Area; 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.); land the size of Pennsylvania, with a lake the size of Vermont. Cities; Capital--Lilongwe. Other cities--Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu. Terrain; Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area. Climate; Predominately subtropical.
Nationality; Noun and adjective--Malawian(s). Population (2008 est.); 13,066,320 (preliminary results from the 2008 Malawi population and housing census). Annual growth rate (2008); 2.8%. Ethnic groups; Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European. Religions; Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%. Languages; English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe. Education; Years compulsory--none. Enrollment (2006)--primary, 86%. Literacy (2004 est., age 15 and older)--69%. Health; Infant mortality rate (2006)--72 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy (at birth, 2005 est.)--40 yrs.
Type; Multi-party democracy. Independence; July 6, 1964. Constitution; May 18, 1995. Branches; Executive--president (the president is both chief of state and head of government), first and second vice presidents, cabinet. Legislative--unicameral National Assembly (193 members). Although the Malawian constitution provides for a Senate, in practice the legislative branch's upper house has never been called into session. Judicial--High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, subordinate Magistrate Courts. Administrative subdivisions; 28 districts. Political parties; Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, ruling party), United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Alliance for Democracy (AFORD), Malawi Forum for Development (MAFUNDE), Maravi People’s Party (MPP), New Rainbow Coalition (NARC), New Republican Party (NRP), People's Progressive Movement (PPM), People's Transformation Party (PETRA), Republican Party (RP), and Congress for National Unity (CONU). MCP and UDF are the two main opposition parties in parliament. Suffrage; Universal at 18 years of age. Central government budget (2008/2009); $1.6 billion (MK 227.2 billion).
GDP (2008 est.); $2.92 billion. Annual real GDP growth rate (2008); 9.7%. Per capita GNI (2008 est.); Approx. $289. Avg. inflation rate (2008); 8.7%. Natural resources; Limestone, uranium, coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths. Agriculture (approx. 34.7% of GDP); Products--tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (tapioca), sorghum, coffee, rice, groundnuts. Arable land--34%, of which 86% is cultivated. Industry (19.4% of GDP); Types--tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods. Trade (2008 est.); Exports--$995.6 million; tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products. Partners--U.S., U.K., South Africa, Germany, Japan. Imports--$1.654 billion; food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment. Partners--South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, U.S., U.K., Germany. Fiscal year; July 1-June 30.
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