Malawi or the Republic of Malawi (formerly Nyasaland named after "Lake Nyasa" or Lake Malawi which is the third largest lake in all of Africa) is a beautiful landlocked country located at the southeastern part of Africa just at the east of the Republic of Zambia. The Republic of Malawi has a total land area of about 118,484 squared kilometers (about 24,404sq km covered by water). The Republic of Malawi also shares borders with the Republic of Tanzania to the northeast and the Republic of Mozambique to the south, east and west.
Malawi shares Lake Malawi (popularly known as Lake Nyasa or Lake Niassa in most African countries) with the Republics of Tanzania and Mozambique. Although Malawi is a landlocked country, Lake Malawi serves as a little sea with abundance of fish.
Lake Malawi also provides abundance of fresh water and great beaches. The Republic of Malawi has a total population of about 16.5 million people with the population growth rate around 2.8%. Just about 20% of the total Malawian population live in urban areas.The Majority live as subsistence farmers in rural areas where they grow crops and rear animals just to feed themselves and their families.
Majority of the rural population are also into tobacco farming. Tobacco forms about 53% of major export commodities in Malawi today.Coffee, peanuts, cotton, wood products, etc. are some of the other major export commodities in Malawi today. The urban 20% live in major cities and towns such as Lilongwe the capital of Malawi (Lilongwe contains about 850,000 people) and Blantyre another major city with a population of about 900,000 people.
The Republic of Malawi is one of the most culturally diverse communities in Africa today with several ethnic and racial groups living together peacefully. Chewa (about 32.6% of the total Malawian population), Lomwe (about 17.6% of the total population), Yao (about 13.5%), Ngoni (about 11.5%), Tumbuka (about 8.8%), Nyanja (about 5.8%), Sena (about 3.6%), Tonga (about 2.1%), Ngonde (about 1% of the total population), etc. are some of the major ethnic groups living in Malawi today.
Although just a small percentage of Malawians do speak and understand English Language, about 58% of the total population of Malawi do speak and understand Chichewa a local language (Chichewa is also an official language in Malawi today) helping a lot in communication. Although not yet official languages, Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chisena, Chilomwe, Chitonga, etc. are some of the other major ethnic languages spoken in Malawi today.
Malawi is one of the most Christian-dominant communities in Africa today with about 82.7% of the total population being Christians. Muslims form just about 13% of the total population.
Besides the abundance of fish and fresh water, Malawi is also blessed with the abundance of natural resources such as unexploited deposits of uranium, limestone, bauxite, coal, hydropower and arable land.
However, despite the abundance of natural resources in Malawi, the Republic of Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in Africa today with about 50% of the total population living below poverty line.
Malawi has a literacy rate of 62.7% for the total population and a female literacy rate of just 49.8%. In other words, about 62.7% of the total population of Malawi above age 15 can at least read and write which is far better than in countries like Burkina Faso, Niger and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, just about 49.8% of the total female population of Malawi above age 15 can read and write which falls below expectation compared to most other African countries today.
The Republic of Malawi remains one of the top HIV/AIDS killing zones in the world today (Malawi is in the top 15) with a high HIV/AIDS adults prevalence rate of about 11%. About 920,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Malawi in 2009 with about 51,000 deaths recorded within the same year. Not just HIV/AIDS. The deadly Malaria, plague, bacteria and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, etc. also continue to threaten several lives in Malawi today.
Deforestation (rampant cutting down of trees for timber), land degradation (the gradual deterioration of agricultural lands due to overpopulation and other factors), water pollution from agricultural runoffs, improper sewage and industrial waste disposals, etc. remain some of the major environmental issues facing Malawi today.
Just like in most other African countries today, corruption and poor governance continue to tear the beautiful Malawi into pieces.