Malawi Industry

Malawi’s southern part with the largest city of Blantyre is the country’s commercial and industrial center. The industry mainly produces goods for domestic consumption, but especially the dominant food industry generates some export income.

The factories also include building materials, clothing and shoes. In 2010, the industry accounted for just over one fifth of gross domestic product (GDP).

Virtually all companies are now privately owned and a few owners dominate the industrial sector. Press Corporation, once founded by dictator Hastings Kumuzu Banda (1964-1994), is by far the largest company. It is a holding company that manages a large number of companies, including the manufacturing industry, the brewery industry, agriculture and the financial market.

The opportunities for Malawi’s industry to develop are considered small. The home market is small and weak, the infrastructure is poor and the electricity shortage is great. The labor force is poorly educated and HIV / AIDS and malnutrition weaken the workforce.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Malawi. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.

Foreign trade

For a long time, Malawi has a large trade deficit with foreign countries. Almost all exports are agricultural products. Tobacco accounts for about half of export revenues, but the share is declining.

Tobacco, tea and sugar together account for about two-thirds of exports. Peanuts, rice and spices are also exported. Good harvest years are also sold corn.

Through food exports, foreign trade is highly dependent on weather conditions and price fluctuations in the world’s commodity markets. Other export products are cotton, clothing, rubber, wood products and some uranium. Exports are mainly to Germany, Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Malawi mainly imports oil, diesel, fertilizers (mainly for tobacco cultivation), machinery and vehicles, but also capital goods, pharmaceuticals, steel, paper and more. In the case of misgrowth, large quantities of food are also imported, mainly maize. The main importing countries are South Africa, China, India and France.


Merchandise exports

US $ 1,106 million (2017)


US $ 2,144 million (2017)

Current account

– US $ 1,021 million (2017)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

54 percent (2018)

Main export goods

tobacco, tea, sugar, rice, cotton

Largest trading partner

South Africa, China, India, France, Germany, Egypt, Zimbabwe


Malawi attracts nature lovers with several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, beautiful mountain walks and the large Malawi lake which is well suited for water sports and sunbathing.

However, tourism has been hampered by transport problems within the country. Malawi has received international assistance to expand the infrastructure and the number of tourists is increasing. Most people who visit Malawi come from neighboring countries. Only a minor part are tourists.


Number of foreign visitors per year

849,000 (2016)

tourist revenue

US $ 43,000,000 (2016)

The share of tourist income from exports

2.5 percent (2015)




Continued controversy about the party change

The Supreme Court ruled that the President of Parliament must declare a seat vacant when a member changed party during the term of office. By delaying the budget process, the opposition is trying to persuade the President to take that action against DPP members. President Mutharika, on his part, ensures that Parliament is not assembled for a six-month session, so that the President will not have the opportunity to intervene against DPP members who have previously changed parties.

Malawi Industry

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