|History of Malawi
|The name Malawi comes from a Chewa word meaning flames and is linked to the Maravi people from whom the Chewa language originated. The Maravi settled in what is now Malawi around 1400AD during one of the later waves of Bantu migration across central and southern Africa. Several of Malawi’s ethnic groups trace their origins to different Maravi lineages. A powerful Maravi kingdom, established around 1500AD, reached its zenith around 1700AD, when it controlled what is now southern and central Malawi, as well as portions of neighbouring Mozambique and Zambia before beginning to decline because of destabilization from the escalating global trade in enslaved people. In the early 1800s, widespread conflict in southern Africa displaced various ethnic Ngoni groups, some of which moved into Malawi and further undermined the Maravi. Members of the Yao ethnic group - which had long traded with Malawi from Mozambique - introduced Islam and began to settle in Malawi in significant numbers the mid-1800s; in the late 1800s, members of the Lomwe ethnic group also moved into southern Malawi from Mozambique. British missionary and trading activity increased in the area around Lake Nyasa in the mid-1800s, and Britain declared a protectorate, called British Central Africa, over what is now Malawi in 1891. The British renamed the territory Nyasaland in 1907 and it was part of the colonial Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland - including present-day Zambia and Zimbabwe - from 1953 to 1963 before gaining independence as Malawi in 1964.
|Politics of Malawi
|Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda served as Prime Minister at independence in 1964. Malawi became a Republic in 1966, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda became the First President. He later instituted one-party rule under his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and was declared president for life. After three decades of one-party rule, the country held multiparty Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 1994 under a provisional constitution that came into full effect in 1995. Dr. Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF) party became the first democratically elected President of Malawi when he defeated Dr. Banda at the polls in 1994 and was re-elected in 1999. President Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika was elected in 2004 and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in 2005. Dr. Mutharika A was re-elected to a second term in 2009, but could not complete his second term following his sudden death in 2012. He was succeeded by Vice President Dr. Joyce Banda, who had earlier started her own party, the People's Party (PP). Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika, brother to Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika defeated Dr. Joyce Banda in 2014. Professor Mutharika was re-elected in a disputed election in 2019 that resulted in the courts ordering a new election in 2020 where Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party was elected as Malawi’s sixth (6th) President under a coalition of nine (9) parties called Tonse Alliance.
|Economy of Malawi
Malawi has an agro-based economy with the agriculture sector accounting for over 35.5 per cent of GDP, employing about 84.5 percent of labour force and accounting for 82.5 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Agriculture is characterized by a dual structure consisting of commercial estates that grow cash crops and a large smallholder sub-sector that is mainly engaged in mixed subsistence farming. Maize, the staple food, accounts for 80 percent of cultivated land in the small-holder sub-sector. The main agricultural export crop is tobacco, followed by tea, sugar and coffee. The manufacturing sector accounts for 11 percent of GDP and comprises mainly agro-processing activities in the tobacco, tea and sugar industries. Distribution and services represent about 22 percent of GDP. While Malawi is not endowed with mineral resources on the scale of its neighbouring countries, there is significant potential for natural resource extraction. Minerals that can be found include uranium, gold, coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphire and rare earths.