Foreign policy and defense
Malawi is a nation in Eastern Africa. Its capital city is Lilongwe. Malawi has friendly relations with most neighboring countries and has generally had a good relationship with the western world as well. However, since the great corruption scandal was discovered in 2013, relations with the country’s aid donors in the west have been strained and the government has opened up for increased exchange eastwards.
After his resignation, President Peter Mutharika said that Malawi intends to develop relations with countries such as Russia and China.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Malawi for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Malawi had long belonged to the handful of African countries that had diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but in 2008 the government severed contacts and instead established relations with China which began investing in the country and buying more and more of Malawi’s exports.
The cooperation in southern Africa takes place within the framework of the regional organization South Africa’s Development Community (SADC).
During the civil war in Mozambique (c. 1980–1993), relations with the neighboring country were very strained, as Malawi gave free rein to the Renamogerillan who fought the Mozambican regime. Many Mozambicans fled into Malawi. Nowadays, however, the relationships are good.
Like South Africa, Malawi has tried to deal with the political crisis in Zimbabwe with so-called silent diplomacy (that is, not openly criticizing the authorities but instead acting in the hidden). Malawi has also assisted Zimbabwe with corn deliveries when the harvests were good.
With Tanzania there is a dispute about Lake Malawi (which Tanzania calls Lake Nyasas). The background is unclear agreements since the colonial era about where to draw the border in the lake. The conflict has escalated in recent years when hopes have been raised of large gas and oil deposits in the area.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 10 700 men (2017)
The fleet: 220 man (2015)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 0.8 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 2.7 percent (2017)
The public should be asked about LGBTQ attitude
The government will conduct surveys among the public to assess whether there is support for reforming the colonial laws that prohibit gay relationships. The ban was provisionally lifted in 2014 pending new laws. Malawi is heavily dependent on foreign aid and the critical attitude towards gay rights has strained relations with donor countries. Government finds itself in need of a partnership with LGBT -samfundet to facilitate efforts to combat the spread of HIV. About nine percent of the adult population carries the HIV virus.
Former Minister of Justice Raphael Kasambara is sentenced to 13 years in prison for involvement in the assassination attempt of former Ministry of Finance chief budget officer Paul Mphwiyo (see September 2013).
Traditional healing is prohibited
A court bans all forms of traditional medical arts on the grounds of a long line of murders of albinos, people who lack pigment. So-called witch doctors sometimes use body parts of murdered albinos for disease treatment or for divination. The country’s newspapers are prohibited from posting ads for witch doctors. According to the UN, Malawi’s around 10,000 albinos risk “systematic extinction” unless hunting for their body parts is stopped.
Suspected of albino murder arrested
Ten men are arrested for murdering a young woman suffering from albinism, pigment deficiency. Over the past two years, dozens of similar murders or attempted murders have taken place in Malawi. There, as in many other African countries, there is a belief that the body parts of people without pigments have underlying properties.
Disaster status is announced
President Mutharika explains the state of disaster because of the food shortages caused by severe drought across southern Africa. Among other things, maize harvest is estimated to be 12 percent lower than last year. According to WFP, the situation is serious in 23 of the country’s 28 districts.
Refugee stream from Mozambique
According to the UN, nearly 10,000 Mozambicans have come to Malawi during the first months of the year to escape fighting in the homeland between government forces and the former guerrilla Renamo.