Research and consulting in Malawi
IOA’s experience over many years, conducting research and providing consulting services on Malawi, allows us to offer insights on the influences that have shaped the country and the trends that are moulding its future. Our economists have noted a need to diversify away from dependency on agriculture to boost the standard of living of the 85% of the labour force involved in agriculture, primarily subsistence farmers. National development is hindered by the political fragility of government, currently a coalition of nine different political parties. There is a critical need to restructure the national debt, without which prospects for immediate economic growth are uncertain. However, after foreign aid was suspended due to government corruption, aid has resumed as the corruption problem was addressed.
Tobacco accounts for half of Malawi’s export revenues. Agricultural exports (particularly coffee, soybeans and tea) show promise and can find buyers via existing trade partnerships. The services sector is growing significantly, although growth commenced at a low starting point.
Key opportunities in Malawi:
- Growth of the existing agriculture-based economy can be advanced through coffee, sorghum and tea cultivation and export
- For years, tobacco has proved a reliable export
- A services sector is showing robust growth, particularly as tourism develops along Lake Malawi
Key concerns/risks in Malawi:
- IOA researchers have identified Malawi’s landlocked position, chronic poverty and its lack of natural resources as constraints on economic growth
- Climate change has already disrupted rainfall, brought drought and otherwise imperilled an agriculture-based economy
- A lax business environment can frustrate investors, who are also discouraged by poor infrastructure