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Economy of Malawi

The economy of Malawi is predominantly agricultural, with about 90% of the population living in rural areas. The landlocked country in south central Africa ranks among the world's least developed countries. Agriculture accounts for 29% of GDP and 85% of export revenues. The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. The government faces strong challenges: to spur exports, to improve educational and health facilities, to face up to environmental problems of deforestation and erosion, and to deal with the rapidly growing problem of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Sectors

Agriculture

Agriculture represents 37% of GDP, accounts for over 80% of the labour force, and represents about 80% of all exports. Its most important export crop is tobacco, which accounts for about 70% of export revenues. In 2000 the country was the tenth largest producer in the world (See table). The country also relies heavily on tea, sugarcane and coffee, with these three plus tobacco making up more than 90% of Malawi's export revenue. Other crops include cotton, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats. Tobacco and sugar processing are notable secondary industries.

Industry

Food and beverages

Most fruits and vegetables are exported raw, while processed food is imported mainly form South Africa Universal Industries operates several food factories in Blantyre, where it produces sweets, crisps, biscuits, milk powder, soy products and baby food. Coffee and tea are processed by half a dozen of different companies in the regions of Thyolo, Mulanje and around Mzuzu.

Pharmaceutical companies

Malawi has four pharmaceutical companies that are actively engaged in the manufacture. They manufacture a limited range of drugs, particularly those that are in great demand on the local market.

Forestry

Timber production for building materials and furniture is an important industry for these regions. However, most areas in Malawi suffer from deforestation due to illegal logging for charcoal production and the use of firewood.

Electricity

Malawi's sole power supplier is the state owned Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM). Escom generates almost all its power from hydroelectric plants along the Shire River. The installed is approximately 350MW, about 10% of the country's population is connected to the national grid.

Services

The service sector accounts for 51,7% of Malawi's national GDP. Notable industries are tourism, retail, transport, education, health services, telecommunication and the banking sector. The Government of Malawi holds shares in many important companies, such as Malawian Airlines(51%) or Press Corporation Limited. Press Corporation Ltd. is the country's biggest company with subsidiaries in the tobacco, banking, sugar, fishing, ethanol production, steel production, retail, telecommunication and petrol sectors.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economy Of Malawi"

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