- The Republic of Malawi (formerly Nyasaland)
- 15.3 million (UN, 2009)
- 118,484 sq km (45,747 sq miles)
- Chichewa (both official)
- 52 years (men),
- 54 years (women) (UN)
1 Malawi kwacha (MK) = 100 tambala
GNI per capita
- US $290 (World Bank, 2008)
- .mw (notoriously expensive, many opt for .com and .org domains)
International dialling code
- Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda (1964 - 1994)
- Mr Bakili E Muluzi (1994 - 2004)
- Dr Bingu Wa Mutharika (2004 - 2012)
- Ms Joyce Banda (2012 - 2014)
- Professor Arthu Peter Mutharika (2014 - current)
For three decades Malawi was under the dictatorship rule of its founder president-for-life, Kamuzu Banda. In the mid-1990s, largely due to old-age and international community pressures, he buckled to hold elections, and lost - finally giving Malawians a taste for multi-party democracy.
His successor, Bakili Muluzi, removed many of the repressions of the Banda years. He ruled Malawi for 10 years and retired in 2004.
Mr Mutharika originally came to power in May 2004. He had been hand-picked by the outgoing President Muluzi after parliament refused to accept an amendment to the constitution allowing Mr Muluzi to stand for a third term.
Malawi holds elections every 5 years. According to the current constitution, the President can hold a maximum of 2 consecutive terms (10 years maximum). Mr Wa Mutharika\'s retirement is due when Malawi holds the next elections in 2014.
More than half the population lives below the poverty line. Moves are under way to exploit uranium reserves to boost meagre export earnings
Until January 2008, Malawi was one of only six African countries to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan rather than China.
- Most Malawians rely on subsistence farming, but the food supply situation is precarious and the country is prone to natural disasters of both extremes - from drought to heavy rainfalls - putting it in constant need of thousands of tonnes of food aid every year.
- Malawi has been urged by world financial bodies to free up its economy. Since the mid-1990s it has privatised many loss-making state-run corporations. Its single major natural resource, agricultural land, is under severe pressure from rapid population growth.
- Malawi boasts a variety of landscapes, from wetlands and lakes to mountains and forests. National parks and game reserves beckon visitors.
- Radio is the chief source of information for many Malawians. State-run MBC is the main national broadcaster.
- Television was introduced in 1999.
- Privately-owned publications present a range of opinions, although the government has used libel and other laws to put pressure on newspaper journalists.
- BBC World Service is available on FM in Blantyre (98.7), Lilongwe (98.0) and Mzuzu (87.9).
- By early 2008, around 1% of Malawians were using the internet (ITU).
- The Nation - daily
- The Daily Times - private
- Malawi News - private weekly
- Boma Lathu - monthly, Chichewa-language
- Television Malawi (TVM) - state-run
- Malawi Broadcasting Corporation - state-run, operates national networks Radio One and Radio Two
- Capital Radio - privately-owned[
- MIJ FM - Blantyre-based, operated by Malawi Institute of Journalism
- FM 101 - privately-owned[
- Zodiac Broadcasting Station (ZBS) - privately-owned;
- Radio Maria - Catholic station;
- Radio Islam
- Malawi News Agency (Mana) - state-run;