Malawi is a land-locked nation in southeast Africa. It borders Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. The population of Malawi is approximately 17 million with 65% of the population being under the age of 24 and only 6% over the age of 55. The median age is 17.3 years and the average life expectancy is about 41.
Malawi ranks among the world’s most densely populated and least developed countries. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture, which has benefited from fertilizer subsidies since 2006, accounts for one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the (International Monetary Fund) IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations.
In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. The government faces many challenges including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, confronting environmental problems, dealing with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors whose fiscal discipline is tightening around them.
The government has announced infrastructure projects that could yield improvements, such as a new oil pipeline for better fuel access, and the potential for a waterway link through Mozambican rivers to the ocean for better transportation options.
The GDP of Malawi in 2012 was $4.2 billion with a per capita GDP of $900 which ranked it 220th out of 229 countries in that year. Only 24.5% of Malawi government budget comes from tax revenue, the remainder comes from foreign aid or international borrowing. Malawi’s 2012 inflation rate was 21.4% and its commercial bank prime lending rate was 32.4%.