Malawi … the “Warm Heart of Africa”
Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule, the country held multiparty elections in 1994 under a provisional constitution, which took full effect the following year. The next national multiparty elections will be held in 2014.
Malawi is located in Southern Africa and is bordered by Zambia (837Km) to the West, Tanzania (475 Km) to the North and East, and Mozambique (1569 Km) to the South. It covers an area of 118,480 Sq. Km. It’s capital City is Lilongwe.
Malawi is a landlocked Country with varying terrain across it. It has main highland areas of Nyika and Viphya Plateaus to the North and other parts of the country, with the highest elevation point on Mount Mulanje called Sapitwa (3002m). Most low lying areas are found along the lake Shore, with lowest elevation point located at the junction of the Shire river and the international boundary with Mozambique (37m). Lake Malawi is the largest lake among other lakes namely Chirwa, Malombe, and Kazuni.
Malawi experiences a tropical Climate with dry seasons during the months of May to November and rainy season during the other months particularly December to March.
Malawi has a population of about 13,931,831 (July 2008 est.), with 85% of the population living in the rural areas, and population growth rate of 2.39% (2008 est.).
The ethnic group composition of Malawian Culture includes Chewa, Nyanja, Yao, Tumbuka, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian and European. The national language is Chichewa while English is the official language. Other languages are Tumbuka used in the North and Yao in the South.
Most people in Malawi are Christians while others still observe traditional beliefs. The religions of Malawi include Christian (Protestants & Roman Catholic) (79.9%), Muslim (12.8%), and the remaining for traditional indigenous beliefs, other minor religions, or atheists (1998 census).
As a land locked country, Malawi's economy is predominantly based on agriculture which accounts for about 45% of Gross National Product and more than 90% of the country's export earnings. At least 80% of the agricultural produce comes from smallholder farmers on customary land. The rest is produced by commercial farmers on estates. the main crops grown in Malawi are Maize, tobacco, tea, sugarcane, groundnuts, cotton, wheat, coffee, rice, and pulses.
Malawi is an exporter of primary produce and net importer of industrial goods. It’s major exports include tobacco, sugar, and groundnuts while it's major imports are intermediate (chemical and allied) goods for industry.
The economy also depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations.
The partnership between Pittsburgh Presbytery and the Synod of Blantyre has, since 1991, been an opportunity for hundreds of people and dozens of congregations on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to grow in their faith and learn to serve God patiently, obediently, and passionately.
More current statistics and information about Malawi is available at the CIA World Fact Book.