Financial Data
Updated 16 Jan 2021


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Malawi is fast-becoming a preferred destination for SMMEs that are looking to improve access to African markets. Despite its landlocked positioning, if your business is looking for a cost-effective port of call that feeds into Africa, Malawi is the destination for you. 


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Social overview


One of Malawi’s key business attractions remains the country’s low-cost labour market. Urbanisation is well underway in major cities, with the driver and job creation moving from agriculture to non-agricultural sectors.

Here are additional essentials to know about Malawi:

  • Only a small percentage of Malawians speak and understand English.
  • Poverty is still widespread. More than 50% of the population live below the poverty line.
  • Social challenges include the need to improve educational facilities and deal with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS.
  • The government established free primary school education for all children in 1994. This increased attendance rates. Secondary school is not free, though. More males than females are educated.


Malawi’s people
  • 16 829 144 people
  • One of the most culturally diverse communities in Africa with several ethnic and racial groups living together peacefully.
  • Languages: Chichewa, English, Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chinyanja and Chilomwe
  • Most of the population live as subsistence farmers in rural areas where they grow crops and rear animals.
Environmental overview

While it is relatively small in comparison to its neighbouring countries, Malawi faces certain environmental challenges such as deforestation, loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation.

Further environmental factors include:

  • The country is prone to natural disasters such as flooding and droughts. Recent floods limited tobacco production, so less foreign exchange revenue was earned from exports.
  • Malawi’s rate of deforestation is high, as wood is used for energy. Environmental degradation is linked to poverty, high population growth, limited alternative sources of livelihood and not enough other affordable and reliable energy sources. Other forms of environmental degradation include the loss of soil fertility, soil erosion, water depletion and loss of biodiversity.

The government has developed policies, strategies and programmes to better manage its natural resources. If Malawi is to achieve sustainable development, it will have to start using its natural resources in a more sustainable manner.


The environment
  • The country is prone to natural disasters such as flooding and droughts
  • Malawi’s rate of deforestation is high. Other forms of environmental degradation include the loss of soil fertility, soil erosion, water depletion and loss of biodiversity
Technology overview

Malawi’s access to technology is improving, with mobile operators looking to expand network coverage and access to connectivity.

Mobile penetration remains low when compared to other African countries, interestingly, however, businesses in the agriculture sector are embracing technology as a means of lowering costs, while there is continued investment in the country’s infrastructure.

Here are the chief technological points for you to consider:

  • Mobile penetration rate is low – 30.5% in 2014. The market has a high potential for further development. There are limited fixed line subscriptions. Mobile cellular services are expanding, but network coverage is limited and concentrated mainly in urban areas.
  • There are plans to roll out new television stations and to increase internet services throughout the country. Mobile phone operators are investing in infrastructure to improve their network coverage.


Tech outlook
  • Malawi’s mobile penetration rate is low, at 30.5%, however mobile operators are looking to improve this.
  • Access to fixed-line connections are a challenge; however improving mobile technology is improving communication between businesses.
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