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 and the two countries have worked together to 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 nine battalions to UN Peacekeeping Operations in Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2017, the United States and Malawi hosted the 5th annual African Land Forces Summit.
U.S. Assistance to Malawi
In FY 2017, U.S. bilateral foreign assistance in Malawi totaled $197.7 million (targeting health, agriculture, education, environmental, and governance.) The United States seeks to promote health and medical service delivery; improve food security and agriculture-based economic growth; reduce poverty; preserve Malawi’s unique biodiversity and its ability to mitigate climate change; strengthen public and private institutions for better delivery of social services; 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. 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. For example, through its health programs, U.S. government support has helped reduce HIV incidence by 76% from 2003 to 2016. In addition to bilateral foreign assistance, U.S. government support helped to avoid hunger related deaths during the 2016-2017 El Nino-induced drought, when Malawi experienced the largest humanitarian food insecurity crisis in its history with 40 percent of Malawians depending on humanitarian assistance to survive. In FY 2016, the United States provided more than $101 million in humanitarian assistance for Malawi. The USAID-supported National Reading Program assists the Ministry of Education to improve teacher training and provide textbooks in all 5,415 primary schools in Malawi to significantly increase reading skills and comprehension among early primary school students.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Malawi is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. U.S. exports to Malawi totaled $25.4 million in 2018, and included pharmaceutical products, small electronics, and donated goods, including agricultural products. U.S. imports from Malawi totaled $59.5 million in 2018, and included tobacco, tea, sugar, nuts, coffee, and apparel.
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, 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:
CIA World Factbook Malawi Page
USAID Malawi Page
History of U.S. Relations With Malawi
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Country Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Millennium Challenge Corporation: Malawi