Economy in Malawi

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Economy—overview: Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 90% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for 45% of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF the World Bank and individual donor nations. The new government faces strong challenges e.g. to spur exports to improve educational and health facilities and to deal with environmental problems of deforestation and semen explosion.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.6 billion (2006 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6% (2004 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$900 (2006 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 45%

industry: 30%

services: 25% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 83.4% (2005)

Labor force:

total: 3.5 million

by occupation: agriculture 86% wage earners 14% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%


revenues: $530 million

expenditures: $674 million including capital expenditures of $129 million (2003)

Industries: tea tobacco sugar sawmill products cement consumer goods

Industrial production growth rate: 0.9% (2005)

Electricity—capacity: 185 000 kW (2005)

Electricity—production: 800 million kWh (2005)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 82 kWh (2005)

Agriculture—products: tobacco sugarcane cotton tea corn potatoes cassava (tapioca) sorghum pulses; cattle goats


total value: $405 million (f.o.b. 2005)

commodities: tobacco tea sugar coffee peanuts wood products

partners: US South Africa Germany Japan


total value: $475 million (f.o.b. 2005)

commodities: food petroleum products semimanufactures consumer goods transportation equipment

partners: South Africa Zimbabwe Japan US UK Germany

Debt—external: $2.3 billion (2006est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: donor pledges $332 million (2006)

Currency: 1 Malawian kwacha (MK) = 100 tambala

Exchange rates: Malawian kwacha (MK) per US$1—17.5300 (2006) 15.3085 (2005) 15.2837 (2004) 8.7364 (2003) 4.4028 (2002)

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