Why is Malawi Poor? Is Malawi the poorest country in Africa?

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Why is Malawi poor? This is one common questions people ask about Malawi. In this blog post I am going to highlight eight reasons why Malawi is still poor after fifty-three years of independence.

To begin with, Malawi is among the 10 poorest countries in the world consistently. As such people tend to wonder what are the cusses of poverty in Malawi. Decided to write this post because as I was searching information for another article I found that some people are asking these questions 

Why is Malawi so poor?

Why is Malawi the poorest country?

Is Malawi the poorest country in Africa (world)?

Why is Malawi a developing country

As such this post attempts to answer the above questions. 

As of 2017 Malawi is ranked as the poorest in the world.  

Geographical Location

One reason on why is Malawi so poor is because of its geographical location. Malawi is a small landlocked country. This gives the people in the country less trade opportunities with other countries. The country is isolated and is far from major regional trading sea ports.

Also the country has fewer natural resources like minerals. Malawi has few natural energy resources. The country relies on hydro-electricity to power the industries and homes. And due droughts water levels goes down. As such the amount of power the country generates is insufficient to meet domestic and industrial demand.

Lack of access to quality Education

The other reason why Malawi is poor is due to lack of educational opportunities. Many children from poor families do not start school. Additionally, quality of education offered in the country is poor.

Due to this, many graduates from Malawi Universities are jobless. Lower quality of education in the country does not equip students to be economically productive citizens.

You may also like  Top Universities in Malawi

Lack of economic diversification 

Over-dependence on agriculture is another burden that causes poverty in Malawi. Agriculture alone contributes 80{5808e1736132a1fa864f6fc8b64688fbc0d5d9b8c9ab44aea1223eff99f9c2e7} to the national GDP. Most of the agriculture industry in the country is by subsistence farmers. Commercial farming is done on a small level.

Furthermore, Malawi depend production of tobacco as the major commercial crop.

Therefore, the decreasing demand for the gold leaf negatively affects the country’s economy. In recent years, the country is seen facing droughts, floods, and bad weather which reduce crop yield.

Dependence on Imports  

Furthermore, lack of export commodities is another answer to the question ‘why Malawi is poor?’ Malawi is mostly an importing country. Most basic commodities in the countries are from other countries such as China and South Africa. Malawi economy would grow by investing in production industries.


The fourth cause of poverty in Malawi is overpopulation. The country is densely populated. Many people in the country shun from family control methods. An average health woman bears six children.

Some cultures in the country believe having ‘children is having wealth’. Such traditional belief systems encourage families to have more children. In the end there are limited basic resources such as food, clothing, and shelter to support the family.

Many poor people depend on relatives or charity organizations to cloth and educate their children.

Bad governance and Lack of accountability 

Why is Malawi so poor? You still ask?

Malawi is so poor partly because of lack of good governance and accountability. Corruption in Malawi is very high in the public sector.

In recent years, there has been massive plundering of public money by people in senior government positions.  Cashgate has paralyzed the countries already weak economy.

HIV/AIDs Pandemic and Malaria 

HIV/AIDs pandemic and malaria contributes to the country’s poverty. 27.1{5808e1736132a1fa864f6fc8b64688fbc0d5d9b8c9ab44aea1223eff99f9c2e7} deaths in the country results from HIV/AIDs. Malaria claims 6.3{5808e1736132a1fa864f6fc8b64688fbc0d5d9b8c9ab44aea1223eff99f9c2e7} of total deaths according in Malawi WFP report. Malaria is the deadliest killer of children in the country. Due to pandemics the economic productivity of the country decreases. As government spend large sums of money purchasing medical supplies for sick people.  

Unequal distribution of Land  

Finally, Malawi poverty is due to an equal distribution of land. Few people mostly the rich own large land. On the other hand, most poor people have small pieces of land. Since, most people depend on agriculture having limited land resources negatively affect their economic productivity. Under some traditions women do not own land.  As such women are relatively marginalized economically.

Read also 15 Richest People in Malawi

Summary on Why is Malawi poor?  

This blog has given you 8 answers to the questions why is Malawi is so poor. And why Malawi is still poor? Lack of access to quality education, bad governance, and HIV pandemic are some reasons why Malawi is poor.

Malawi is also poor because of high dependence of agriculture, imports, and shortage of natural resources. Intermittent power supply negatively affects Malawi economy. Economic diversification, good governance, and provision of quality education would help to eradicate poverty in the country.  


  1. Bahate Mwakasole Nyondo
  2. Mbugwile Nkolokosa
  3. Noel Dymon
  4. Chikumbutso Vikoma
  5. Limbani Chirwa

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