Politics and Economy of Malawi

State structure and political system of Malawi

Malawi is a republic. The current Constitution was adopted in 1994 and entered into force in 1995. The President is the head of state and head of government. He is elected by popular vote for a term of 5 years. Legislative power is exercised by the National Assembly (193 deputies), which is elected by popular vote for a term of 5 years. The executive power is represented by the president and the government. The last presidential and parliamentary elections were held on June 15, 1999. Check cancermatters for political system of Malawi.

Administratively, the country is divided into 3 provinces and 24 districts. The largest cities (thousand people): Blantyre-Limbe (518), Lilongwe, Mzuzu (95), Zomba (70).

Since 1993, a multi-party system has been introduced in the country. Active in the political arena ca. 10 parties, among them – the ruling United Democratic Front, founded in 1992, and two opposition parties – the PKM and the Alliance for Democracy (an association that arose in 1992).

The trade union movement in the country is headed by the Congress of Trade Unions of Malawi, created in 1964 and numbering 6,500 members. Chairman – K.U.Mhango.

Armed forces of Malawi 5000 people, incl. Ground forces – 4700 people, Navy – 220 people, Air Force – 80 people. 1000 people serve in the police.

Malawi has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on October 19, 1993).

Economy of Malawi

Malawi belongs to the group of least developed countries in the world. GDP $1.7 billion, or $160 per capita (2001). The average annual GDP growth rate in 2000-01 was 0.1. 40% of GDP is formed in agriculture, 19% in industry, and 41% in services (2001). The economically active population is 4.5 million people, of which 86% are employed in agriculture (2001). Inflation 28.6% (2001).

Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy. Tea (about 40 thousand tons), tobacco (158 thousand tons), peanuts (69 thousand tons) and cotton (12 thousand tons) are grown for export. For domestic consumption – cereals (rice – 82 thousand tons, corn – 1226 thousand tons), legumes (about 200 thousand tons), potatoes (380-400 thousand tons), cassava (200 thousand tons). Cultivation of cattle (about 700 thousand heads) is limited. Goats (1260 thousand), sheep (100 thousand), pigs (230 thousand) are bred. Fish are caught approx. 65 thousand tons

The industry is represented by mining enterprises (coal, marble), processing of agricultural raw materials (cotton ginning enterprises, tobacco and tea processing factories, oil mills and sugar factories), enterprises of the light industry, clothing, shoe industry, woodworking, production of building materials. Electricity generation 825 million kWh (2000).

Railways 797 km, roads 14,594 km, incl. 2773 km paved. Waterways 144 km. There are 44 airports, incl. 6 modern class.

State budget (2000, mln USD): 1013; revenues 490, expenses 523. External debt 1.5 billion dollars, deductions on account of its repayment 7.8% of the country’s export earnings (2001). Foreign trade turnover in 2001 was 879.1 million dollars: exports – 415.5 million dollars (tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, timber, ready-made clothes); imports – $463.6 million (food, petroleum products, consumer goods, vehicles, equipment). Main trading partners: in terms of exports – South Africa (18%), Germany (13%), USA (13%), Great Britain (10%); imports – South Africa (40%), Great Britain (11%), Zimbabwe (7%).

More than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Since 1994, free 8-year primary education has been introduced.

Politics of Malawi