City of Lilongwe

Malawi : History

Malawi is a south-east African country bordered by Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Mozambique. It is narrow and landlocked but has a 750-kilometre-long border with Lake Malawi (also called Lake Nyasa). It has highlands, central plateaus and isolated mountains. The East African Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south. 

Key facts

  • Region: Africa 
  • Population: 18 million (2018) 
  • Area: 118,500 square kilometres 
  • Capital: Lilongwe 
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1964, following independence from Britain 
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 44 out of 49 countries 

Secretariat support for Malawi 

Human rights 

The Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva helped Malawi engage with UN organisations, including the Human Rights Council. 

The Secretariat helped the Malawi Human Rights Commission mobilise traditional leaders and young people. 

Legal education 

The Secretariat worked with Malawi to establish the Malawi Institute for Legal Education to provide vocational training for Malawian lawyers. 


The Secretariat is helping the Malawi government fight corruption. One strategy is to publicise bids and contracts when it buys goods and services.  


The Secretariat helped the University of Malawi and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources develop and deliver youth work skills and qualifications. 


In 2018, the Secretariat helped Malawi develop, negotiate and implement trade policies and agreements. In March 2018, the Commonwealth worked with Malawi to review and design a National Export Strategy. 

Connectivity Agenda

Malawi is a member of the Physical, Digital, Regulatory and Supply Side Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

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