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The Republic of Malawi (formerly Nyasaland) is a democratic, densely populated country located in southeastern Africa. It borders Zambia to the north-west, Tanzania to the north, and Mozambique surrounding it on the east, south, and west. The origin of the name Malawi remains unclear; it is held to be either derived from that of southern tribes, or noting the "glitter of the sun rising across the lake"
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The flag of Malawi was adopted on July 6, 1964.

The rising sun represents the dawn of hope and freedom for the continent of Africa (when the flag was created, countries in Africa were just beginning to be granted independence). The black represents the people of the continent, the red symbolizes the martyrs of African freedom, and the green represents nature.

The flag resembles the pan-African flag designed by Marcus Garvey's UNIA, with the red and black bands reversed and a red sun in the top. It also resembles the flag of the now-defunct Republic of Biafra.

The colours of the flag are defined using British Standard colours:

The Coat of arms of Malawi is based on the earlier heraldic arms of Nyasaland. It is supported by a lion and a leopard, above a scroll reading "Unity and Freedom".


Malawi is situated in southeastern Africa. The Great Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south. In this deep trough lies Lake Malawi (also called Lake Nyasa), the third-largest lake in Africa, and the 10th largest in the world, making about 20% of Malawi's area. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 km (250 mi) farther south in Mozambique. East and west of the Rift Valley are high plateaus, generally between 900 and 1,200 m (3,000–4,000 ft) above sea level

Life expectancy in Malawi is now as low as 36.5 years, five years lower than it was 50 years ago.[citation needed] This drop is due to the population's impoverishment, which is constituted by many factors, including:

  • insufficient nutrition
  • poor access to medical treatment
  • low income (the mean per capita income in Malawi is less than $1 per day)
  • extreme lack of foresight by Government
  • Mis-use of international donations
  • insufficient school education
  • spread of HIV/AIDS
  • government economic restrictions
  • corruption
  • climate change


Malawi Child mortality is 103/1,000. There are more than a million orphans, 700,000 of whom became orphans when their parents died of AIDS.

The Malawi government estimates that 14.2% of the population are HIV-positive, and that 90,000 deaths in 2003 were due to AIDS. Unofficial estimates based on private hospital entries give a HIV infection percentage of 30%. Their life expectancy is 41.75 for men and 41.2 for women.[citation needed]


Malawi's staple food is maize but like other countries in Southern Africa, Malawi has repeatedly been affected by famines since 2002, when food was scarce for almost one third of the population. In 2003, 30 percent of the population were affected.

These repeated famines are caused by different factors including:

  • widespread monocultures
  • poor distribution of fertilizers
  • droughts
  • government corruption
  • widespread AIDS epidemic
  • bilharzia
  • malaria

Some relief organisations, such as the Community of Sant'Egidio, Catholic Relief Services and other local and international organisations try to respond to the famine by distributing food parcels. The government also had a starter pack farm input programme for maize seed and fertilizer. The scheme was however subject to gross abuses and sometimes the poorest people did not receive any of the items that were purportedly earmarked for them. This programme was discontinued by the Bingu Wa Muntharika administration, which instead subsidised fertilizer for the local subsistence farmers. The government of Taiwan has also donated millions of bags of rice each year and has a permanent agricultural and medical technical aid mission in Malawi.

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