118 484 km2



13 Million



Generally, Malawi experiences a tropical continental type of climate that is characterized by two distinct seasons: (i) a single rainy season lasting from November to April, and (ii) a dry season extending from May to October.  It is cool and dry from May to August, warm and  dry  from  September  to  November,  and  warm  and  wet  from  November  to  April. The mean annual rainfall in Malawi ranges between 500 mm in low-lying marginal rainfall areas, such as the Shire valley and some areas along the Lakeshore Plain, to well over 3,000 mm on high altitude  plateaus, such as Nyika plateau. The mean annual minimum and maximum temperatures range from 12 to 32oC. The highest temperatures occur at the end of October or early November, and the lowest in June or July. The highest mean air temperatures are recorded in the Lower Shire valley (25-26oC) and some areas along the Lakeshore Plain (23-25oC). The lowest mean temperatures (13-15oC) are recorded over the Nyika, Viphya, Dedza, Mulanje and Zomba plateaus, Misuku hills and the Kirk range.

Natural Resources:

Estimated contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP is at 54.8%, whereas industry and commerce at 19.2%, and services at 26 %.


The economy is dominated by a few agricultural crops (tobacco, tea, sugar, maize, beans, cotton and coffee), and a few natural resources (fisheries, forests and wildlife), which account for 35-40% of the GDP and 90% of the export earnings (with 65-70% contributed by the tobacco industry), employs more than 80% of the total labour force, and contributes 60-70% of the inputs to the manufacturing industry. Tea ranks next to tobacco as a major export crop followed closely by sugar.

Climate Vulnerabilities:

In Malawi the most common and pertinent extreme events for which records are available include: (i) intense rainfall, (ii) floods, (iii) strong winds, (iv) droughts, (v) cyclones, (vi) landslides, and (vii) hailstorms. The most devastating climate-related disasters that negatively impact on the various sectors of economic growth are floods and droughts. Droughts have resulted in severe food shortages, hunger and malnutrition among the majority of rural communities, the urban-poor, female-headed households, the elderly, the orphans and other vulnerable groups.



Kirk range: Is a plateau in southwestern Malawi, extending in a north-south direction and skirting the southwestern shore of Lake Nyasa and the western border of the Shire River valley.

Nyika plateau: the Nyika Plateau lies in northern Malawi, with a small portion in north eastern Zambia. Most of it lies at elevations of 2100 to 2200 m, the highest point being 2605m at Nganda Peak. It is roughly a diamond in shape, with a long north-south axis of about 90 km, and an east-west axis of about 50 km. It towers above Lake Malawi and the towns of Livingstonia and Chilumba. Its well-defined north-west escarpment rises about 700 m above the north-eastern extremity of the Luangwa Valley and its similarly prominent south-east escarpment rises about 1000 m above the South Rukuru River valley. It is known for its wildlife, including Burchell's zebra, many birds and endemic butterflies, chameleons, frogs and toads.

Zomba plateaus: a mountain of the Shire Highlands in southern Malawi. It is largely made up of syenite, and at its peak is 2,087 metres high. It is notable as it is unique to the region. It occupies total area of about 130 square km.