Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Malawi economy

         Malawi's is an agricultural economy which, in recent years, has been troubled by drought and financial instability. It is dependent for most of its income on the export sales of tobacco (60%), and tea and sugar (20%). Other agricultural products include peanuts, coffee, and wood products. As a result of the 1992 drought, GDP declined by 7.9% after averaging 4.5% annual growth in 1989–91, and an impressive 6.7% annual growth rate during the 1970s. Growth averaged an annual 3.7% from 1988 to 1998. It was 1.7% in 2001. International aid donors, concerned about human rights abuses in Malawi, have tied future support to human rights reforms. Beginning in 2000, the country was the recipient of $1 billion in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
Manufacturing is small-scale, directed mainly to the processing of export crops. In 2000, the agricultural sector employed an estimated 86% of Malawi's population and accounted for about 40% of GDP. Over 90% of the population lives in rural areas. The sector experienced severe droughts in 1979–81, 1992, 1994, and 2001–02. Periods of flooding also plague Malawi, as happened in 2003. Production of maize, the main food staple, during the 2001/02 growing season was 1.6 million metric tons, approximately 600,000 short of estimated domestic demand. The World Bank approved a $50-million assistance package for drought recovery in Malawi in November 2002. Other environmental challenges include deforestation and erosion. Recent economic reforms have led to the market pricing in the agricultural sector. The fledgling mining sector in Malawi is slowly growing with the support of international financing.
The government continues to privatize the ownership of public enterprises although the wealth of the country resides in the hands of a small elite. By 2000, over one-third of the more than 90 state-owned enterprises had been sold to private hands.

Read more: Malawi economy

Friday, February 5, 2010

Malawi: Mutharika warns Malawians not to expect 'chunks of money' from AU

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika Thursday warned "over-expectant Malawians" that there would not be a "chunk of money flowing into the country because we have assumed the chairmanship of the African Union," PANA reported from here.

Since his election to head the AU for the next year at the weekend, most Malawians - especially Mutharika's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) zealots - have been saying "Malawi stands to benefit" from Mutharika's ascendancy to the pinnacle of African politics.

However, economists have warned that in fact, Malawi should expect to foot some cost surrounding the chairmanship.

Said Mutharika in remarks broadcast on state radio: "As chairman of the AU, I will be traveling to different countries to meet different heads of state and organisations. We will get some prestige."

Mutharika was speaking on his return from the AU summit in Ethiopia, where he was elected chairman of the largely peace-making continental body, taking over from Libyan strongman Mouammar Kadhafi.

"After transacting the business of African Union, I will take an opportunity to address challenges that our different sectors of the economy are experiencing and that would be our major benefit.

'However, after the end of our tenure of office, we will evaluate the benefits," he said at an airport news conference.

Finance Minister Ken Kandodo wants Parliament, currently sitting in the capital, Lilongwe, to approve 500 million Malawi kwacha (about US$ 3 million) to run activities that the president would undertake as AU chair.

The funds will also enable the country, which depends on donor funds for its development programmes, to host AU meetings, including one by African finance and planning ministers set for March in the administrative capital Lilongwe, according to the Finance Minister.


APA-Lilongwe (Malawi) Malawi’s Central and Eastern African Railways (CEAR) Director of Marketing and Commercial Services, Wilfred Ali, on Friday said that the construction of the Mchinji railroad from central western Malawi into Chipata in eastern Zambia will be completed before the end of February this year.

He said on arrival from Zambia where he attended a meeting on the Nacala Development Corridor that 95 percent of construction works on both the railway line and the station terminal building have been completed.

"Shipping of goods going from and to these two countries will start as soon as this rail construction has been completed," he said.

He therefore bemoaned vandalism on the railway line as the greatest challenge in the development of the Nacala Corridor, which includes the Mchinji-Chipata railway, and connects to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala in Mozambique.

The rail project was a major economic target for both Zambia and Malawi because it would reduce the costs of transportation, he added.

Election of Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, as Chairperson of the AU

The U.S. congratulates Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, on his election by the African Union General Assembly to serve as Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and looks forward to continuing our partnership with the AU to promote peace, prosperity, and security for all Africans. We share Chairperson Mutharika’s goals of ending child hunger and malnutrition and welcome his interest in promoting the critical goal of agricultural development and food security on the continent. The U.S. stands ready to partner with the AU on promoting democracy and good governance and to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections on the continent in the coming year. We also welcome Chairperson Mutharika’s pledge to isolate those in Africa who seek power through unconstitutional means.

The UNITED STATES will continue to work with the African Union to confront ongoing stability challenges in Guinea, Niger, and Madagascar and to further peace and reconciliation in Somalia, Darfur, Zimbabwe and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. We also hope to work closely with our African partners to confront the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence on the continent and ensure the full participation of Africa’s women in its socio-economic development.

We commend the AU for its efforts to work on these issues and pledge our continued assistance on these and other matters.

Malawi-South Africa-World Cup 2010

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi) Malawian poet Stanley Kenani’s poem will be among the selected few poems to be displayed on billboards in
South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup starting in June.

The poem, titled "Umuntu Ngumuntu Ngabantu" in the Zulu language, roughly translates that "We Belong To Each Other" as human beings

The 25-word poem explains that the world is a large football pitch where nobody is alone and that life is a game for all, poor or rich to win, and we have to play it as one people.

According to Megan van den Heever, a media intern at Art for Humanity (formerly Artists for Human Rights) organisers, the aim of the project was to challenge xenophobic attitudes by bringing together artistic and poetic voices from around the world into a print portfolio.

"The art and poetry portfolio will be widely exhibited throughout South Africa and internationally," Van den Heever said.

He added that the art and poetry would also be featured in a public advocacy campaign on posters, billboards and banners in public places during the World Cup and beyond.