Interesting Facts

  • The most common surnames in Malawi are Banda, Chirwa, Piri and Manda – an estimated 30% of the population have these surnames.
  • David Livingston called Lake Malawi, the Lake of Stars because of the lanterns on the fishermen’s boats at night time.
  • Malawi is known as the Heart of Africa.
  • The country’s president, Joyce Banda, is Malawi’s first female president.

Key Market Alerts

  • Goods that aren’t locally produced tend to be quite expensive.
  • Rentals in Malawi tend to be paid quarterly or bi-annually in advance.
  • Malaria is prevalent throughout Malawi.

An Overview of Malawi

Malawi is showing promising economic growth levels, albeit coming off a very low base. This has largely been driven by the country’s agriculture sector, the ICT sector and the growing financial services sector.

The landlocked country comprises of three provinces. Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, is in the Central Region, while the country’s other major city, Blantyre, is located in the Southern Region. Lilongwe is a fairly small city with a population of only 772,000 people.

Living in Lilongwe

The cost of living in Malawi is fairly low. Lilongwe is, for example, ranked the world’s 489th most expensive city (out of a total of 780 cities). The expatriate community in Malawi is fairly large with the bulk of the community either working for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or multilateral organisations.

There has been increased investment into Malawi’s infrastructure in recent years. As a result Malawi’s principal highways are generally in good condition. Visitors to the country, and its major cities, are however advised to drive defensively.

Housing in Lilongwe

Expatriates living in Lilongwe tend to live in areas north-east of the city centre (Area 10, Area 11, Area 12 and Area 43); west of the city centre (Area 9); and south of the city centre (Area 3). In terms of availability, free-standing homes are easier to come by than apartments. Apartments are most common in Area 11 of the city.

Schooling in Lilongwe

There are currently a few international schoolings for expatriate children in Lilongwe.

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