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Area: 118,484 sq km
Population: 15.3 million
Languages: English, Chichewa
Religions: Christian, Muslim
GNI per capita: US$290
Currency: 1 Malawai kwacha (MK) = 100 tambala
Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994.
Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa. Twenty percent of its area is covered by Lake Malawi, the continent’s third largest lake. It is a very poor nation, but one of great scenic beauty.
Most of the land consists of plateaus of different altitudes, resulting in a variety of climates. In the higher elevations, Malawi is pleasantly cooler than many other African countries, but the climate of the lowlands is hot, humid, and tropical.
Life is difficult for many Malawian families. More than half the population lives below the poverty line. Many people lack access to safe water. More than a quarter of all Malawians are illiterate.
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 tones of food aid every year.