BASIC INFORMATION – (CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)
Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009. As president, he oversaw some economic improvement. He died abruptly in April 2012 and was succeeded by his vice president, Joyce BANDA. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.
Welcome to the “warm heart” of Africa. The people here are among the poorest on earth. Malawi ranks dead last in per capita income. Malawi has a population of just over 16 million with a median age of just over 17 years of age. The average woman in Malawi will give birth to just over 5 children during her reproductive years. Of these, 79 of every 1000 will die during their infancy. The average life expectancy is slightly more than 52 years. It is estimated that 11% of the population is infected with HIV. AIDS, along with other diseases such as malaria, hepatitis A, and schistosomiasis are responsible for a major loss of productivity throughout the country. Low income rates prevent the purchase of pharmaceuticals that could easily control malaria and schistosomiasis.
The population is basically literate with 62% able to read and write. English is the language of commerce and it is taught in the school system. Schools are held in facilities ranging from well-constructed buildings to open air classes under trees. Equipment is minimal and supplies almost non-existent. Research has consistently proven that education is the one effective tool in helping raise the general wellbeing of a population.