 out of 100 for perceived corruption.4

Health

There are very high rates of disease in Malawi, especially with communicable diseases and maternal and child mortality rates. Around 1 million people, or 9.2% of the population were reported as living with HIV/AIDs in 2016. The risk for infectious diseases is very high. The maternal mortality rate is 634 deaths per 100,000 live births, which is the 13th highest in the world. The infant mortality rate is 43 deaths per 1,000 live births.1

Children

46% of Malawi’s population is under the age of 14. The average age of citizens is 16.1 Child survival rates and prospects have improved in the past five years because of the increasing agricultural production and the stability of the economy. Extensive poverty is one of the greatest challenges that children face.2 Child marriage is a pervasive issue in the country; 42% of children are married before they reach the age of 18. 9% are married before they even reach the age of 15.3

Family

Family planning programs and clinics have been in Malawi since the 1990s, but there are still barriers that keep them from being wholly effective. The fertility rate in Malawi is high, and large families are the cultural norm.1 Child marriage is also socially acceptable in Malawi. These marriages are often a result of the male-dominated society system and are seen as a protective measure for girls who get pregnant and ruin the family’s honor.2

Animals

Malawi contains a large amount of evergreen forests and hosts a variety of local species. These include the cheetah, leopard, and spotted hyena. The only bird that is strictly located in this area is the Namuli apalis. There is also a wide array of dragonflies and butterflies. These habitats are threatened by wildfires, and much of the Afromontane forest areas have been replaced by grassland and brushland. There are also problems with access to arable land due to agriculture and deforestation.1

Malawi

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