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Malawi Economy

    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 erosion.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.9 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3.2% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$940 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 45%
    industry: 30%
    services: 25% (1995 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 54% (1990-91 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 83.4% (1995)

    Labor force: 3.5 million

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 86%, wage earners 14% (1990 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $530 million
    expenditures: $674 million, including capital expenditures of $129 million (1993)

    Industries: tea, tobacco, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods

    Industrial production growth rate: 0.9% (1995)

    Electricity—production: 800 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 2.5%
    hydro: 97.5%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 800 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

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

    Exports: $405 million (f.o.b., 1995)

    Exports—commodities: tobacco, tea, sugar, coffee, peanuts, wood products

    Exports—partners: US, South Africa, Germany, Japan

    Imports: $475 million (f.o.b., 1995)

    Imports—commodities: food, petroleum products, semimanufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment

    Imports—partners: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Japan, US, UK, Germany

    Debt—external: $2.3 billion (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $416.5 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Malawian kwacha (MK) = 100 tambala

    Exchange rates: Malawian kwachas (MK) per US$1—43.5426 (January 1999), 31.0727 (1998), 16.4442 (1997), 15.3085 (1996), 15.2837 (1995), 8.7364 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)