More information about Malawi is available on the Malawi Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States established diplomatic relations with Malawi in 1964, following its full independence from the United Kingdom. Malawi was a one-party state from 1966 to 1994. The transition to multi-party democracy in 1994 strengthened bilateral relations between the United States and Malawi. The United States partners with Malawi to advance accountable, democratic governance, foster private sector-driven economic growth, and advance health, education, agriculture, energy, and environmental stewardship in Malawi.
U.S. and Malawian views on the necessity of economic and political stability in southern Africa generally coincide. Malawi advocates peaceful solutions to the region’s problems through negotiation and works to achieve these objectives in a variety of regional and international fora. The United States and Malawi have a long-standing and close military-to-military relationship.
With U.S. support, Malawi has contributed twelve battalions to UN Peacekeeping Operations in Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since 2016, Malawi has hosted five major AFRICOM-sponsored multilateral events aimed at promoting regional security and military cooperation.
U.S. Assistance to Malawi
In FY 2020, U.S. bilateral foreign assistance in Malawi totaled $124.3 million (targeting health, agriculture, education, environment, and governance.) The United States seeks to strengthen public and private institutions for better delivery of social services, in particular health and education; improve food security and agriculture-based economic growth while strengthening community resilience against natural disasters and shocks; preserve Malawi’s unique biodiversity and its ability to mitigate climate change;; empower the private sector and civil society; promote economic growth through the revitalization of Malawi’s power sector; and advance democracy, human rights, and good governance. Working to ensure that youth and women play a more constructive role in the nation’s development remains a priority. U.S. partnerships with the Government of Malawi, civil society, and other donors aim to strengthen and buttress the government’s efforts to overcome constraints to meet the basic needs of its citizens, support regional stability, and help the government remain a responsible actor on the international stage. The United States has provided more than $3.6 billion in total assistance for Malawi over the past 20 years. Of this, the U.S. Government has invested over $1 billion in Malawi’s HIV response through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Through this investment, Malawi is slated to reach the United Nation’s 95-95-95 epidemic control goals by the end of 2021.
The bilateral health partnership also bolstered Malawi’s COVID pandemic response efforts in 2020.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Malawi is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Malawi totaled $23 million in 2019, and included wheat, machinery, pharmaceutical products, and small electronics. U.S. imports from Malawi totaled $80 million in 2019, and included tobacco, tea, sugar, nuts, and coffee.
While U.S. investment is modest, U.S. companies have invested in the agriculture, leisure and tourism, retail, and power sectors. The United States has signed a trade and investment framework agreement with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), of which Malawi is a member.
Malawi’s Membership in International Organizations
Malawi and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Malawi is also a member of the International Criminal Court, but has signed a bilateral immunity agreement with the United States.
The current U.S. Ambassador to Malawi is Robert Scott; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Malawi maintains an embassy in the United States at 2408 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005 (tel. 202-721-0270).
More information about Malawi is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here: